Being an upper cervical chiropractor in Blue Ash, Ohio, has gained me so many eye-opening lessons about chronic conditions, including fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia causes muscle pain throughout the body and fatigue for no apparent reason.
In addition to those two symptoms, anyone with fibromyalgia may also experience these symptoms:
- Fibro fog (cognitive or memory issues)
- Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet
- Sleep and mood disorders
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or other digestive problems
- Painful menstrual cycles in women
Solutions for Sleep Problems in Fibromyalgia
Perhaps one of the toughest aspects for fibromyalgia patients is their inability to get restful sleep, especially during flare-ups. As a result, they wake up tired and ill-equipped physically or mentally for everyday tasks.
Getting deep, restful sleep affects a person’s pain levels and quality of life. Permanent inability to attain a good night’s sleep can badly impact a patient’s physical, mental, and emotional health.
If you have fibromyalgia and getting a deep, restful sleep seems elusive for you, here are the steps you can do:
1. Skip naps
Many fibromyalgia patients suffer from disrupted sleep and insomnia. Do you find it difficult to fall or stay asleep at night? You should avoid taking daytime naps as it can disturb your nighttime rest even more.
According to a sleep expert in a Huffpost article, avoiding naps can improve sleep continuity for insomniacs. If you really need to, limit your nap to no more than 30 minutes early in the afternoon, and move around as soon as you rise.
2. Stick to a regular sleep-wake schedule
Set a time you would like to go to sleep and wake up, and stick with it every day (even on weekends) to boost your overall quality of sleep and daytime productivity.
Your body has a natural circadian rhythm, which regulates your sense of sleepiness and wakefulness over 24 hours. Conflict in your lifestyle and circadian rhythm can worsen your pain and fatigue. Sleeping and waking around the same time every day can strengthen your circadian rhythm, as supported by this study.
3. Get some light
Have a short walk outside in the sunlight or expose yourself to morning sunlight between 8 am and noon to sync your circadian rhythm. A study found out that workers who were exposed to sunlight or bright indoor lights during the morning hours slept better at night. In addition, they were less prone to stress and depression than people who didn’t get much light.
4. Make it dark
Having a dark bedroom builds a healthy sleep environment for you. When the body senses darkness, the brain signals the body that it is time to rest. Exposure to light before bedtime can alter your circadian rhythm and interfere with your quality and quantity of sleep.
You can buy room-darkening shades and cover up light sources in your room to block out any excess light.
5. Put away your electronics
Before bedtime, avoid using your electronic gadgets such as TV, smartphones, and tablets to prepare your brain for sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, these electronic devices emit blue light that ruins your circadian rhythm.
Blue light can suppress the release of your natural hormones called melatonin. Melatonin is vital in preparing your body for sleep.
6. Don’t eat or drink before bedtime
Avoid eating food or drinking beverages a few hours before bedtime to improve your quality of sleep. Staying away from liquids enables you to empty your bladder before sleeping, thus avoiding the possibility of multiple trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
Also, steer clear of caffeinated beverages such as coffee and energy drinks. They can make you feel more alert and block the production of chemicals in your brain that tells you it is time to sleep.
7. Invest in a quality bed
Another factor that can contribute to your quality of sleep is your mattress. Choose a mattress than can provide your body much-needed support to reduce your pain. The ideal mattress is the one that eases the pressure points on your body.
It may seem counterintuitive to work out when you’re already in constant pain, but exercise actually contributes to reducing the pain of fibromyalgia. A study showed that exercise helps in the reduction of pain and depression among people with fibromyalgia.
You can try Nordic walking, tai chi, yoga, and other lifestyle physical activities. However, avoid overexertion. Always keep in mind to increase the intensity of your workouts gradually.
9. Treat other conditions
Fibromyalgia often goes hand in hand with other health disorders. Consult a doctor to find out if you have other conditions that are contributing in your sleep problem. A sleeping disorder common in people with fibromyalgia is restless leg syndrome. Resolving this can quickly help improve your sleep every night.
10. Take a medication
Medications can also help if you have chronic sleep problems. Doctors may recommend certain medications to help you fall asleep or stay asleep. One FDA-approved drug that can help reduce the pain and improve your sleep is pregabalin.
11. Get upper cervical chiropractic care
Most of the fibromyalgia care options available out there are focused on reducing individual symptoms. However, upper cervical chiropractic care addresses fibromyalgia right at its root cause.
Upper cervical chiropractic examines how the central nervous system functions, particularly the health of the upper cervical spine (neck). A misalignment in this area can affect how the body processes pain. Fibromyalgia, being a pain processing disorder, stems from a problem in the central nervous system.
Upper cervical chiropractic makes sure the C1 and C2 vertebrae are in proper alignment. These bones in the upper neck protect the brainstem, which controls the transmission of messages between the body and brain. The brainstem facilitates the processing of pain signals in the body.
A small misalignment of either of these bones can result in the development of conditions like fibromyalgia. Adjusting the underlying cause (a misalignment) can restore the body’s natural ability to repair itself and function optimally once again.
A Trusted Upper Cervical Chiropractor in Blue Ash, Ohio
In a case study, a woman with fibromyalgia improved her symptoms significantly after receiving upper cervical chiropractic care. Let a reliable upper cervical chiropractor in Blue Ash, Ohio, help you overcome the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Visit Cincinnati Upper Cervical and Family Chiropractic to start your recovery.