Depressed with Fibromyalgia?

Many patients with fibromyalgia have long standing depression, which is more substantial than just having the occasional morning blues. The muscle pain can be either a cause for the depression or even the effect of a prolonged, depressed state of mind. Or, the two may not be linked at all and simply co-exist at the same time. In some patients, the depression may lead to inactivity, an unhealthy diet or weight gain, or even substance abuse. These habits will generally aggravate fibromyalgia pains.

Recent research (Rheumatology[Oxford] 2008 Apr 29) has discovered fibromyalgia patients with physical pain can decrease their pain symptoms when they take anti-depressant medications. I bring this up, not so that more people or directed towards taking additional medications (especially not with being thoroughly diagnosed), but instead to show the mind-body link.

In addition to using chiropractic care to deal with spinal function and posture, there are other important aspects to be considered when thinking about the complexity of fibromyalgia. If the depression seems to predate the muscle pains, then a through work-up and perhaps counseling with a clinical psychologist can be of help.

Other patients can benefit from increasing their activity and starting a rigorous exercise program. Both strength training and aerobic activities, such as fast-paced walking have been shown in studies to help patients. Since you have muscle pain, it may not seem correct to work the muscles more, but research has shown that increasing muscle strength can decrease pain in the long run.

Some people find exercise causes joint pain in their spine and/or hips. Exercising in pain is no fun at all and cannot be sustained. This is where chiropractic can be an important adjunct to keeping you moving.

Exercise is also key to maintaining a healthy weight. Vigorous exercise can also raise endorphin levels, blocking pain and elevating your mood.

A comprehensive approach is the solution to treating fibromyalgia and not simply focusing only on medications for all of our ills. For some patients, drugs will be the answer and can be life-savors. In others, the side effects will eclipse any benefits. Natural approaches should at least be considered if your drug regimen is currently not working for you. Nutrition, exercise, and chiropractic care are the main hallmarks of care at our clinic.