Chiropractic care supports the nervous system and helps restore structure. It is in this way, that neuropathy and fibromyalgia patients can see relief through our care as nerve pain and muscle pain is removed.
What is neuropathy and the common symptoms associated with it?
Dr. F.J. Schofield: Neuropathy is, if you break the word down, ‘neuro’ means nerve and ‘pathy’ means disorder, so it’s a nerve problem, typically peripheral nerves. Those are the nerves that leave the spinal chord and go to every muscle, cell, organ in your body. When those are being damaged, you’ll get symptoms like numbness and tingling is the most common. You’ll also get pain, typically it’s like a burning or stabbing pain. It’s usually in the extremities, so hands and feet. It’s not just the occasional, it’s when you’re just all the time out of nowhere getting numbness and tingling or burning and stabbing of the feet, legs, hands, and arms.
What is fibromyalgia and some common symptoms?
Dr. F.J. Schofield: Fibromyalgia, ‘fibro’ means fiber, so basically connective tissue. ‘Myo’ means muscle, and ‘algia’ means pain. Again, it’s just connective tissue and muscle pain, and this is a really difficult condition because the symptoms are brutal. It’s a lot of musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, sleep, memory issues. Really destroys your quality of life, and modern medicine doesn’t have really any good answers for it.
Can neuropathy and fibromyalgia cause other complications if not treated?
Dr. F.J. Schofield: They’re not really going to cause any other complications but they will typically just continue to worsen so the pain will get worse and worse or the numbness and tingling will get worse and worse. It will really destroy your quality of life, loss of enjoyment, attitude and mood changes too are a huge thing I hear from most of my patients. You hear lots of times that they’re just not nice to their spouse anymore, or they explode on their kids for no reason. They’re just, you know, they’re in chronic pain. It can become very difficult to move and exercise, so life just becomes really tough with both these issues.
How does chiropractic care help patients suffering from neuropathy and fibromyalgia?
Dr. F.J. Schofield: The first thing you want to do, so both of these are nervous system issues. I’m actually doing a workshop on these in several weeks. First thing you want to do is you look at the brain stem. That’s why I got certified in Upper Cervical. You want to look at the upper neck for several reasons. One, the brain stem is like the circuit breaker in the human body. You may be having pain or burning in your foot or numbness in you hand, and you keep looking at the hand or foot and there’s nothing wrong with it because you haven’t gone back to the cause, you haven’t gone back to the brain stem.
You’ve got to look at the brain stem, see what’s going on. Is that being compressed or pulled by the neck being out of alignment? Maybe you have a whiplash accident or a really traumatic birth and then years later that pressure keeps building and all the sudden you start to get these symptoms. No drug, no chemical solution will fix a structural problem. You have to go look there and make sure that is in good alignment. With these issues, it almost never is, so you want to make sure you get that fixed. Allow the brain stem to work properly and so many times you see these issues improve dramatically.
Are there other natural ways to help manage these symptoms?
Dr. F.J. Schofield: Yes. Again, you’re looking at the nervous system, so you want to think, “What can negatively affect the nervous system in a major way?” One is chronic inflammation. You want to look at the diet and see, do you have a diet low in fat, that is going to be very inflammatory, or high in omega 6 fats, so you want to look at the fats you’re eating on a daily basis. Good fats would be avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, grass fed butter, ghee, chia seeds, flaxseeds, and you want to get large quantities of those fats on a daily basis.
The problem is now, most things are fed corn. Most cows are fed corn, so they then produce milk and then that milk gets turned into butter, and that butter is now loaded with omega 6 fats, where 50 years ago those cows ate grass and that butter had omega 3 fats. You want to avoid non-grass fed butter. You want to avoid margarine, corn oil, peanut oil, safflower oil, any of those are omega 6s. The typical American diet is about 20 to 1 omega 6 to omega 3, and you want to be 1 to 1, 3 to 1. The first thing you want to make sure is getting in a lot of good fats, that’s going to help with inflammation.
The second thing you want to look at is actually digestion. The reason for that is, if you’re not digesting properly you can get what’s called leaky gut syndrome. Things will get released in your blood stream that shouldn’t be there. Then your body responds, the immune system responds and attacks it. If your gut is constantly leaking things into the blood that shouldn’t be there, then your immune system is constantly responding and you get chronic inflammation, which is devastating in the nervous system and over time you can develop these conditions.
That’s the three ways we typically address it in our office. Number one, make sure you get the upper neck in good alignment so there’s no unnecessary pressure on the nervous system. That alone will many times improve these conditions. Then we also look at fat, inflammation, and digestion, and the results for that are very, very good. The last thing you want to look at are, are you on any meds that could have side effects? Statin meds, a lot of their side effects are just random muscle pain and numbness and different things, blood pressure as well. You want to look at your medications and see if there’s any side effects that could also be causing these issues.
If you are interested in speaking with Dr. F.J. Schofield visit westbendchiropractor.com or call 262-334-8188 to schedule an appointment.
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