Do you get neck pain with your fibromyalgia? Ok, ok, this is probably a no brainer question right? Pretty much every single fibromyalgia sufferer I have dealt with has neck pain as one of their primary issues. Fibromyalgia and neck pain practically go hand in hand.
Another interesting thing I notice is that many fibro sufferers also actively take steps to try to manage this neck pain with things like manual adjustments with their chiropractor or osteopathic doctor or maybe they have regular massages. But I hear the same reports over and over again. These things help temporarily but they don’t fix the problem. Sometimes, they may only help for a few hours. Don’t get me wrong, these are amazing therapies that help a great many people, but they don’t seem to give the long term results our fibro warriors are hoping for.
Why is this?
Why is this neck pain so hard to get rid of?
I’m practically an expert in neck pain at this point. I have suffered awful neck issues for many years. I was not so smart in my younger years and I had several car accidents. I liked to go to rock concerts and throw my head around. I did judo for many years. I basically destroyed my neck from years of abuse. At one point, a chiropractor looked at my neck and basically said I have curves that are not supposed to be there. I suffered neck pain for decades.
I also had regular massage and chiropractic as well to “manage” the pain. Until I decided that I really hate “managing” pain and I really rather just get rid of it. But that requires really identifying where the problem is.
Is it just a spinal problem?
Now, I know many of you will say that the problem is from a bulging disc in your neck. No! The disc bulge, at least in most cases, is already a byproduct, or a branch manifestation of a greater problem. The disc problem is just a side effect of the actual root problem (barring a traumatic event which caused the issue).
Not only that, but did you know that there are many, many people walking around with bulging discs in their necks and backs and they have no pain from these issues? Just because you have a bulge doesn’t mean you have pain, and the research also shows that these bulges can go away over time. And there are other factors that are more likely the cause and are more likely MORE important than the disc anyways!
So the root cause of neck pain in fibro, what causes that?
Stress and Nitric Oxide
To truly understand what causes neck pain in fibromyalgia, we have to go right back into our primary factors that cause fibromyalgia. Yes those same things that I have made video after video about. So let’s look at them.
First of all, we know that ANYONE dealing with chronic health problems such as pain, fatigue, digestive issues, etc. absolutely will have emotional stress from this issue. This is axiomatic! An unresolved health issue, especially one that causes you daily grief (such as pain or fatigue) WILL cause an increase in psychosomatic stress (emotional stress). The research also shows that increased emotional stress causes nitric oxide levels to rise in the body. (Nitric oxide is an important gasotransmitter in the body which I talk about a little in this post here)
This nitric oxide, when it occurs in excess can cause some MASSIVE problems to the body. When it collects in the muscles, it can lead to muscular contraction and chronic muscle tension. That’s already one big issue with neck pain right there! Plus, this excessive nitric oxide can collect around the nerves and cause literal damage to the nerves. This of course leads to increased sensitivity to pain and can cause a characteristic burning pain that we often find in fibromyalgia.
So if anyone ever uses the phrase “It’s just stress” you can tell them that stress actually causes nerve damage, muscle and circulation problems, and actual damage to the brain.
Metabolic and Microbial Wastes
So stress is just one piece of the puzzle. Another big factor here is damage that has occurred to the lining of the intestines. When this happens, we have something called increased intestinal permeability (a condition some refer to as Leaky Gut syndrome), that means that more particles from our intestines make their way into our blood stream. This is a major problem and increases the amount of microbial and metabolic waste materials that end up in our blood.
As a result of this, our liver attempts to deal with the issue, but it quickly becomes overwhelmed, especially if you are also taking multiple medications or even over the counter drugs like acetaminophen and ibuprofen. Eventually, what the liver cannot handle ends up in the lymphatic system, which is supposed to help eliminate waste from the body. When the lymphatic system also becomes overwhelmed by all this metabolic waste, which tends to happen in fibromyalgia, it leads to lymphatic congestion and these waste materials then end up in the connective tissue (around the muscles and joints). This causes a characteristic touch sensitivity that often happens in fibromyalgia. Again, another major cause of neck pain.
Additionally, these metabolic wastes can cause congestion in the brains lymphatic system, called the glymphatic system, which will then lead to problems such as brain fog (bam, another major issue found in fibromyalgia sufferers).
Now, if that’s not enough, long term gut dysbiosis, which we already know you have if you are dealing with fibromyalgia, eventually leads to a decrease in energy output in the muscles. You already know this as chronic fatigue, but it also means that your muscles do not have the same energy output as they would have when you are healthy. This muscular weakness very often affects the muscles that support our spine and proper posture and we eventually end up with a very common forward head posture which puts an enormous strain on your neck muscles, again, creating pain.
Just imagine this. Your head normally weighs around 12 pounds. When you start changing the angle of your neck and your head ends up in front of your body, instead of on top of it, it makes it feel more like your head weighs 3-4 times more than it normally does! This causes massive amounts of strain on the neck and the spine and can lead to these disc problems that so many people have. Further, the compression the occurs to your abdomen, then further causes digestive problems! It becomes a horrible repeating cycle!!!
Now, if this is not enough, all this strain placed on your neck and upper back means that you now don’t have adequate circulation going to these muscles and when you are exposed to changes in the weather, it immediately impacts the muscles and joints because they are not in a state where they can compensate for the sudden change.
You see, normally, changes in weather or even changes in temperature, cause a slight inflammatory response within the body. This is a normal method of adaptation within our bodies. But if you are already in a state where your muscles and joints are compromised by tension, poor circulation, inflammation from excess nitric oxide, and already swollen from lymphatic congestion, your body simply cannot handle anymore and this weather change will make you feel completely awful! You can see how this is not only one of the causes of fibromyalgia but also a major factor leading to flare ups!
This is why it is so important to take a proper, multipronged approach to the treatment of fibromyalgia. It is never just as simple as a basic pain. The state of your whole body needs to be addressed properly in order to have actual long term success in the treatment of not just neck pain, but your entire body. I’ve covered these basic phases of fibromyalgia treatment in a post here.
If you are suffering from fibromyalgia and you would like help in overcoming your condition, we have created a webinar to get you started. It is found at fibrosolution.com/webinar. You can watch this webinar and it will give you a link to schedule a call with us where we can help you get clarity on YOUR fibromyalgia.