Along with the many symptoms caused by fibromyalgia syndrome, back pain is often a real complaint for the majority of FMS sufferers. Both upper and lower back pain can cause intense discomfort, making it impossible to sit or stand for long periods of time. The chronic back pain associated with fibromyalgia can also impact on the quality of your sleep, making it difficult for you to recuperate after a long day. But just because you have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia doesn’t mean you have to suffer. Here are some effective treatments for your chronic back pain.
What Causes Fibromyalgia Back Pain?
If you are suffering from chronic back pain, you may be wondering if you have somehow injured your spine or a disc in your spinal cord. However, the majority of fibromyalgia sufferers do not experience back pain due to injury. Rather, your chronic back pain is probably due to a problem with your central nervous system.
Overactive Central Nervous System
In order to keep your body properly supported and aligned, your spine is surrounded by a number of crisscrossing muscles. These muscles overlap with other muscles near your spine that have neurological connections to the pain processing centers in your brain. In fibromyalgia patients, though, these pain processors are overactive. This means that, as you move, your brain senses more pain than it generally should, resulting in chronic upper and lower back pain.
Fibromyalgia back pain is also caused by weakened muscles that are present throughout the back. Because fibromyalgia is such a debilitating disease, causing impaired sleep and chronic fatigue, the muscles throughout the back often become weaker. This makes it even harder for your spine to stay properly aligned, contributing to constant back pain.
Treating Fibromyalgia Back Pain
Luckily, fibromyalgia sufferers aren’t forced to experience long-term chronic back pain. There are a number of effective back pain treatments that you can use to help alleviate your pain. Here are some of the best for back pain relief.
Heat is an excellent remedy for most muscle aches and pains, and it works particularly well for the upper and lower back. Heat works to relax the muscles and encourage circulation, allowing your body to heal itself. Popular heat therapies include:
- Heat Wraps: Heat wraps are made out of special, heat-retaining materials, and can be warmed in the microwave or in a tub of warm water. You then tie the wrap around the section of your back that hurts. Special wraps are available which are contoured to the lower back, upper back, and neck and shoulder regions. You can wear these all night long, for up to eight hours of relief.
- Heating Pad: Heating pads are inexpensive and easy to use. Simply place a heating pad on the back of your chair or in your bed, just before going to sleep. Heating pads help to target specific areas of pain.
- Warm Baths: Warm baths, spas, or hot tubs are also excellent for relieving fibromyalgia back pain. They help to encourage restful sleep, which gives your body the time it needs to heal itself.
Back supports have long been used by those with upper and lower back pain, and can work wonders for you, especially if you spend long hours in front of the computer at the office. Invest in a back support made out of foam or synthetic materials, as these are sturdy and breathable. Look for a support that has:
- a lumbar support (a curve that fits into the lower back region)
- a high back (as this will ensure that your neck and shoulders are properly aligned)
- an adjustable back (which will allow you to place it properly in any chair)
Additionally, you may want to invest in an ergonomic chair that offers a tilting back and adjustable seat.
Back Pain Exercises
Exercises that specifically target your back can help to alleviate pain. This is because exercises help to strengthen your back muscles, pulling your spine back into alignment. Be careful not to overdo it with these exercises, however. Stick to five repetitions of each:
- Curl Up: This exercise strengthens the abdominals and lower back. Lie flat on the floor with your legs bent at a 45° angle. Slowly curl your chest and shoulders towards your knees, keeping your arms outstretched. Stop when your hands can touch you knees.
- Upper Body Extension: This exercise strengthens the muscles in your upper back. Lie on your stomach with a pillow placed under your hips. Clasp your hands behind your lower back and slowly lift your upper chest off the ground.
- Arm-Leg Extension: This exercise helps to realign your spine, relieving pressure on your lower back. Get on all fours. Raise one arm in front of you and raise the opposite leg behind you. Repeat with the other arm and leg.
Back pain can often be relieved by turning to alternative therapies. These therapies help to relieve muscle soreness, while increasing circulation to speed up muscle repair. Be sure to look for a qualified practitioner before engaging in any of these therapies, however. Also, don’t forget to ask if the practitioner is experienced in treating fibromyalgia patients. Some alternative back pain treatments to try include:
- massage therapy