How Effective is Chiropractic Care in Fibromyalgia Patients?

Numerous studies have been conducted analyzing the benefits of chiropractic care in fibromyalgia patients. A 1985 study asked 81 fibromyalgia patients to indicate drug or alternative treatments that best relieved their pain.

Chiropractic care treatment scored surprisingly high in this study. Another study examined the effectiveness of spinal manipulation in relieving fibromyalgia symptoms. After just 15 treatments, fibromyalgia patients suffered from less pain and fatigue, and actually enjoyed better sleep quality.

Types of Chiropractors

Though chiropractors often use many different techniques in their treatment programs, most fall into one of two main categories:

  • "Straight" Chiropractors: Straight chiropractors are considered purists, as they adhere more strictly to the original teachings of chiropractic medicine. These practitioners tend to focus on performing manipulations to restore body function and relieve pain.
  • "Mixers": Mixers are chiropractors who combine techniques of manipulation and adjustment with other holistic techniques, including diet, exercise, and massage. The majority of chiropractors are mixers.

Depending upon the type of chiropractor you see, you will likely undergo a variety of different treatment techniques. The most popular chiropractic techniques is manipulation.


In order to adjust the spine and neck, a technique called manipulation is performed. Manipulation usually consists of a short, quick thrust to one of the vertebra in your spine, achieved through twisting, turning, or hand pressure. This causes the vertebra to shift back into its proper place.

When it is performed, you may hear a cracking or popping noise. This might sound scary, but it is actually a healthy release of built up oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide within the joint. As these gases are released, you should notice immediate relief, though sometimes manipulations can cause slight discomfort.

Manipulations can provide numerous benefits including:

  • better range of motion in your joints
  • increased blood flow (which helps to release toxins and promote muscle healing)
  • increased production of endorphins, your body’s natural painkillers
  • better pain tolerance

Side Effects of Chiropractic Care

Chiropractors often come under fire from some medical doctors because of the possible dangers of chiropractic care. On rare occasions, manipulations have been known to cause internal bleeding and blood clots.

Manipulations are also associated with increased risk of bone fractures in those with degenerative diseases like osteoporosis. More worryingly, manipulations of the neck and spine have been associated with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

It is recommended that you speak with a health care professional before engaging in any form of chiropractic therapy.

Table of Contents
1. Chiropractic Care
2. How manipulations help
3. Choosing a chiropractor
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