Fibromyalgia & Myofascial Pain & Chronic Pain Disorders IN Ottawa ON?

integrative fibromyalgia musculoskeletal pain and fatigue

Read on to learn more about fibromyalgia and chronic pain from our Ottawa ON chiropractor and Ottawa ON acupuncturist.

Chronic Pain in Ottawa ON

Chronic Pain conditions are no laughing matter. Often paired with memory, digestive, and sleep issues, chronic pain sufferers are living with debilitating problems in multiple ways.


Fibromyalgia (sometimes just fibro or FMS) is a relatively common condition affecting two per cent of Canadians. Fibromyalgia occurs more in women than in men, as much as 80% of Fibromyalgia sufferers are women. It is seen most in women older than 40, as the incidence of Fibromyalgia increases with age.

Although researchers initially thought the disease affected muscle tissue, we now know it is due to the impairment of pain processing mechanisms within the central nervous system. The preferred term today is "chronic widespread pain."

Myofascial Pain Syndrome

Myofascial Pain Syndrome is a chronic condition that causes pain in the musculoskeletal system. This pain is often confined to a particular area. For example, you might only feel the pain and tenderness in your right shoulder and neck. The pain is typically associated with trigger points in muscles. These trigger points radiate pain to the affected area when pressure is applied to them — and sometimes spontaneously with no pressure. Sometimes this pain can be in what seems to be an unrelated part of the body. The primary symptoms of myofascial pain syndrome are: localized muscle pain and trigger points that activate the pain. Other infrequent but potential symptoms include: muscle stiffness, fatigue, poor sleep, headaches, and postural abnormalities such as hunching, shoulder rounding, or forward head posture (not aligned with spine).

How can you hurt from head to toe?

Research shows the pain control system in the skin, muscles, spinal cord, and brain of chronic pain patients is overloaded, offering a reason for why you ache all over. In particular, immune cells that generally do not cause pain contribute to the flu-like fibro symptoms that make your whole body hurt.

Research states that alterations in the way the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) works are likely to be a major cause of your fibromyalgia pain, but this may not be the only source. New research is showing immune cells surrounding the nerve endings in your skin appear to be contributing to your pain as well. Seong-Ho Kim, M.D. and colleagues in South Korea took tiny biopsies of the skin tissue from a group of fibromyalgia patients and compared them to healthy controls. They found that most of the fibromyalgia patients, but none of the controls, showed enlarged or ballooned Schwann cells. These cells, which look like a string of sausage links, encase the nerve fibers that connect your spinal cord to peripheral tissues like your skin and muscles. These fibers relay information from your tissues to your spinal cord, and vice versa.

Pain is the most common complaint of people with fibromyalgia. The pain is widespread and felt throughout the body. Those with it are sensitive to firm pressure applied particularly to soft tissues, such as muscles and tendons. This increased sensitivity to pressure is felt as pain. Pressure that can cause pain may be as gentle as a friendly hug or the weight of a child climbing onto a lap. Being in pain makes it difficult to manage normal activities.

Other symptoms of FM include feeling tired and weak, having disturbed sleep, difficulty with concentration, headaches, abdominal complaints, bladder dysfunction and sometimes excessive sensitivity to sounds, light, smell and medications. Many people with fibromyalgia feel discouraged; this may lead to depression and anxiety. In some cases, symptoms may come and go or they may be aggravated by additional stress or even at times by changes in the weather.

For many people, Fibromyalgia and chronic pain develop gradually and has no known cause. For others, Fibromyalgia may develop due to acute illness, a traumatic incident or a stressful, emotional experience. Researchers are still looking for what triggers Fibromyalgia. Recent studies suggest that pain spreads abnormally in people with Fibromyalgia. It is possible that the nervous system is put into overdrive, causing pain. Nerve cells communicate with each other and the way these messages pass through the body is out of balance in people with chronic pain; for this reason, the brain has difficulty understanding the message. Sometimes, however, pain is caused because the body's natural pain dampening mechanisms are not functioning properly.

How do I manage my Chronic Pain, Myofascial Pain Syndrome or Fibromyalgia?

There is no single treatment that works for everyone. Some people feel better with some therapies like acupuncture, chiropractic, NRCT, or dietary changes. Over time, most people will find the balance of treatments that gives them the best relief. Although a complete resolution of all symptoms is seldom achieved, the aim should be to contain your symptoms as best as possible so that you continue leading an active and enjoyable life.

While the symptoms of Fibromyalgia may persist over time, there are many steps you can take to help manage this condition. Your first important step is to become an active participant in your treatment. You are encouraged to develop coping strategies to manage your Fibromyalgia.

Take the first steps:

  1. Listen to, and respect, what your body is telling you, but always give yourself that little extra push.
  2. Start an enjoyable and gentle exercise program, practice relaxation techniques and good sleeping habits. Take time for yourself and rediscover your interests.
  3. Try the medications your doctor suggests. Make sure to discuss whether they are working for you. Consider non-opioid options and non-medication therapies.
  4. Learn more about your condition and share that information with family and friends, so they can understand.
  5. Keep a diary over several weeks. This can help to keep track of the connection between your pain symptoms and your daily activities, which can help you control your FM.
  6. Non-medication therapies, such as physical activity (walking, low-impact aerobic programs, aquatic programs, using an exercise bike or treadmill), stress management and relaxation techniques, are a very important part of treating Fibromyalgia.
  7. Give us a call.

While you can perform these activities on your own, it's best that you first ask a health-care professional for guidance.

Acupuncture & Chiropractic for Chronic Pain

Research has found that both chiropractic and acupuncture are helpful for many people with chronic pain conditions. With a recommended course of treatment, many chronic pain symptoms can be reduced. Even WebMD recommends acupuncture, chiropractic, massage and other complementary therapies for chronic pain.

Acupuncture has proven effective in the immediate pain reduction in patients with fibromyalgia, with a quite significant effect size.

Acupuncture appears to be both safe and effective in treating Fibromyalgia Syndrome and depression, and is comparable with antidepressant treatment ​

Acupuncture is better than non-acupuncture treatment in reducing pain and stiffness and improving overall well-being and fatigue, and acupuncture probably enhances the effect of drugs and exercise on pain.

Chiropractic added to other fibromyalgia treatment regimen may offer even more benefits.

Many fibromyalgia patients suffer from a condition called upper cervical spinal stenosis. This causes the coverings of the upper spine, known as meninges, to become compressed. This can cause severe, debilitating pain all over the body. Chiropractors can adjust the head and neck so the spine is no longer compressed, helping to relieve the widespread pain symptoms of fibromyalgia.

Need more information?

Many symptoms can be helped with preventative care like acupuncture, chiropractic, massage, physio and laser therapy. We strongly recommend anyone experiencing the symptoms discussed on this page, see one of our health professionals soon.

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Advanced Wellness Centre

200 Metcalfe St Main Floor
Ottawa, ON K2P 1P7

(613) 237-5252


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