Fibromyalgia is a pain in the neck, literally. While it is known to cause pain throughout the body, fibromyalgia neck pain appears to be a common complaint for many people.
Is there a reason why our necks are more susceptible to pain? If so, what can we do to get relief?
Why does fibromyalgia cause neck pain?
The first question we need to answer is: why are we more inclined to have neck pain? There are a few possible reasons for this.
Although the exact reason is unknown, a possible culprit may be the trigger points found on the neck. A set of tender points can be found on the neck, at the base of the head and shoulders, as well as on the upper back. It is easy to see why the pain can start in the neck or be transmitted by pain that originates elsewhere.
- Those of us with fibromyalgia are also believed to have decreased blood flow and / or oxygen to the muscles. This can be the cause of many of our pains, including fibro neck pain.
- It can also be the result of nerve damage, which is another common factor found in people with fibromyalgia.
- Bad sleep habits can also contribute to neck pain. Sleeping in the wrong position can cause tension in the neck muscles.
- One study suggests that another cause of neck pain with fibromyalgia may be the misalignment of the atlas. The atlas is the upper part of the neck and any misalignment, even the smallest amount, can lead to several uncomfortable symptoms, with the main symptom being neck pain.
Treatment for fibromyalgia neck pain
The next question we need to answer is: what can be done to treat neck pain so common in fibromyalgia? These, seven fibromyalgia neck pain treatment options can provide some relief.
Exercising with fibromyalgia is a big challenge, but movement has been found to be one of the best things to help decrease fibro pain. Gentle stretching exercises help to prevent your muscles from becoming stiff and weak. Inactivity can increase the pain of trigger points in the neck.
Exercise like Pilates or swimming can be beneficial for many with fibromyalgia. Even just simple stretches and a moderate amount of activity and movement throughout the day can be a big help.
There are some exercises that can help specifically to relieve neck pain:
- Stand against a wall with your arms extended. Move your arms up and down, as if making a wall snow angel. Move slowly to feel the tension. Keep your head up and your back against the wall at all times. Make a set of 10.
- Sit with your arms at your sides. Shrug your shoulders and release them drastically as you release them. The muscles may tremble after releasing them. It is only momentary and feels better when finished.
- Sit up, slowly, bring your head up to your chest, then slowly lift your head up and put your head back. Try to do this in a fluid motion. When doing so, slowly open your mouth so that it is fully open when your head is back.
Soft Tissue Massage
Massage therapy can be useful to relieve neck pain. Even self-massage tools were useful for some people.
Chiropractic has been a remarkable help for many people when it comes to treating neck pain.
Learning to relax is an art form, but very beneficial. Stress leads to physical tension, which leads to pain. Relaxation techniques can be a great help in decreasing pain. Mindfulness, deep breathing, and body scanning can be extremely useful tools.
Taking time to do the things you like, or to make you feel calm, can help make life’s stresses more bearable. Some like to do newspapers, paint, or colour, spend time in nature, play games, bath, or do puzzles. Whatever brings you peace and joy, make time for it!
Many people with fibromyalgia are low in magnesium, which results in muscle cramps and weakness, among other things. If you are low in magnesium, taking a supplement or using magnesium oil or spray can help relax your muscles and relieve neck pain.
- Chronic pain relief
- Fibromyalgia pain relief
There are several creams and ointments that can be used to soothe sore or stiff muscles and reduce neck pain. Many of these products contain natural pain relievers, such as arnica.
Over the counter pain medication, like ibuprofen, naproxen or acetaminophen are options that many resort to for relief. A doctor may also prescribe a muscle relaxant to help with more severe pain.
When I turned to the fibromyalgia community on social media, I received some suggestions for things that helped other people deal with fibromyalgia neck pain. These suggestions included essential oils; rice packs used for heat therapy.
Research is still being done to find answers on why fibromyalgia causes all the pain it causes. Even if we don’t have all the answers yet, we can take comfort in knowing that you are not suffering alone.