Professor Says Chiropractic Care “Insufficient” In Treating Fibromyalgia

According to an article I recently read on the Arthritis Research Campaign website, a recent study revealed that there is no evidence to suggest chiropractic care is effective in treating Fibromyalgia. Professor Edzard Ernst of the Peninsula Medical School at the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, who was in charge of the study said:

“Many patients use chiropractic as a treatment of fibromyalgia and many chiropractors seem to be convinced that it is effective for that condition. The aim of the study was to conduct a systematic review of randomised clinical trials testing the effectiveness of chiropractic care for fibromyalgia.”

In his study, Professor Ernst used three research articles on the effect chiropractic care has on Fibromyalgia. He found these through online databases. Ernst reports that:

“The three studies were judged to have “poor” methodological quality and they generated no evidence to suggest that chiropractic care is effective for fibromyalgia. Currently, there is insufficient evidence to conclude that chiropractic is an effective treatment for fibromyalgia.”

I have personally found that I feel worse after seeing a chiropractor. I have tried going different times over the years and I would try each time to go for months or at least a year. I would not see any improvement and my body would hurt worse and my back would go out more during these times. I have heard other people say that they have had improvement with their Fibromyalgia since going to the chiropractor.

If you have tried chiropractic care for your Fibromyalgia, has it worked or did you feel worse?

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  1. I tried chiropractic care before I received a diagnosis for my fibromyalgia. the first adjustment did not cause me pain, but it clearly “released” something that was being held in by the semi-permanent muscle spasms because I burst into tears and was unable to go on. The poor chiropractor was puzzled, but I realized that until I had a better understanding of my condition, randomly trying treaments was not going to do me much good. I later found that shiatsu and work on posture and breathing through dance or physical therapy (along with a panoply of other forms of symptom management) was much better for working out the structural adjustments that helped alleviate some of my distress.

  2. Just to thank you for all the amazing information that can find in your blog.

    I truly believe Fibromyalgia can be beat through increase oxygen levels in our body, as well as, with a good nutritional program using nutrients able to reach our deepest level: our cells.

  3. Chiropractic care has helped me tons!! My neck often hurts. I have spent time on all sorts of muscle relaxants, etc. from the dr.’s that did not do anything. Now, after I see my chiropractor, in a day or two it’s fine. Same with a lot of the other weird aches I get for no good reason. And he never makes me feel like I should be going there more, just helps me every time.

  4. Some chiropractors claim to specialise in helping people with fibromyalgia. They might use ancillary methods like nutrition, massage and/or acupuncture. Some of the gentler manipulations like SOT may be less likely to aggravate like the more forceful manipulation (“cracking joints type”).
    As the cause of fibromyalgia remains unknown, it is unlikely that chiropractic helps any majority of fibromyalgia sufferers. However some do report either lasting or consistent relief of some symptoms. This suggests that a fibromyalgia sufferer may be suffering from two conditions – one that does respond postiviely to manipulation whilst the fibromyalgia remains. Fortunately for them the overall symptom load is dminished. Unfortunately until further research is carried out, sufferers who have tried everything else – as many have, may find talking to a chiropractor helpful. Ideally the chirorpactor should understand the difference between mechanical pain and chronic widespread pain and can explain the risk and benefits of treatment options available.

  5. I suffered from mild fibromyalgia until I recently went to a chiropractor for neck pain. I am now in extreme pain throughout my back and having symptons I never had prior to my visit to the chiropractor. My level of functioning has been extremely diminished. I extremely advise that no one with fibromyalgia ever go to a chiropractor.

  6. Amazonbaby says:


    You should not tell people to avoid chiropractors just because of your experience. While I am not aware of your entire medical history, from what you said in your e-mail above about your increased pain after adjustments leads me to the conclusion that you didn’t stick with the adjustments long enough and your doctor didn’t explain well enough why you were having discomfort after your adjustments. Chiropractic adjustments affect a huge change in your posture, muscles and ligiment structure and placement, and post injury or post FMS/CFS muscle changes. Anytime you start structural change you will have extra discomfort because you are breaking up scar tissue and re-educating muscles and ligaments placement back to their proper places. FMS/CFS makes us muscle guard and change posture habits. Also, if you had any past trauma like auto accidents or falls, you will have a lot of scar tissue that needs to be broken up, too. This is uncomfortable and sometimes painful. Also, if you are a person that holds your stress and emotions inside your body is going to be stiff. Also, FMS causes hormonal changes that can cause muscles to be stiff. I’m wondering why you didn’t get massage therapy directly before every adjustment? It makes a big difference if you have massage therapy directly before adjustments as it losens up your muscles and allows for a more accurate adjustment. It also speeds up how quickly your adjustments can help you. You have to realize that you are making structural, postural changes to your body that took a long time to happen. The worse your FMS is and previous bodily injury/trauma, sometimes you will have beginning discomfort with chiropractic adjustments as your body is going through structural changes. And, massage is very important. Hot tubs can help, too. Lack of healthy eating habits and taking vitamins/nutritional supplements can make your muscles stiff, too. And, a person’s personality can affect outcome, too. Since muscles have memories, as their holding patterns are changed, past trauma memories both emotional and physical can surface temporarily. I would recommend forgiveness to anyone who did you wrong and you would be surprised how your body pain can lesson.

    • i totally agree with you too! i was not prepared for the shift in muscle memory..because of my skeletal structure has been more aligned to it’s natural state after chiropractic treatments. deep tissue massage is the REAL therapy that has only giving me release from muscle pain from fibro. also too…you mentioned forgiving those who hurt you…in that you carry that trauma in your body. you are right! the truth hurts!

  7. Amazonbaby says:

    The Professor’s article was slanted and left out a lot of important information about chiropractic medicine. While chiropractic treatment is affected by adjusting spinal joints and other bodily joint, the true affect is on the body’s central nervous system. Spinal joints move in six directions and can become subluxated (not moving freely) six different directions. This puts a type of pressure on the nerves that originate in the brain and run down the center of the spine and then sprout out in between the spinal joints to the different organs and bodily systems. There are also other nerve systems that are placed outside the spinal system. They are connected to the same nerve system. I am not a medical professional so please forgive my models. Anyway, when a subluxation occurs it interferes with the proper operating and back and forth messages between the brain and that bodily system/organ. This can have immediate symptoms and it can have no symptoms for a long, long time. That is why you can’t tell if you have a back problem based on if you hurt or not. Often, back pain is the last symptom you will feel in a spinal problem that has been affecting your bodily functioning for a long time. That is why it’s a good preventative health care plan to have regular chiropractic adjustments through out your life. There are many research studies that show a person adjusted regularly has less health problems in the long run. Someone adjusted since birth regularly pretty much glows with health. Of course, physical and emotional trauma can interfere but if you are adjusted regularly you will recover much quicker and degeneration can be controlled. Anyway, I had forgot to mention that I have been adjusted regularly since 1979 and have had a huge amount of physical trauma to my body, many surgeries and emotional trauma. It’s been chiropractic care and massage therapy that has helped me the most compared to any other medical care I have received over the years. I had extra massage and chiropractic adjustments directly before my spinal surgeries and as soon as I could after, I was getting adjusted and massaged. All of this allowed my body to heal faster and better. I used less pain meds. I could go on and on. But the question was did chiropractic help your FMS? Yes, as long as I stay regularly adjusted, my nervous system runs better and my body moves better and I have way less pain. It only takes about a month without adjustments for my digestive system to return to having problems, my memory and concentration gets progressively worse, and my pain levels return to much higher levels and requires pain med increase. Chiropractic can’t do it all but it is a large part of what keeps me going, along with massage therapy. Massage therapy doesn’t

  8. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia this past year and have been desperately going to different doctors trying to find answers and relief. I saw one chiropractor for 4 months and then a different one for 1 month. I agree with the original writer of this article in that I feel worse whenever I leave the chiropractors office. The e-stim and hot pack provides temporary relief but when I leave the office, I still limp towards my car in pain. Both of these chiropractors were well-meaning and empathic but truthfully unable to help me with my pain. Adding in a high copay each time I went, I saw no point in continuing. Finally, I think chiropractic care has its merits and is effective at treating certain conditions but highly ineffective in treating fibromyalgia, CFS, or related illnesses.

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