Dr. Mark Huntsman has firsthand knowledge of the devastating effects that fibromyalgia can have on a patient and his or her family members. And that knowledge is part of what drove him to try to help his patients find relief.
"My mother had fibromyalgia and, fortunately, through the care as a (chiropractor), she has been able to get off the medication," he said.
The Mayo Clinic defines fibromyalgia as a chronic condition characterized by widespread pain in muscles, ligaments and tendons, as well as fatigue and multiple tender points -- places on the body where slight pressure causes pain. It occurs, the clinic notes, in about 2 percent of the U.S. population, and women are much more likely to develop the disorder than are men.
Huntsman has been a chiropractor since 2005 and has been treating fibromyalgia patients for a number of years. Recently, his chiropractic office, Midwest Center of Chiropractic, was certified by the Fibromyalgia Centers of America.
"We had been seeing several fibromyalgia patients in the clinic already," he said. "We wanted to go ahead and specialize in order to meet those needs."
Huntsman noticed that many of his fibromyalgia patients were finding relief through chiropractic adjustments.
"Chiropractors have great results with fibromyalgia patients because we are trying to get to the cause of the pain," Huntsman said. "With fibromyalgia, there is widespread pain across the body; with chiropractic, we are looking to find the source of that pain."
Many fibromyalgia patients use medications in attempts to control the pain associated with the chronic condition. Although many chiropractic patients come into the office in pain, Huntsman said he notices that with fibromyalgia patients there is another piece to the puzzle: chronic fatigue.
"I have seen patients after one treatment who have seen their energy return," Huntsman said.
In Huntsman's experience, the fibromyalgia symptoms usually begin after a major trauma.
"When they do have this trauma, it causes a lot of stress on the body -- bones misalign and muscles strain," Huntsman said. "A lot of the symptoms that people have with fibromyalgia, that widespread pain, that's something chiropractors have been treating for hundreds of years."
For more information on the Midwest Center of Chiropractic, call the office at 815-741-3939 or visit www.midwest-clinic.com.