The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress (F4CP), a nonprofit group based in Georgetown, California, is marking May 12, Fibromyalgia Awareness Day, by advocating chiropractic care as an effective complement to medical interventions for fibromyalgia (FM) and chronic pain.
F4CP points to its participation in Together Walks — sponsored by National Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Association (NFMCPA) — as a way to raise awareness about FM and chronic pain diseases, push for better care access, and emphasize the need for more research. Together Walks will be held in various cities throughout the United States, including Richmond, Virginia; Waterford, Connecticut, and Chicago (May 13); Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania (May 20), and Sacramento, California (May 21).
More than 700 live supporters and thousands more online participated in the inaugural Together Walks event in May 2016. Participation this year can be in the form of donations, fundraising, or walking in a local live event. Those who cannot attend can join a Virtual Together Walk.
Jan Chambers, a fibromyalgia patient as well as founder and president of NFMCPA, explains on the organization’s website that its purpose is to unite people with FM and chronic pain, despite efforts by some to disregard FM as an accepted illness.
“Fibromyalgia impacts more than 10 million Americans,” Chambers said in a press release. “I started seeing a chiropractor who provided a thorough examination, ordered x-rays and then explained to me what was going on. He then created a very rigorous program to address the problems in my neck and lower back. Years later, I still do therapy at home, but it is the chiropractic care that was my lifesaver. I feel like chiropractic care literally saved my life.”
Retired Brig. Gen. Rebecca Halstead, the first female West Point graduate to achieve the rank of general, was deployed to Iraq for a year after her 2005 diagnosis of chronic FM. “Upon my return, the military’s solution was to treat me with multiple prescription medications,” said Halstead, author of the inspirational book, The First Person You Must Lead is You.
“I found those only to complicate my health challenges,” said Halstead, noting that after a 27-year military career, she retired in 2008 and sought the help of a chiropractor. “For me, the answers came from my chiropractor who not only treated me, but educated me. My condition went from chronic to manageable to feeling the best I have in years. I now have a quality of life which I had given up hope for ever finding again.”
FM was initially thought to be a musculoskeletal disorder. However, some researchers now suggest it results from a dysfunction of the central nervous system, and that FM amplifies the sense of pain by affecting the level and activity of brain chemicals responsible for processing pain signals. No known cure exists for FM, 80 percent of whose victims are women, and symptomatic medical treatments tend not to be reliable.
“We are supporting the FM community’s largest global event, Together Walks and their efforts to unite the public, patients and their friends, families, associates and neighbors to end the suffering of FM,” said Sherry McAllister, F4CP’s executive vice-president. “The chiropractic profession is gratified to help FM sufferers with a safe and effective first-line option to effectively address the chronic pain associated with this disease.”