Fibromyalgia and Children

Fibromyalgia and Children

As a fibromyalgia sufferer yourself, chances are you began having symptoms of fibromyalgia at an early age. Seldom are these symptoms noticed or associated with fibromyalgia and therefore are not identified at a younger age. Early detection and treatment  might have stopped its debilitating effects. Author Miryam Williamson wrote Fibromyalgia: A Comprehensive Approach in Copyright 1996. She shares in chapter seven the following quotes:

“… a study published in the Journal of Rheumatology in 1993, a team of doctors in Israel reported that 6.2 percent of 338 healthy schoolchildren between the ages of nine and 15 met the criteria for the fibromyalgia syndrome.”

“…Growing pains are a particularly pernicious myth. It should not hurt to grow, and the child whose pain is brushed off that way is a very unfortunate little person.”

“You should suspect fibromyalgia in a child who sleeps restlessly, kicks or twitches during sleep, and has a difficult time getting out of bed in the morning. […] Insomnia coupled with pains or aches is a trouble signal and should not be ignored, particularly if one of the child’s parents has FM..(Emphasis mine.) Sometimes an alert teacher is the first to notice a problem. […]Children with fibromyalgia often have trouble in school. A considerable amount of schoolwork requires memorization. The cognitive difficulties that often accompany FM may make this difficult, if not impossible.”

In my Mesa AZ chiropractic clinic I too have seen children that I suspected fibromyalgia. One example is a young man who has had to miss attending school due to a incessant headache. He has been treated for just about every thing. Treating him specifically for fibromyalgia is his best and perhaps only approach.

Chiropractic care can be useful but will not address all of the needs for the fibromyalgia child. The use of significant nutritional and life-style changes is required but here lies the true dilemma. Most parents do not know that their child has fibromyalgia, do not know what can be done and worse cannot make all of the necessary changes alone. Schools, doctors, extended family, social groups, etc. are potential contributors to the cause or the “cure” yet they are often beyond our positive influence for change. But, we do our best anyway. Education and patience is required to make a difference.

Begin at home first. What changes can you make to help your fibromyalgia child? Below is a short and incomplete list that may help.

  1. Create a home environment that is happy and positive. Stress is perhaps the biggest trigger for fibromyalgia.
     
  2. Make sure your house is free from known fibromyalgia irritants.
     
  3. Control refined sugar and bleached flour intake in the diet
     
  4. Use whole food supplements/vitamins in place of synthetics whenever possible. (Vitamin B from coal tar has been suggested as a significant contributor of fibromyalgia.)
     
  5. Boost the immune system during the cold and flu season.
  6. Get outdoors frequently. Exercise, games and the sun are all important factors to fibromyalgia control.
     
  7. Don’t forget that children (especially those with fibromyalgia) need chiropractic care too! A minor car accident, fall or sports injury may precipitate the cause of fibromyalgia.
     
  8. Dental and visual needs must be addressed promptly! It is believed that some possible causes of fibromyalgia begin with tooth disease/abnormalities or visual impairments.
     
  9. Help your child sleep sound through the night. Check for disruptions in sleep. Is his mattress or pillow supportive? Is she too cold or too warm? Restless Leg Syndrome for example is believed to be a possible early warning sign for fibromyalgia. (Iron may be needed if RLS is present but be sure to consult your doctor or nutritionist before supplementing with iron.)
     
  10. Above all, do not ignore a child’s complaint of aches or pain. Have it checked out and never pass it off as simply growing pains!
     

Fibromyalgia in children can be controlled and possibly eliminated. Many children, when properly cared for, have their fibromyalgia resolved completely.

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