Fibromyalgia Syndrome

DEFINITION

Fibromyalgia affects the muscles and soft tissues. Its chief symptoms are stiffness, fatigue and wide spread pain. A rheumatic disorder, patients are most often female between 20 to 50 years old. Diagnosis is based on presence of at least 11 out of 18 tender points. According to Western medicine, the cause is unknown. In Alternative medicine circles, however, the cause(s) are often associated with poor lifestyle choices, which have led to toxicity in bodily tissues. Whereas a select few people are able to effectively manage FM under the Western model, many people who have chosen to detoxify their bodies and make lasting lifestyle changes as well as shifts in their emotional and spiritual lives, to reap the benefits of having overcome fibromyalgia. Whereas it is possible to cure FM, the road leading to this cure is a long and winding one.

Primary Symptoms

  • pain and aching all over
  • severe morning stiffness and poor muscle recovery
  • extreme fatigue, anxiety
  • depession, mood swings, panic attacks
  • impaired coordination
  • changes in vision acuity
  • dizziness
  • gastrointestinal disturbances
  • temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ)
  • palpitations
  • cardiovascular problems
  • skin sensitivities
  • irritable bladder and bowel
  • muscular twitching
  • cognitive or memory impairment, confusion
  • PMS or painful periods
  • parasthesia(tingling and numbness in the limbs)
  • sleep disorders

CAUSES AND CONTRIBUTING FACTORS

Symptoms may come on gradually and increase in intensity. The factors, which sustain FM, are overexertion, stress, genetics, lack of sleep, trauma, weather, changes in temperature and humidity and infectious illness. In many cases, symptoms are severe enough to interfere with daily activities. It may develop after an existing condition such as arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis or an immune system problem. Related causes possibly may be candida overgrowth, mercury exposure from dental filings, clinical depression, and parasitic imbalances, hypoglycemia and bowel toxicity. Many believe that FM is likely related to chronic fatigue syndrome and quite typically, malabsorbtion problems such as "leaky gut" must be treated to regain strength and vitality. Diagnostic tests important to rule out other conditions. Lab tests and x-rays may be negative and physician response may be that it's psychosomatic. Almost 75 percent of chronic fatigue patients meet the criteria for fibromyalgia.

TREATMENT AND PREVENTION OF FIBROMYALGIA

The goal of eliminating over the long term or reducing symptoms short-term is attainable if you believe in your body's innate ability to heal and you want to heal. The incidence of fibromyalgia in our fast-paced North American society is growing rapidly and quite often it follows those who have been experiencing long-term stress or have suffered some form of psychological or physical trauma. This includes accidents (soft tissue injuries such as whiplash), divorce, death, long illnesses and family dysfunction. Stress management strategies should be implemented utilizing exercise, proper nutrition and nutritional supplementation. Counseling to uncover the root cause(s) of FM as well as helping individuals to cope with symptoms is recommended.

SPECIFIC MODALITIES TO CONSIDER

  • Improved diet with emphasis on restoring minerals to the body
  • Improving overall digestion and elimination; detoxification program is essential.
  • Identification of food sesitivities, e.g. link between nightshades and joint inflammation
  • Pain control techniques; meditation;
  • Massage and lymphatic drainage to looesen tight myo-facial structures
  • Acupuncture; specialized Kinesiology;
  • Daily exercise utilizing rehabilitative therapies and areobic conditioning
  • Stretching and walking, yoga,tai chi
  • Adequate rest(it's essential for FM sufferers to understand the importance of resting)
  • Chiropractic treatments to improve the nervous system as well as straighten the spine
  • Bio-feedback to determine where trigger points are and better understand proper body mechanics
  • Commitment of the individual to self-educate and take control of illness
  • Helping family members to get counselling to learn how to be understanding and supportive
  • Liver cleansing can dramatically help to increase energy and reduce inflammation and pain
  • Hair analysis to determine heavy metal toxicity, particularily silver amalgam dental fillings
  • Hulda Clark's zapper to kill bacteria, viruses and parasites
  • Colon cleansing with herbal preparations, coffee enemas and the ultimate-colonics

DIETARY RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Eat at least 50% raw food diet(provided you have adequate digestion-adopt gradual approach)
  • Take digestive enzymes to reduce excess demand placed on digestive organs
  • Alkalize the body by eating more fruits and vegetables and less meat and dairy and grains
  • Take green source supplements to oxygenate the blood and cleanse the lymphatic system
  • Eat whole grains(millet and brown rice) only and more raw, unsalted nuts and seeds
  • Drink whole food protein source,e.g. soya powder
  • Eat foods according to Blood Types,e.g. Type "A" is vegetarian; and Type "O" is meat- eater
  • Consult health care professional to determine vitamin and mineral needs, e.g. muscle testing
  • Eat frequent small meals to increase energy level
  • Practise proper food combining to improve digestion and reduce bowel putrefacation
  • avoid caffeine, sodas, artificial additives, chemical processing, sugar/acid forming foods
  • drink plenty of liquids (not with meals) and room temperature is best
  • Candida cleansing program for 3 to 9 months; cleansing drink, candida control diet

SPECIFIC TYPES OF BENEFICIAL NUTRIENTS

  • Calcium - needed for proper functioning of all muscles; relieves spasms
  • Magnesiums - magnesium deficiency common amoung FM sufferers
  • Vitamin C - antioxident which reduces inflammation
  • Vitamin A and E - powerful antioxidents qhich eliminate free radicals
  • Coenzyme Q 10 - improves tissue oxygenation
  • Ginko Biloba to improve circulation overall, especially the brain
  • Malic Acid and Magnesium - cellular energy production and sugar metabolism
  • Proteolytic enzymes or Bromelain - reduces inflammation and inproves digestion
  • Psyllium fiber to bulk up and moisten waste for easier passage in colon
  • Acidophilus and bifidus to restore friendly bacteria in colon
  • Lecithin to promote energy and enhances immune system
  • Vitamin B Complex - boosts energy and restores normal brain function
  • Goat's whey powder to provide sodium in the stomache and cleanse lymphatic system
  • Garlic - antiviral effect destroys common parasites
  • Essential Fatty Acids to protect cells from becoming damaged due to inflammation
  • Multi-Vitamin and mineral supplements should be balanced, eg. B - complex
  • Creatine Monohydrate to oxygenate muscles and tissues and increase recovery rates
  • Arnnica homeopathic (oral or cream) to relieve pain
  • Homeopathic Magnesium may be helpful to reduce stiffness and muscle fatigue
  • Rhus Tox or ruta grav homeopathic remedies for joint soreness and stiffness

HERBAL RECOMMENDATIONS, Temporary Sleep Aids:

  • Valarian Root, Passion Flower, Chamomile, St. John's Wort herbal teas
  • Calcium - Magnesium to be taken at bedtime because of muscle relaxant effect
  • White Willow, herbal analgesic (tylenol equivalent)
  • Ginko Biloba - improves circulation which enhances oxygen availability to muscles
  • Licorice Root - supports glandular system (caution: may raise blood pressure)
  • Astragulus and Gotu Kola - support adrenals, immune system, energy boosting
  • Bee Pollen - energy, complete food (caution: muscle test for allergies first)
  • Capsaicin, a topical cayenne in cream form (drug stores carry), helps relieve muscle pain.
  • Detoxification bath with epsom salts or baking soda and pulverized fresh lemons.
  • Liver detoxification with burdock, yellow dock, milk thistle, dandelion

MEDICAL TREATMENT MAY INCLUDE:

  • In addition to natural approaches, medication may also be considered after weighing the benefits versus possible side effects especially when symptoms are quite severe.
  • VMedications could include: Advil, Motrin, NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
  • Anti-depressants, Elavil or Amitriptyline (St. John's Wort has an anti-depressant effect)
  • Psychotherapy where indicated (sometimes for coping with the illness)
  • Cognitive rehabilitation as required (memory, learning processes)
  • Pain management strategies (family support is encouraged with this)

IN SUMMARY

Treatment must be taylored according to individual needs and abilities. A slow gradual progress through gentle stretching, aerobic and strengthening exercises is best. With a dietary support (both changes in diet and various supplements)as well as pain control techniques, the patient will learn to manage his/her own treatment strategies.