Fibromyalgia

For Betty

 

Fibromyalgia is a confusing and frustrating muscle disorder that has inflicted millions of people for too long without being properly diagnosed. Why? Because it is one of those multi-symptom disorders that defies modern conventional medicine. Without the insight to understand the harmonious balance of the body, It is almost impossible to heal. This painful disease was first described as far back as 1816. Later in 1904 it was classified as a distinct disorder of a painful arthritic condition. It has taken doctors until 1987 to recognise Fibromyalgia as a debilitating condition, insofar that the AMA cited it as a disabling illness.

Fibromyalgia primarily causes wide spread muscle pain (Myalgia), which can be debilitating in its severity. The pain seems to be caused by the tightening and thickening of the myofascia, the thin film or tissue that holds the muscles together. Fibromyalgia, also called Fibrositis, share many of the same symptoms as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), including debilitating fatigue, muscle and joint pain, sleep disorders and digestive problems. Specialists in the field of both disorders often call CFS the "drop dead flu" and Fibromyalgia the "aching all over disease".

Both diseases often become apparent, after a viral or bacterial infection, severe trauma related to an assault or car accident, chemical and food sensitivities, chronic stress, hormonal imbalances, mercury toxicity from dental amalgam fillings, breast implants and irregularities in muscle metabolism. An individual may experience either the fatigue or the aching muscle as dominant.

One of the key problems in FMS is the disregulation of the Thalamus, the part of the brain responsible for the integration of sensory information. This causes normal feedback from the body to be misinterpreted as pain. Researchers have found that those with Fibromyalgia have elevated amounts of the neurotransmitters involved in pain responses, substance P, as well as depressed levels of natural painkillers such as serotonin and growth hormones which helps regenerate muscles. Substance P is a polypeptide (several amino acids bonded together) made naturally in the body. It is released in response to physical injuries to tissues and muscles and is regarded as one of the most potent compounds affecting smooth muscle contraction and inflammation. The over abundance of Substance P may make those with Fibromyalgia experience pain under circumstances that would not cause any discomfort to a healthy person, and further, it may suppress levels of serotonin, and increase sleep disturbances.

Fibromyalgia patients also have low levels of growth hormone and cortisol. Human growth hormone (HGH), naturally secreted by the pituitary gland in the brain, is a small, protein-like hormone similar to insulin. HGH is secreted in very brief pulses during the early hours of sleep and remains in circulation for only a few minutes. As one gets older, the production of HGH declines at about the rate of 14% per decade. Research indicates that irregularities in HGH secretion may be a factor in Fibromyalgia.

Cortisol is a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands, which are located atop of the kidneys. Under conditions of chronic stress, high amounts of cortisol are released and then the adrenal glands become exhausted. Imbalances of cortisol secretion are linked to people who suffer low energy, muscle dysfunction, thyroid dysfunction, poor skin rejuvenation, immune system depression, and sleep disorders. Studies have shown that adrenal insufficiency and stress may contribute to many of the neurohormone imbalances and symptoms of Fibromyalgia sufferers.

Fibromyalgia patients show abnormal brain waves during the deepest stage of sleep (stage 4). Stage 4 sleep is important for the repair of tissues, the creation of antibodies, and function of growth hormone, which, is in turn necessary for muscle and bone health. Lack of sleep is considered to be a major cause of symptoms associated with Fibromyalgia.

Interestingly, 9 out of 10 patients tested positive for antibodies to Influenza type A. Influenza A is a viral infection that mainly affects the respiratory and autonomic nervous systems. The sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system is associated with arousal and stress, increasing heart rate, blood pressure and muscle tension. The researchers concluded that Influenza A may be implicated in the development of Fibromyalgia. Another study found a high prevalence of Fibromyalgia in patients infected with the Hepatitis C virus.

An estimated 3 - 6 million americans suffer from Fibromyalgia, 86% of those being women, and typically between the ages of 34 and 56 years old. The severity of this disorder renders about 25% of women and 27% of men unable to work. To further frustrate the sufferers of Fibromyalgia, many allopaths completely misdiagnose the symptoms and readily inform the patients that they are suffering from depression, and have been told that it's "all in their head"!

Treatments:

The most common conventional medical solution for Fibromyalgia sufferers is painkillers - a prime example of medical ignorance. Symptom driven treatment with little or no understanding of the causes, hence little chance of a cure. The underlying causes of Fibromylagia are imbalances within the body produced by multiple simultaneous infections and accompanying physical, mental and environmental factors. Common sense would lead a healer to treat the patient with a combination of approaches.

Testing of course is paramount. However, which tests? And interpretation of the results is crucial. First, a picture of overall health can be determined with such tests as electrodermal screening, dark blood analysis, stool and urine samples, which can uncover digestive function deficiencies.

In treating Fibromyalgia it is important to look for infections that are the result of toxicity and nutritional deficiencies, including yeast, parasites, viruses, abscesses in the teeth, and sometimes chronic gastritis. By treating these infections and boosting nutritional intake with good diet and proper supplementation, a person can reduce the burden on the immune system. So detoxifying the body is of course essential, as nothing is going to improve until this stage is taken seriously, consumption of alcohol, smoking, junk food, food that is processed with chemicals etc, have to go, because the poor human body doesn't appreciate being poisoned by the likes of the FDA! It simply can not keep up with the chemical deluge!

The food groups are essential to basic good health. Foods that are low in nutrition, high in sugar and fat should be entirely avoided. Instead, foods that are high in nutrients, high protein, complex carbohydrates, organic vegetables, grains, beans, fish, poultry and of course drinking 7+ glasses of water every day should be a part of your daily ritual in honouring your body. (Nothing you didn't already know eh)? And one more thing...Exercise!

Starting with vitamins & Minerals: Any and all of which, should be taken under the advisory of your healer, after testing to see what your body is screaming for. Dosages have also been omitted, as each person has his or her own requirements depending on what the body tells you it needs, and believe me, it does tell you...one way or another!

Vitamin E - an antioxidant. A very powerful anti-inflammatory, suppresses the breakdown of cartilage while stimulating cartilage growth.

Vitamin C - another antioxidant nutrient, is vital for the tissue repair, and when taken with vitamin E, will contribute greatly to the stability of cartilage.

Niacinamide - a form of niacin, which is vitamin B3, is very effective in reducing musculoskeletal inflammation, but should only be taken under a healer's supervision.

Lipotropic factors (substances that remove and prevent fatty deposits) - A combination of the lipotropic factors phosphatidyl - choline (lecithin, a neurotransmitter precursor) inositol (component of vitamin B complex), and methionine (an amino acid) can aid liver function, helping to detoxify the system and correct any excessive fat deposits, which reduce blood circulation and lead to painful blood clots. Methionine is integral to cartilage so it can improve the strength of joint tissues.

Selenium - an antioxidant mineral. This one works in combination with vitamin E and inhibits inflammation. Blood levels of selenium tend to be low in Fibromyalgia sufferers.

Magnesium Malate - A lack of magnesium can result in aluminium buildup in the brain, which can, in turn, produce Fibromyalgia symptoms. Taken in a combination formula with Malac acid is an effective supplement.

Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) - An essential fatty acid found in most fish oils, EPA is anti-inflammatory. Essential fatty acids decrease inflammation in the body and supply a source of lubrication for the tissues, which helps decrease pain.

Zinc - This antioxidant mineral is necessary for tissue repair and may be deficient in people with Fibromyalgia.

Cetyl Myristoleate (CM) - An oil derived from myristoleic acid (found in fish oils and cows milk butter) with anti-inflammatory and lubricant properties, which help alleviate the pain and swelling of joints, muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues in the body. CM also supports the immune system and seems able to stop the depletion of essential fatty acids that typically accompanies chronic inflammation.

S-Adenosylmethionine (SAMe) - A natural substance produced by the body when the amino methionine combines adenosine triphosphate (ATP), an energy source present in muscle cells. SAMe is amethyl-donor, meaning that it gives its sulfur molecules to important cellular activity such as rebuilding membranes, removing toxins and wastes, and producing mood elevating brain chemicals (dopamine & serotonin). Studies have found that SAMe is an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever.

Herbs: Again, all treatments should be advised by a qualified healer, and dosages have been deliberately omitted here. The following herbs are for treatment for symptoms of inflammation and helps ease the pain of Fibromyalgia, while boosting the immune system.

Echinacea - Immune tonic.

Black Cohosh - Anti -inflammatory.

Devil's Claw - Anti-inflammatory.

Licorice - Adrenal tonic and anti-inflammatory.

Dandelion - Used to help flush out the liver and remove toxins.

Celery - Removes acid wastes from the body.

Cayenne - Is a systemic stimulant, meaning it invigorates the physiological activities of the body. It is especially helpful for the circulation and digestive systems, stimulating blood flow and strengthening the heartbeat and metabolic rate.

Chamomile - Produces a calming effect, easing anxiety and reducing tension. It can thus be helpful in aiding restful sleep disorders and muscle tension.

Naturally (no pun intended) other holistic treatments are out there waiting for you to get sick and tired (another pun) of this debilitating condition, and take charge of your life. Such treatments might be Prolotherapy and Neural therapy, Bodywork (massage etc), Osteopathic medicine, Energy medicine, Mind/Body therapies, Acupuncture, Yoga, Biofeedback training, Chiropractic, detoxification therapy, Environmental Medicine, Hypnotherapy, Magnetic field therapy, Traditional Chinese medicine, Kinesiology, and our favourite one...Exercise.

And where to start? There are many professional qualified practitioners and information resources out there. Please turn the page for another insightful and encouraging article submitted to this site by an Allopath.

Just ask, or go to the Links page for useful websites.

Courtesy of, and credit to:
Jacob Teitelbaum M.D. Specialist of Fibromyalgia & C.F.S.
Leon Chaitow N.D.  D.O.  London, England.
Rima Laibow M.D.  Medical Director of Alexandria Institute, N. Y. U.S.A.
Michael T. Murray N.D. of Issaquah, Washington U.S.A.
John Meyers M.D. of John Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland. U.S.A.
Chanchal Cabrera M.N.I.M.H. Clinical Herbalist. Vancouver, B.C. Canada.