You hurt all over, you have hurt all over for years, and your doctor finally
tells you that you have fibromyalgia. Now you are relieved, because your
pain actually has a diagnosis – a medical name. But when you ask
your doctor what to do about it, you are told: “We do not know what
causes fibromyalgia. We treat it with painkillers and antidepressants.”
So your body is screaming a message to you, but you still don’t know
how to get healthy – only how to suppress the symptoms.
Do we believe that our bodies try to tell us what is wrong, so that we
can do something about it?
When we have a broken leg, we have a lot of pain when we try to use the
broken part. So we don’t use the part – we put a cast on it,
or we use crutches, and after a while the part heals. The body has given
us the information we needed – pain and swelling – so that
we will take care of the broken part appropriately.
When we have abdominal pain and/or diarrhea from taking too many vitamin
C pills, we connect the dots and do not take as many pills next time.
But when we have fibromyalgia, we are told to take pills to suppress the
symptoms. That only makes sense if we truly do not understand what causes
chronic muscle pain.
The syndrome called fibromyalgia was first officially recognized by the
American College of Rheumatology 20 years ago. You had fibromyalgia if
you experienced pain when 11 of 18 specified points on your body were
pressed with a specific amount of force. You also had to experience pain
all over, in order to qualify for the diagnosis.[i]
I went to a lecture given by a renowned fibromyalgia specialist to learn
more about the syndrome. What I learned was that almost anyone could qualify
for that diagnosis. The specialist pressed on several of the defined points
on me, and I almost dropped to the floor. And I don’t have fibromyalgia,
nor am I particularly sensitive to pain.
So I realized that all the talk about fibromyalgia was pretty much hot
air, and I should start looking for other causes.
The situation is not much better in conventional medicine in 2014.
In 2014, a review article published in the Journal of the American Medical
Association states: “Numerous treatments are available for managing
fibromyalgia that are supported by high-quality evidence. These include
nonpharmacological therapies (education, exercise, cognitive behavioral
therapy) and pharmacological therapies (tricyclics, serotonin norepinephrine
reuptake inhibitors, and gabapentinoids).”[ii] No mention is made of food sensitivities, mitochondrial support, or anything
other than mind games, exercise and drugs. People with fibromyalgia are
well aware of how well exercise works.
Why is treating fibromyalgia such a challenge for clinicians? What are
some potential treatable causes of diffuse muscle pain?
Family history of fibromyalgia – there appears to be an association between familial depression
and symptoms of fibromyalgia.[iii],
[iv] There is not much we can do about treating the family history.
Abnormal perception of pain – thought to be due to a deficiency of
serotonin (hence the treatment with SSRIs).[v] We may be able to modulate this one – this is where meditation and
biofeedback come in, mind/body modalities that can be extremely effective.[vi]
Central hypersensitivity to external stimuli – persistent painful
input leads to changes in those parts of the central nervous system where
painful sensations are processed.[vii] There may be perception of pain in the absence of actual painful stimulus,
leading to the widespread idea that fibromyalgia is “all in your
head.” This is another area where biofeedback may be very helpful.
Foods – the role of diet in the treatment of fibromyalgia has been
relegated to the status of “kook” medicine – but those
of us who advocate changing the diet find the change to be beneficial.
In fact, for some patients, that is all they need to do. Get rid of the
foods to which they are sensitive, and they have no more pain. Problem solved.[viii]
Inflammation – vegetarian and/or raw vegan diets have been found to be beneficial
for some people. Animal protein tends to be more inflammatory, vegetable
protein less inflammatory.[ix]
Abnormal microbiome of the GI tract – a link has been found between the microbiome of the gut and the
symptoms of fibromyalgia. This link is more robust than the link between
the microbiome and symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).[x]
Mitochondrial damage – if our cellular energy factories fail, they
accumulate toxic waste products which cause inflammation and pain –
diffuse pain, exactly like fibromyalgia.[xi],
[xii] And we can treat with supplements which mitigate the oxidative stress,
thereby reducing pain.[xiii]
Downloaded by permission from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:0315_Mitochondrion_new.jpg
Poor quality of sleep – there is some evidence that quality of sleep
has a major impact on many things, including mood, weight and pain.[xiv] Sometimes we can intervene here. Calming the mind – whether with
meditation, biofeedback, white noise, Alpha-Stim®[xv], l-theanine, combination products like Kavinace[xvi], or pharmaceuticals like trazodone[xvii] or the benzodiazepines – generally results in less pain and better
Treatment at the Arizona Center for Advanced Medicine
Almost all the above factors can be treated.
Family history – not so much.
Abnormal perception, or central hypersensitization – that issue is eminently treatable. We just have to be willing
to go there. We have several modalities available to treat the brain processing
issue – guided imagery, bioelectric treatments, homeopathic or frequency
modulated remedies and EEG biofeedback are a few of those modalities.
[guided imagery links to the page on hypnosis and guided imagery – http://arizonaadvancedmedicine.com/team/steven-swerdfeger-phd-ch/
Bioelectric treatments links to the page on Chiren – http://arizonaadvancedmedicine.com/the-chiren-delving-deep-into-the-nature-of-life-itself/
Homeopathic remedies links to the page on NES – http://arizonaadvancedmedicine.com/services/nes-scan/
EEG biofeedback links to Nancy Wigton’s page – http://arizonaadvancedmedicine.com/team/nancy-wigton/
Foods – we can test for food sensitivity. We can help you modify
your food choices to be less inflammatory, less allergenic, less prone
to raise your blood sugar, less conducive to Alzheimer’s and more
healthy, tasty and beautiful.
[test for food sensitivity links to
Food choices links to the section in the Library of articles called
Food and Nutrition – we need a tag or something, so that they don’t
just go to the top of the articles page. ]
Inflammation – we treat this with supplements and food choices. We help you choose
foods which are specifically anti-inflammatory, as well as helping you
avoid those foods which create inflammation.
[anti-inflammatory links to http://arizonaadvancedmedicine.com/inflammation/
foods which create inflammation links to http://arizonaadvancedmedicine.com/sugar-a-sweet-invitation-to-disease/
Your gut microbiome – we can help you restore a healthy bacterial population in your
GI tract. First we test the stool, to see whether there is actually something
abnormal. If we find an abnormal distribution of organisms, or pathogenic
(disease-causing) organisms, we can use both pharmaceutical medication
and herbs or botanical preparations, to help you eliminate that which
is not healthy and encourage the growth of that which is healthy.
[gut microbiome links to http://arizonaadvancedmedicine.com/the-gut-microbiome-and-cancer-2/
and abnormal distribution of organisms to http://arizonaadvancedmedicine.com/immune-system-dysfunction/
Mitochondrial damage – we have an excellent supplement protocol for restoring the health
of the mitochondria, while we are doing the detective work to figure out
why your mitochondria got so depleted in the first place.
[mitochondria links to http://arizonaadvancedmedicine.com/chronic-fatigue-syndrome-myalgic-encephalitis-cfsme/
Sleep – people who do not sleep get irritable, and even psychotic. They
stop dreaming. They become irrational. They hurt. We can help you restore
your normal sleep patterns. We use a combination of herbal remedies, biofeedback,
meditation, guided imagery and even pharmaceutical medication if needed,
to help you get restful sleep.
Call us at 480-240-2600 for a free 15-minute consultation with one of our