Thursday, August 22, 2013

Fibromyalgia Alternatives

Have you been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and you're not feeling better or were not informed of the cause of your condition? Were you just put on antidepressants or anti-inflammatory drugs? Fibromyalgia did not emerge in the medical literature until the late 20th century and to this day does not have clear diagnostic criteria. Those of us practicing alternative medicine offer a much clearer picture of the causes and treatment options for Fibromyalgia. In 1990 the American College of Rheumatology published their criteria for the classification of Fibromyalgia Syndrome. These criteria consist of only two parts: (1) chronic, widespread pain that has been present for three months, and (2) pain elicited by palpation of specific tender points, more specifically 11 of 18 predetermined sites. Many authors began to report many more symptoms by the early 1990s. These included fatigue, irritable bowel, headache, cold sensitivity, atypical patterns of sensation, exercise intolerance, anxiety, depression, irritable bladder, dysmenorrhea, bruxism, and other symptoms associated with increased nervous system activity.

Muscle biopsies of FMS patients revealed no changes in muscle tissue, which exploded the theory of Fibromyalgia being an inflammatory disorder of soft tissues. It was also found that antidepressants did help to reduce patient symptoms by lowering nervous system hyperactivity. No underlying cause of Fibromyalgia was ever found and thus the cluster of symptoms became Fibromyalgia Syndrome

To clump all these symptoms together into one is fatally flawed and has left many patients with no answers, no help and more medications. Schneider and Brady have elegantly classified Fibromyalgia into "Classic FMS" and "Pseudo FMS." Classic FMS consists of the following criteria: sleep disorders, anxiety syndrome, depression, alterations of brain and central nervous system chemistry, and brain injury/trauma. Classic FMS patients have low serotonin levels which is our "feel good" neurotransmitter. Serotonin is the target of many antidepressant medications but it can be boosted without drugs. 5-HTP and vitamin B6 can support serotonin levels as well as meditation and psychotherapy. Serotonin can become depleted after a major traumatic event or chronic stress. 

Pseudo FMS is broken down into three categories:

  1. Organic diseases: anemia, Lyme's disease, hypothyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer and multiple sclerosis

  2. Functional disorders: improper diets, functional nutritional deficiencies, intestinal dysbiosis, dysfunction of liver detoxification.

  3. Musculoskeletal disorders: Multiple trigger points, joint dysfunction, muscle imbalances, postural distortion, undiagnosed disk/facet lesions.

Have you had a thorough examination and the necessary testing to rule-out any of these possible causes? Were you tested for dysbiosis (abnormal ratios of bacterial flora in the intestines)? What about your liver's ability to detoxify or a thorough thyroid evaluation? I routinely test for these types of metabolic disorders and find the underlying cause of FMS patients. You don't have to live with fatigue, depression, chronic pain, anxiety etc., there are answers for you.

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