What Is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a chronic, widespread syndrome (a cluster of symptoms), presenting with multiple tender points upon pressure and incapacitating fatigue.
The CDC has estimated that 6 million Americans representing 2% of the population was affected in 2005. 80-90% of those are female and it is most frequent among women age 20-50 years old with a previous history of domestic violence, abuse or emotional trauma and lower income and educational status.
According to the CDC, 25% of those affected by fibromyalgia, also present with autoimmune disease such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
The symptoms include: widespread pain, decreased pain threshold, fatigue, insomnia, stiffness, irritable bowel syndrome, SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth), reflux, migraines, headaches, cold intolerance, numbness and tingling in hands and feet, Sicca syndrome-dry mouth, nose and eyes, exercise intolerance, painful menses, painful intercourse, depression, brain fog, anxiety, painful or frequent urination and incontinence.
A very thorough history and physical exam needs to be conducted since there is no specific laboratory testing for fibromyalgia. It is usually a diagnosis of exclusion after all other conditions have been ruled out. To meet the criteria for diagnosis, patients must experience at least three months or more of musculoskeletal pain and at least 11 of 18 specified tender points, mapped in the diagram below, along with incapacitating fatigue, sleep disturbances, increased stress levels and depression. The pain has an axial distribution of the spine and anterior chest. Pain occurs on both sides of the body (right and left), and above and below the waist.
In 2012, WebMD, created this diagram of tender points, to make the diagnosis more rigorous. This map consists of 18 points distributed along the front and the back of the body. To obtain a formal diagnosis of fibromyalgia, 11 of these tender points need to create pain upon pressure. The pain must be non-radiating upon a 4kg per cm pressure. This should be just enough pressure to blanch the nail bed, turning it white.
- Occiput- sub occipital muscle insertion
- Low cervical- anterior aspects of intertransverse spaces of C5-C7
- Trapezius- midpoint of upper border
- 2nd rib – 2nd costocondral junction
- Supraspinatus – above medial border of scapula spine
- Lateral epicondyle – 2 cm distal to epicondyles
- Gluteal – upper outer quadrants of buttocks
- Greater trochanter – posterior to trochanteric prominence
- Knee – medial fat pad proximal to joint line
What Causes Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia appears to be the result of a disturbance in the hypothalamus, causing a cascade of adverse events in the HPA (Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal) axis. The HPA axis is in charge of regulating sleep, hormones, temperature, blood pressure, sweat and blood flood.
This disruption causes sleep disturbances, impaired cognition, decreased immune function and increased opportunistic infections and abnormal sensitivity to pain. Lack of energy and lack of movement causes muscles to shorten and create more pain.
Stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol are secreted in excess, eventually leading to adrenal fatigue and opportunistic infections such as Candida overgrowth or bacterial infection of the small intestine. Leaky gut syndrome may develop with nutrient malabsorption, and neurotransmitter deficiencies may induce depression, anxiety and cognitive changes.
Our experience shows that the symptoms of fibromyalgia are alleviated by a systemic detoxification and we hypothesize that the hypothalamic disturbance comes from hormone disruptors such as chemicals and heavy metals, previous viral or bacterial infection or emotional trauma.
Conventional treatment focuses on treating the symptoms with pharmacology. Often the medications prescribed have dreadful side effects that cause people to look for alternatives.
The drugs used include:
- Muscle relaxers
- Anti-depressants – TCA’s, SSRI, SNRI, MAOI
- NSAIDS and steroids have been found to be ineffective
The National Fibromyalgia Association estimated in 2007, that 12-14 billion dollars is spent annually in the United States on alternative treatments indicating the interest for alternative treatments.
Alternative treatment focuses on restoration of adrenal function, neurotransmitter balance, gastrointestinal health, sleep and pain management, detoxification, stress reduction, exercise and a healthy lifestyle.
Now is the Time to Mind Your Body & Mend Your Mind
HAWAII DETOXIFICATION & LIFESTYLE CHANGE SPECIALISTS
Holistic Natural Lifestyle Change Program for medical conditions. The Fibromyalgia Recovery program is a Lifestyle Change program. The Lifestyle Change program draws from Naturopathic and Detoxification medicine, Behavioral and Psychodynamic Therapy approaches, Stress Reduction Techniques, Meditation, Yoga and Spiritual Practices. We take only a small amount of clients, and our programs are individually designed. Our use of the ocean, the recreational activities & natural approaches facilitate recovery.
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