Fibromyalgia is the name given to chronic, widespread muscular pain that has no obvious cause. The pain – usually described as aching, stiff, burning, or throbbing – may appear in any location of the body, but for a diagnosis of fibromyalgia to be made you must have pain in at least 11 of 18 specific “tender points.” The pain from tender points and elsewhere in the body usually feels most severe upon waking and gradually lessens as the day goes on.
The tender points for fibromyalgia exist in pairs (one on the right side of your body and one of the left) at the following locations:
- Base of the skull
- Base of the neck
- Upper chest, a little more than an inch below the collarbone
- Along the top of the shoulder
- Upper back, close to the spine and about an inch below the preceding set of the points
- Inside of the elbows
- Lower back, close to the dimples above the buttocks
- Upper outside edge of the thigh
- Inside of the knees
Although the pain of fibromyalgia alone can be so severe as to render its victims disabled, the disease can be complicated by any of several other problems. Fibromyalgia is closely linked to chronic fatigue syndrome, and many of its sufferers experience symptoms similar to CFS (see the symptom list below). Irritable bowel syndrome, premenstrual syndrome, palpitations, and temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ) may also be present.
As with CFS, there is currently no one agreed upon cause of this disease. In most cases there are many factors that combine to produce the varied components of fibromyalgia. Disordered sleep is a very common problem with this condition. The length and quality of sleep must be improved for long-term success in most cases of fibromyalgia. Also, hormone imbalance is quite common. Particularly, low thyroid function and imbalances in estrogen/progesterone as well as the stress hormones DHEA and cortisol.
Digestive function and detoxification usually need improvement to help those fibromyalgia. Along with this digestive weakness come leaky gut syndrome and candida overgrowth as well as general dysbiosis. Chronic infections that include viruses can be a factor. Food allergies area a significant contributor for some people, especially wheat, sugar, and cow’s milk. As well, nutritional deficiencies such as magnesium, B vitamins, Coenzyme Q10, L-carnitine, and several others are very common. Our experience also has found that many of these people have brain chemistry imbalance.
Using natural therapies to balance serotonin and other neurotransmitters not only results in better mood but less muscular pain. One must also be aware that toxic elements such as lead, mercury, arsenic, and others can be one of the root contributors to fibromyalgia. These toxic elements interfere with normal enzyme and cell function in the body. In addition, blood sugar imbalances worsen pain and inflammation. Many people develop symptoms of fibromyalgia after a car accident and thus structural abnormalities must be addressed through physical therapies. Chiropractic, osteopathic, craniosacral, physiotherapy, and sometimes massage are very helpful in reducing pain.
In essence, all these potential imbalances lead to a defect in how the cells produce energy. Normally, the “energy producing plant” of the cells known as the mitochondria produces efficient energy for the cells of the body. When a defect occurs in mitochondrial metabolism it can lead to a shortage of energy for the muscle cells and other tissues of the body, resulting in fatigue and pain. Mitochondria require organic acids that are intermediates in metabolic pathways in the body that create energy. Researchers have found that people with fibromyalgia often have imbalances in these organic acids.
To correct this problem one must address the root causes as have been described. Fortunately, a comprehensive natural approach to fibromyalgia is very effective in eliminating the pain or greatly improving it.
For a diagnosis of fibromyalgia to be made, two factors must be present. Unexplained, widespread pain that lasts at least three months, and pain in at least 11 of the 18 tender points when gentle pressure is applied.
Many other symptoms may exist alongside in the pain, including the following:
- Sleep disturbances
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Difficulty Concentrating
- Memory problems
- Tingling of the hands or feet
- TEM syndrome
- Heart palpitations
- Heightened sensitivity to loud noises, bright lights, and changes in the weather
- Morning stiffness
The following are tests that help assess possible reasons for Fibromyalgia
- Chronic infection (Human herpes virus type 6 (HHV-6), Cytomegalovirus (CMV), Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), fungal overgrowth –blood and stool
- Hormone testing (thyroid, DHEA, cortisol, testosterone, IGF-1, estrogen, progesterone)-saliva, blood, or urine
- Intestinal Permeability-urine
- Vitamin and Mineral Analysis (especially magnesium, B1, B12, iron and CoQ10) -blood
- Digestive function and microbe/parasite/candida testing-stool analysis
- Food and environmental allergies/sensitivities-blood, electrodermal
- Blood sugar balance-blood
- Toxic elements (such as mercury, arsenic, etc)-urine, hair
- Cellular energy (organic acids)-blood or urine
- Detoxification profile-blood or urine