Fibromyalgia & Happiness Medicine

Fibromyalgia is another one of those conditions characterized  by muscle annoying pain with concomitant signs of depression. In this Disease Report, I will first examine the Nature of this disease (Section A), then look its symptomatology (Section B), its Diagnosis ambiguities (Section C), Pathogenesis  (Causation) (Section D) and conclude with an analysis of Treatment plans, both conventional and holistic, the latter of which is clinically superior. (Section E)

Section A

  Fibromyalgia’s Specificity and Basic Facts: More of a General Break-down Condition than a Specific Disease

Categorized as either a musculoskeleton or neurological disease by conventional medicine’s experts, from the view point of holistic and happiness medicine, I find that Fibromyalgia, (1) which appears to be more of a condition  than a specific disease, is a systemic physical, emotiiotaonal and microbiota breakdown that affects most of the body’s biological process, even though widespread musculoskeletal pain and tenderness, as well as depression, tiredness, sleep, memory and mood are the symptoms that the National Health services and Mayo Clinic identify first and foremost. (2) (Source) & (Source B)

Although Fibromyalgia also occurs in patients with autoimmune diseases, it appears to also not be derived from autoimmunity, a biological process characterized bythe body’s police forces attacking its own citizens. In fact, when we dig deep, the best experts hypothesize that Fibromyalgia is less a disease than chronic pain condition. If a root cause were to be singled out, it would be the body’s abnormal response to stress. (3) (Source)

Consistent with the general breakdown of post-industrial countries, in the United States, more than 5 million Americans aged 18 years old and older suffer from fibromyalgia, (4) 80 to 90 percent of whom are females, (5) one of the more vulnerable groups in predatory-driven capitalist cultures. (6) Hence, the Institute’s specificity characterizations appears to be reflective of the general and systemic breakdown of American Society, which starts with the most vulnerable groups.

Section B

Symptomatology

As alluded to, the central symptomatic characterisation of fibromyalgia is chronic and widespread inflammtory-driven pain like  stiffness, annoyance, numbness or even burning pain. This can be felt all over the body, although in some individuals, the pain occurs in only one area.

Known as pain or tender points,  (Source) the pain aches can radiate and spread to any weak area of the body, it can also modulate in terms of intensity.  “radiates” or spreads to other areas and may flare up and change in intensity, increasing or decreasing. (7) Patients usually describe the pain caused by fibromyalgia as tiring, energy depleting. Hence fatigue appears to be the second most common identifying factor of this condition and cognitive problems called “fibro fog” the third most prevalent symptom.(8)  (Source)

There are also some unusual, less common symptoms that may come with fibromyalgia, including, but not limited to the following: Allodynia. A heightened sensitivity to touch. Simply rubbing an affected person’s shoulder or patting him or her on the back can cause intense pain. Paresthesia. An unexplained tingling and numbness that’s often related to anxiety or nervousness over the disorder. Paresthesia is accompanied by rapid, deep breathing, and may lead to acroparesthesia, a tingling in the hands and feet caused by lack of carbon dioxide. Lipomas. These lumps, which can appear in various parts of the body, are actually fatty benign tumors, and may cause you more discomfort. Sensitivity to fragrance, light, and even sounds. Excessive sweating and a feverish feeling. (Source)

Female Specific Symptomatology

Fibromyalgia symptoms in men and women are generally similar, although women may have a host of other symptoms. One example is having painful menstrual periods. Women diagnosed with fibromyalgia may also have endometriosis, a condition caused by tissue growing in other parts of the pelvis. They may feel pain during sexual gymnastics (Source)  Which makes total sense in terms of the Happiness Medicine paradigm (See below).

Section C

Fibromyalgia’s Difficult Diagnosis (Differential Diagosis)

Like with SIBO and other illness conditions,  Fibromyalgia is difficult to diagnose, mainly because the pain and other symptoms it causes can also be attributed to other illnesses and break-down patterns. It can take as long as five years for an average person with this condition to get a clear diagnosis, and as many as 3 out of 4 people remain undiagnosed. (Source) Fibromyalgia is often diagnosed during middle age, and while it can occur by itself, people with certain diseases, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and other types of arthritis, may be at risk of contracting this break-down condition. (Source)

To make the dignosis even more difficult, there is no standardized Lab Test for this condition and all the more so that symptoms can vary from one individual to another and can be shared with other conditions. Thus, the normal work-up in terms of diagnosis is to first rule out other possible diseases. This is called Differential Diagnosis. (9) Once that is done, the clinician will normally proceed to checking out the patient’s sensitive zones.

Pain Points

Fibromyalgia textbooks and clinical practicians speak about “tender points”, “pressure points” or “pain points”. 18 areas in the body have been identified where these points can be the most sensitive upon firm pressure. (10) (Source)

In the recent past, the standard of care in terms of diagnosis was to determine the existence of at least 11 of these 18 pressure points. But because the pain location can vary, the guidelines were modified. Thus, today, instead of identifying pain only in these pressure points, physicians will also look for widespread pain that lasts for at least three months, as well as the presence of other symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms of fibromyalgia include, but are not limited to the following : muscle stiffness, spasm, fatigue and waking up exhausted. This can also be attributed to insomnia disorders, which is yet another fibromyalgia symptom. Numbness in the hands and feet Sensitivity to cold and heat Restless leg syndrome or RLS, which is an uncomfortable, creepy-crawly feeling in your legs that often disturbs your sleep. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Headaches. “Fibro fog” (or brain fog), a condition that impairs your ability to focus on mental tasks. Some common signs of fibro fog include difficulty with finding a word, short-term memory loss, and disorientation that lasts for 30 to 60 seconds. Depression and anxiety

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Section D

Pathogenesis (Causation)

One of the potential causes of fibromyalgia is how your body processes pain The exact cause of fibromyalgia is still undetermined; however, research suggests that a combination of physical, neurological and psychological factors can lead to the onset of this illness

A combination of inherited genetic mutations may play a role in developing fibromyalgia, which is why people who have a close relative (a sibling or a parent) who had this illness are at a higher risk of acquiring it

The exact cause of fibromyalgia is still undetermined; however, research suggests that a combination of physical, neurological and psychological factors can lead to the onset of this illness. Your emotions and moods can affect the pain you feel, and being depressed or anxious can further compound it. Here are some factors1 that may lead to fibromyalgia:

Microbiota Dysbiosis

 

Chemical Disequilabrium and Signaling Molecules out of whack

One of the potential causes of fibromyalgia is how your body processes pain. People with fibromyalgia process pain differently, as their levels of substance P, a chemical found in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) that is responsible for transmitting pain impulses to the brain, are significantly higher — at least three times more compared to people without fibromyalgia.

Having higher levels of substance P makes the pain more intense.2 Research also found that having low levels of the hormones noradrenaline, serotonin and dopamine in the brain is common among fibromyalgia sufferers. These hormones are essential in regulating mood, appetite, sleep, behavior and stress response. Changes in the levels of stress hormones like cortisol may contribute to fibromyalgia, too.

Sleep Problems

Having disturbed sleep patterns or lacking deep sleep may be a cause of fibromyalgia, and not just a symptom. It is in stage 4 sleep when the body refreshes itself, allowing the muscles to recover from the day’s activity. According to studies, people with fibromyalgia become more aroused when they enter stage 4 sleep, resulting in a lighter form of sleep. When researchers took volunteers and stopped them from entering stage 4 sleep, symptoms similar to fibromyalgia manifested as well.3

Other Possible Triggers

Some physical conditions may exacerbate your risk of fibromyalgia. These include getting an injury (or repetitive injuries), a viral infection, surgery or giving birth. Emotional or stressful events, such as losing a loved one, being in an accident or being physically abused (leading to post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD) and relationship problems (breaking up with your significant other) may also put you in danger of fibromyalgia.

Genetics

A combination of inherited genetic mutations may play a role in developing fibromyalgia, which is why people who have a close relative (a sibling or a parent) who had this illness are at a higher risk of acquiring it, compared to people who have no relatives diagnosed with this disease.

Risks factors from other conditions and diseases

Health Ailments

Painful rheumatic conditions that affect the muscles, joints or bones can put you in danger of fibromyalgia. These include: Rheumatoid arthritis Osteoarthritis Lupus Ankylosing spondylitis Temporomandibular disorder (TMD)

NHS Choices, Fibromyalgia Causes, January 3, 2016

EmedicineHealth.com September 3, 2015

Arthritis Research UK

Fr 1 cause

“radiates” or spreads to other areas and may change in intensity, increasing or decreasing. Fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals. Many people describe the pain caused by fibromyalgia as “exhausting,” which is why fatigue is the second most common identifying factor of this condition. The pain can also lead to cognitive issues, which is called “fibro fog.”7

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Section E

Treatment Plans

Limitations and Toxic Effects of Conventional Medicine

Take note that there is no known cure for fibromyalgia, and the only course of action is to treat the pain and relieve the symptoms. Once a person is diagnosed with it, most conventional physicians will likely prescribe pain relief medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), antidepressants, muscle relaxants and even anticonvulsants. Some doctors will also recommend sleeping pills.

However, be aware that these drugs usually come with a plethora of side effects. For example, antidepressants may increase your risk of developing mania and bipolar disorder, and pregnant women who take these medications may put their babies at risk of autism.

Meanwhile, anticonvulsants like pregabalin and gabapentin may cause drowsiness, dizziness, weight gain and swelling in the hands and feet.1 Sleeping pills, on the other hand, are found to put people at a higher risk of certain cancers, as well as make them four times more likely to die than people who don’t take them.

Holistic Solutions for Fibromyalgia

The best way to alleviate fibromyalgia pain and its other symptoms is through safe holistic methods. Fibromyalgia natural treatment options include:2

Getting enough vitamin D. Your fibromyalgia symptoms may decrease if you optimize your vitamin D levels, as this nutrient can help hinder the production of cytokine, an inflammation-causing protein. A study published in the journal Pain, conducted by researchers in Vienna, Austria, found that fibromyalgia patients that had higher levels of vitamin D had less pain and fatigue than those with lower levels.8

The best way to get vitamin D is through sun exposure, but if this is not possible, taking a vitamin D3 supplement is the ideal alternative.

Acupuncture. This Chinese medical system is based on the idea of restoring normal balance of life forces by inserting very fine needles through the skin. Western theories claim that acupuncture needles cause changes in blood flow and levels of neurotransmitters in the brain and spinal cord, which may help relieve pain.

Another technique you can try is the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT). This acupuncture-like practice uses a combination of finger tapping and saying affirmations to help banish pain and other physical and mental ailments.

Massage therapy. By moving and stimulating your body’s muscles and soft tissues, a gentle massage can relax your muscles, reduce your heart rate, help stimulate the production of your body’s natural painkillers and improve your joints’ range of motion. Getting a massage can also relieve stress and anxiety.

Yoga and Tai chi. Combining meditation, slow movements, deep breathing and relaxation, these two have been both found to be helpful in managing fibromyalgia symptoms. Researchers fromg Oregon Health and Science University found that people with fibromyalgia who took yoga classes had less pain, reduced fatigue, and improved mood.3

Use of essential oils. Because of their stress-relieving and relaxing properties, certain fragrant herbal oils may be beneficial in treating fibromyalgia pain. These oils are best diluted in a carrier oil (like coconut oil or argan oil), and then added to bath and body oils, diffused in the air or simply inhaled. Some of the best essential oils for fibromyalgia relief include:4

Lavender, chamomile, lemongrass, ginger and black pepper (for alleviating pain) Clary sage, frankincense, sweet orange, grapefruit, ylang ylang and jasmine (for stress relief) Neroli and Roman chamomile (for peaceful sleep) Peppermint and marjoram (for headaches)

Taking supplements. Taking certain supplements to complement a healthy diet may help relieve fibromyalgia. Magnesium deficiency, for example, has been found to contribute to the muscle pain associated with fibromyalgia, so taking supplemental magnesium may be helpful. Another supplement you should consider is krill oil, as it has anti-inflammatory properties.

For those dealing with impaired sleep, a melatonin supplement may be helpful. Melatonin is a natural supplement that helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle.

K-Laser Therapy. This treatment enhances microstimulation, and by stimulating red blood cell flow to the affected areas, it reduces pain and inflammation, while promoting tissue healing. It also enhances venous and lymphatic return, as a result of oxygenating tissues (Read more about the benefits of K-Laser Therapy). One study published in the Journal of Lasers in Medical Science states:

“… Laser therapy is effective on pain, muscle spasm, morning stiffness, and total tender point number in fibromyalgia and suggests that this therapy method is a safe and effective way of treatment in the cases with fibromyalgia.”5

Lasers Med Sci. 2002;17(1):57-61.

Efficacy of low power laser therapy in fibromyalgia: a single-blind, placebo-controlled trial.

Gür A1, Karakoç M, Nas K, Cevik R, Saraç J, Demir E.

Author information

Abstract

Low energy lasers are widely used to treat a variety of musculoskeletal conditions including fibromyalgia, despite the lack of scientific evidence to support its efficacy. A randomised, single-blind, placebo-controlled study was conducted to evaluate the efficacy of low-energy laser therapy in 40 female patients with fibromyalgia. Patients with fibromyalgia were randomly allocated to active (Ga-As) laser or placebo laser treatment daily for two weeks except weekends. Both the laser and placebo laser groups were evaluated for the improvement in pain, number of tender points, skinfold tenderness, stiffness, sleep disturbance, fatigue, and muscular spasm. In both groups, significant improvements were achieved in all parameters (p<0.05) except sleep disturbance, fatigue and skinfold tenderness in the placebo laser group (p>0.05). It was found that there was no significant difference between the two groups with respect to all parameters before therapy whereas a significant difference was observed in parameters as pain, muscle spasm, morning stiffness and tender point numbers in favour of laser group after therapy (p<0.05). None of the participants reported any side effects. Our study suggests that laser therapy is effective on pain, muscle spasm, morning stiffness, and total tender point number in fibromyalgia and suggests that this therapy method is a safe and effective way of treatment in the cases with fibromyalgia.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11845369

Helio therapy

Check Hamer and EMOTIONS

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT). There’s evidence that CBT may help fibromyalgia patients deal with chronic pain and stressful situations. You need to consult a health practitioner who is knowledgeable in this type of therapy, which focuses on defining and setting limits. The effects of CBT for fibromyalgia are not always long-term, but they are certainly useful for those who are struggling with high levels of psychological stress.6

Mild exercise. Getting some movement into your daily routine may help you deal with fibromyalgia pain. Walking is a low-impact aerobic activity that can bring oxygen in your joints and decrease your pain and stiffness. Stretching is another great activity, but be sure to never stretch to the point of pain. Weight lifting significantly decreases pain as well, as long as the weights are light and the intensity is increased lightly.

Aquatic exercises can also be beneficial. A 2007 study published in Arthritis Research and Therapy found that women who did aquatic exercises in a heated pool, for an hour three times a week, had less fibromyalgia symptoms than those who did not.

NHS Choices, January 3, 2016

Mayo Clinic, Fibromyalgia — Alternative Medicine, October 1, 2015

Pain Journal, November 2010;151(2):530-9

Massage Today, March 2006, Vol. 06, Issue 03

Lasers in Medical Science, 2002;17(1):57-61

University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC)

Arthritis Research & Therapy February 22, 2008

Pain Journal, 2014 Feb;155(2):261-8

Nutrition

There’s no particular food, or group of foods that may help heal fibromyalgia or relieve its symptoms. Nevertheless, your diet can impact your well-being at some level, and some people claim that eating certain foods — and avoiding others — makes them feel better.

However, you must remember that foods that can help reduce someone else’s symptoms may have no effects on another person. Dr. Michael McNett, says this is because fibromyalgia is not a specific illness.

Fibromyalgia is more like a symptom complex, and different people appear to have different reasons why they get this symptom complex. So what works for one person very frequently does not work for another,” he explains.1

Diet Tips for Fibromyalgia Patients

The best thing to do is to keep a food diary. Write down everything you eat, and take note of when your symptoms disappear and when they flare up. This will help you differentiate foods that help alleviate your pain from those that exacerbate it. Here are some general tips to help you get started:

Recommendation cardio see

. According to a 2007 study, patients who are diagnosed with pain-related conditions, like rheumatoid arthritis and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) had reduced soreness and morning stiffness, as well as less painful joints, after supplementing with omega-3s.2 Even though the study did not specifically involve fibromyalgia patients, the results show promise for this illness, too.

Avoid artificial sweeteners, especially aspartame. These could exacerbate your symptoms, as they can stimulate the NMDA pain receptor in your nervous system, making you feel more pain. Having increased NMDA pain receptor is a hallmark characteristic among fibromyalgia patients, according to a 2006 study.3

Steer clear of processed foods, as they contain monosodium glutamate (MSG). This is an excitotoxin that may trigger or worsen your pain symptoms. It works in the same way as aspartame. Aside from chips and other processed snacks, MSG is also used in frozen foods and Asian cuisines (abundantly).4

Minimize your yeast and gluten intake. These two substances often appear together, especially in bread and other baked goods. However, be careful as yeast can foster the overgrowth of yeast fungus in your body, and may exacerbate joint and muscle pain. Meanwhile, gluten can lead to gluten intolerance, leading to stomach ailments and digestive problems.

Be wary of nightshade plants. These include eggplants, tomatoes, chili and bell peppers. They may trigger flare-ups of fibromyalgia and other types of arthritis. However, these are nutritious foods, so if you can consume them without triggering any symptom, then keep them in your diet.

Avoid caffeine. Many fibromyalgia patients make the mistake of combating fatigue with caffeine, but this may only exacerbate the problem. Caffeine can trigger headaches, interfere with sleep, and cause further fatigue.5

A Healthy Diet Can Also Help You Manage Your Weight

A well-balanced and healthy diet is essential not only for treating fibromyalgia — it’s useful for helping keep your weight under control as well. Excessive body fat can strain and put added pressure on your joints, which may worsen the symptoms. A study published in the journal Clinical Rheumatology confirms this, and states that obese fibromyalgia patients actually felt better after they lost weight, experiencing less pain, fewer tender points and better sleep. They were also less prone to depression.6

– Sources and References

1, 4 Medicine.Net, Fibromyalgia: The Diet Connection

University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC)

Arthritis Research and Therapy April 24, 2006; 8(3): 208.

Everyday Health, March 2, 2011

Health Line, October 21, 2013

Discussion

that reflects’s modern Society’s derailment, notably in terms of stress and toxemia, the consequence of which is diffuse pain and fatigue all over the body, just like in our Society.

Fibromyalgia may not have any apparent physical signs, but this doesn’t mean it should be taken lightly. In fact, fibromyalgia can be very debilitating and frustrating. Patients often feel isolated and helpless, as it can interfere with their ability to function at home or in the workplace. This is why controlling this illness through natural modalities is absolutely necessary.

Not only is fibromyalgia a painful disorder, but it’s also an expensive one. In 2012, the CDC estimated that the average annual cost of fibromyalgia amounts to almost $6,000. In the U.S., people who suffer from this illness can apply for disability, but proper medical diagnosis is required. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will evaluate your fibromyalgia disability application, and will determine if you qualify based on the duration, severity and frequency of your fibromyalgia attacks.11àno

Conclusion

 

Reference and Precision Notes

(1). http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Fibromyalgia/Pages/Symptoms.aspx

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/fibromyalgia/basics/definition/con-20019243

(2). The term “fibromyalgia” actually comes from a combination of the Greek words myos or “muscle” and algos or “pain,” and the New Latin word fibro, which means “fibrous tissue.” (Source)

(3). http://chronicfatigue.about.com/od/whatisfibromyalgia/f/fibroautoimmune.htm

(4). http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/fibromyalgia-disability

(5). http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Fibromyalgia/fibromyalgia_ff.asp However, men and children are still at risk of this ailment. The specific cause is still not determined, yet experts believe it manifests after certain events, such as physical trauma, surgery, infection or significant psychological stress. (Source)

(6). By attaching the adjective predatory to capitalism does not mean that all capitalistic mode of production and distribution (of good and services) are predatory. With holistic regulation and ethic Governance, some capitalist systems can be even compassionate, notwithstanding the evolutionary “predatory-prey” engine that characterizes part of Nature and mercantile-militarist civilizations.

(7). Fibromyalgia pain is characterized as a continuous dull ache that starts in the muscle, but it can also feel like a burning sensation or a sharp and stabbing pain on both sides of your body and above and below your waist. (Cf http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Fibromyalgia/Pages/Symptoms.aspx)

(8). http://www.health.com/health/condition-article/0,,20326433,00.html

(9) Before you can be confirmed to have fibromyalgia, your physician will test and rule out other illnesses, like multiple sclerosis (MS), rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and chronic fatigue syndrome.

(10). http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20345635,00.html

 

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