Fibromyalgia Homeopathic Remedies

From Pain To Freedom

From Pain To Freedom

From Pain To Freedom is the Latest Scientific and Natural Medicine Breakthroughs to Understand and Relieve the Symptoms of Fibromyalgia!

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The Fibromyalgia-reversing Breakthrough

Heres just a few things youll learn about how to get back into health. and conquer Fibromyalgia. Those not-so innocent yet everyday substances that are currently attacking your body, perpetuating and aggravating your Fibromyalgia. What to do and what Not to do to overcome your Fibromyalgia effectively and permanently. How to create the energy you need to be able to work full time and feel confident you will be able to take care of your loved ones. How the pharmaceutical and food industry are conspiring to poison you and make you sick (Hint: American medical system is now the leading cause of death in the US). Which food industries use advertising to encourage doctors to tell you that their food is good for you just like those cigarette ads in the 1950s! The single most effective fruits and vegetables in cleaning up excess acidic waste and how to cleanse your inner terrain completely from systemic acidosis. Why, what your Doctor has told you is wrong, and why many medications actually increase the side effects and complications of Fibromyalgia (primarily by depleting vital vitamins, minerals and nutrients from your body). Which supplements every patient must take to stop the symptoms and boost your body's ability to conquer Fibromyalgia. How to naturally reduce your cravings for toxic foods. Lifestyle and food choices to reverse your Fibromyalgia fast, naturally, and for good. Why treating the symptoms of disease is like using an umbrella inside your house instead of fixing the roof. The most powerful creator of health (Hint: its not a food or vitamin!) The best way to simplify the task of making a health-conscious lifestyle adjustment. A miraculous scientific discovery that jump-starts your body to do its natural work, which is to heal itself and restore your Health.

The Fibromyalgiareversing Breakthrough Summary


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The What When and Why of Fibromyalgia

In the first four chapters, I cover the realities of fibromyalgia. I offer a self-test, in case you need help in determining whether you may have FMS. The various symptoms of fibromyalgia are important to understand, and I cover them in detail in Chapter 2. I also talk about possible causes of fibromyalgia in Chapter 3. Nobody knows exactly what causes FMS, but there are some intriguing theories about the perpetrators of this medical problem (such as, it may be in your genes). Chapter 4 covers pain and its purpose, including good pain and bad pain. Most fibromyalgia pain is bad pain, so don't imagine that I think otherwise, because I don't However, you need to manage FMS pain, instead of having that pain manage you.

Yes Fibromyalgia Is Real

Considering symptoms, causes, and the pain aspect Knowing who gets fibromyalgia Looking at medical problems confused with fibromyalgia Finding a good doctor Exploring over-the-counter and prescribed medications and alternative remedies Considering how fibromyalgia affects work and family Improving sleep, decreasing stress, and dealing with emotional effects ML nowing that fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a real medical problem that needs to be dealt with is an important first step toward mastering your fibromyalgia and moving toward that place where you can start to feel like you're making progress. Sure, you can try to ignore the problem. But mostly, it won't let you. Fibromyalgia has many aspects to consider. In this chapter, I line up the major issues for you and refer you to chapters later in this book where I discuss how fibromyalgia affects you individually and what treatments and medications may work best for you.

Considering Who Gets Fibromyalgia

Just about anyone of any age can develop fibromyalgia, but most research so far indicates that the majority of people with FMS are of the female persuasion, partly because women are more sensitive to pain than men. This is a time where a little equal opportunity of pain would be preferable (if you're a woman). But who gets fibromyalgia isn't about fairness. Although women are the primary sufferers of fibromyalgia, many men have been diagnosed with FMS, too, and some men with fibromyalgia go undiag-nosed for years. For more information about some of the major patterns that have been identified so far among people who develop fibromyalgia, which you may share with these fellow sufferers, be sure to read Chapter 5. What about children and adolescents Do they have fibromyalgia Sadly, yes. If your child or teenager has FMS, he may have a difficult time because most physicians, as well as the general public, still don't realize that kids can experience chronic pain from FMS. Instead, they...

Finding a Doctor Whos a True Believer in Fibromyalgia

Although I believe that most well-educated physicians are at least aware of the existence of fibromyalgia and its basic symptoms, and also know that it's a valid problem that needs to be treated, I also know that a few doctors out there still haven't gotten the word yet. If your doctor isn't helping you with your FMS symptoms, you need to help him understand it. Taking this book to your appointment and showing him what you're reading is a good start. Sometimes, no matter what you do, a particular physician isn't working out for you. Maybe the two of you have a personality conflict, or maybe he thinks that you should just tough out your fibromyalgia. Or maybe the problem stems from something else altogether. Whatever it is, sometimes, you just need to find a new doctor. (I've devoted a significant part of Chapter 7 to help you find a new doc, if that's what you need to do.)

Recognizing Key Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

For Sandy, the horrible pain is what bothers her most about her fibromyalgia. Sure, she has some other symptoms that bother her as well, such as fatigue and chronic muscle stiffness, especially in the morning. But only the severe pain counts, in her mind. Andy, another person with fibromyalgia, says that he feels overwhelmed by everything. The pain. The constant tiredness. The confusion. The frequent headaches. Andy wants it all to go away preferably right now. In this chapter, I cover key symptoms of fibromyalgia, including first and foremost the pain and stiffness that nearly everyone complains about. I also cover the extreme fatigue that causes constant problems for most people with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS). In addition, I include information on what some people with fibromyalgia call fibro fog, which is really a sort of temporary mental confusion resulting in difficulty concentrating. I also cover syndromes and diseases commonly associated with fibromyalgia, such as irritable...

Understanding Fibromyalgia Pain

Recognizing that pain has both bad and good (really ) roles in life Seeing how fibromyalgia pain is different from non-fibromyalgia pain Understanding that not all pain can be eliminated nor should it be Discovering what pain management is and how it can help Keeping a pain symptom diary M ain is bad. But pain is also good. And yes, these seemingly contradictory * statements are both true. I know that the idea of pain as a useful thing is very hard to wrap your mind around when you're suffering from frequent and severe pain. And yet, gaining an understanding of both the pros and the cons of pain is important. Why Because knowledge about your pain is one giant step toward mastery over it. And wouldn't you like to be more in charge of your fibromyalgia pain The main problem with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is that your pain is out of control, like the proverbial headless chicken. Another problem with fibromyalgia is that chronic and sustained pain, such as the kind that many people...

Regarding the Different Kind of Pain Thats Fibromyalgia

Based on my research and the research of others, I can tell you that the pain that comes with fibromyalgia has three primary aspects. Very basically, people with fibromyalgia feel pain 1 Faster than others do FMS sufferers have a lowered pain threshold, meaning that, for example, if someone stuck a pin in you and another one in Susan (who doesn't have fibromyalgia), you'd probably yell before she would. (Read Chapter 3 for possible causes of this heightened pain.) 1 Worse than others do When you have fibromyalgia, you feel the pain more strongly. In fact, some light touch that wouldn't bother Susan at all may really aggravate you. Some people with fibromyalgia say that when they're feeling bad, even something as normally benign as a cat rubbing up against them actually hurts. 1 For a longer time period than others do The pain keeps going and going and going, like the Energizer Bunny of pain. Suppose that Susan was pricked with a pin 20 minutes ago, and she's already forgotten about it...

Finding Out Whether You Have Fibromyalgia

f you think that you're alone with your fibromyalgia, well, think again About 6 million people in the United States (mostly women, but also some men) and millions more worldwide know exactly what you're going through Who are these people I'm glad you asked that question because that's the subject of Chapter 5, where I describe patterns found among people most likely to suffer from fibromyalgia. Part II is about discovering whether you have fibromyalgia, and part of that process is ruling out medical problems that may be impostors for your real problem of fibromyalgia. These conditions include chronic fatigue syndrome, myofascial pain syndrome, thyroid disease, forms of arthritis, and a few other illnesses that may surprise you, such as Lyme disease, lupus, and Raynaud's phenomenon (all discussed in Chapter 6). Then I move into diagnosing fibromyalgia. A good doctor is crucial to diagnosing and treating fibromyalgia, and I discuss the important role that doctors play in Chapter 7. I...

Who Gets Picked to Have Fibromyalgia

Understanding why women are most afflicted Analyzing the impact of age and other factors Considering fibromyalgia in men JtyM aybe you're a woman who has fibromyalgia. In addition to you, your sister has it, your daughter has it, and you think that your mother probably has it as well, although she hasn't been diagnosed yet. All the key women in your family seem to have fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS). Not only that, but your brother who served in the Gulf Wars or in Afghanistan is also experiencing some symptoms that sound an awful lot like the ones you and your female relatives all share widespread pain, fatigue, sleep difficulties, and other shared symptoms. Almost anyone can develop fibromyalgia. But there are general patterns among the people who are the most likely to be diagnosed with FMS for example, women are much more frequently found to have fibromyalgia than are men (although men can and do have fibromyalgia, and there are indications that men may have FMS more often than...

Looking at the Numbers Who Has Fibromyalgia

About 6 million people in the United States and millions more worldwide have fibromyalgia, and most studies indicate that the overwhelming majority of people who are diagnosed with FMS (80 percent to 90 percent) are adult women roughly of childbearing age (about 20 to 45 years old), although some men and some children and adolescents also suffer from and are diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Many women diagnosed with fibromyalgia are white women, although women of any race may develop fibromyalgia. There are several possibilities to consider here. These numbers may exist simply because they're valid, and because most of the people who actually do have fibromyalgia really are young and middle-aged Caucasian females. On the other hand, many physicians may not be looking for FMS in children or teenagers, just as they may not be looking for it in males, in women under age 20 or over age 45, in nonwhite women, and so forth. Simply put, if FMS isn't in the doctor's constellation of...

Wondering Why Women Suffer More than Men from Fibromyalgia

Some experts believe that women's higher level of pain sensitivity may well be what causes females to become much more at risk for developing fibromyalgia than men. Or, as the authors of Muscle Pain Understanding Its Nature, Diagnosis, and Treatment put it, The greater sensitivity of women to painful stimuli may help to explain why there are approximately seven times as many women as men with fibromyalgia. They also added, It comes as a surprise to many male practitioners that women frequently experience more pain that do men in response to the same stimulus. It's not that doctors don't appreciate the pain that many women suffer from. Instead, the reality is that many physicians, along with most people in the general public, haven't learned yet about studies indicating a greater pain sensitivity among women. But medical school professors like me are working hard to find out why some women actually hurt more than some men do. And until more studies are performed to determine gender...

Working with a Good Fibromyalgia Doc You Need a True Believer

Talking fibromyalgia with your primary-care doctor Analyzing specialists who treat fibromyalgia Finding a good specialist or a new primary-care doctor inda saw an internist, a family practitioner, and two rheumatologists before she was finally diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Sam says that he saw five different doctors. He's forgotten what all their specialties were, but it wasn't until he saw a pain-management expert that he was finally diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Amy was lucky compared to most people who are ultimately diagnosed with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) She hit the jackpot on her second try and was diagnosed with fibromyalgia about eight months after the first symptoms hit her hard. Linda, Sam, and Amy all really needed a good doctor, but connecting with one took considerable time. In fact, some people with fibromyalgia are probably never diagnosed or are misdiagnosed for years. Why does this happen One reason is that a lot of doctors still don't understand fibromyalgia, while...

Identifying the Tender Points of Fibromyalgia

Another very important part of the diagnosis of fibromyalgia, after ruling out other medical problems that you may have had, is for physicians to consider whether or not you have tender points. In fact, the existence of tender points is one of the hallmark features that help doctors to diagnose fibromyalgia. Tender points, a key diagnostic feature of fibromyalgia, are specific areas of the body that are very painful when gently probed. (Tender points aren't the same as trigger points, also covered in Chapter 6, which are lumpy or ropey muscular knots or inflammations.) With tender points, the patient feels pain when the area is touched, but the doctor himself can't feel any apparent abnormalities, nor can he detect the presence of inflammation or disease. When the problem is fibromyalgia, the doctor typically sees nothing unusual about the body except for the patient's reaction typically, wincing or cringing. Some patients find out about their tender points for the first time during...

Warming Up to Cold Remedies for Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is very different from the common cold, unless you want to factor in the generalized aches and pains of a severe flu into your cold equation. (Many people say that fibromyalgia feels like a semipermanent case of the flu to them, with periodic breaks of feeling a little better.)

Relaxing Your Fibromyalgia Muscle Relaxants

Many people with fibromyalgia complain of muscle aches and pains, so many physicians prescribe muscle relaxants. These drugs do more than just what they sound like They soothe your overtensed muscles and reduce your pain but they often do more than that, such as improve sleep and decrease depression.

Wetting Down Your Fibromyalgia Symptoms

Water can often improve your symptoms from fibromyalgia. Hydrotherapy, or using water exercises in a pool as a form of therapy, is an effective means to relieve fibromyalgia pain. It also often helps considerably in improving your other symptoms such as a lack of sleep. A study of 50 FMS patients reported in Sleep Medicine in 2006 placed patients in two groups, one receiving hydrotherapy and the other receiving conventional physical therapy. The hydrotherapy subjects did warm-ups, stretching, aerobic exercises, and relaxation. Their warm-ups included walking forward, backward, and sideways in the pool. All the patients in the hydrotherapy group increased their total sleep time by at least an hour, a significant improvement compared to the physical-therapy group. Because both water and warmth can make you feel better, why not soak in a hot tub or spa This choice can be a questionable one for people with fibromyalgia because the water is often uncomfortably hot (although it should never...

Fighting Fibromyalgia Naturally with Herbs and Supplements

Can taking herbs or supplements make you feel better When it comes to fibromyalgia, most clinical studies don't show significant effects. Keep in mind, however, that all herbs and supplements can have adverse effects on your health by interacting with other medications you take or by worsening medical problems that you already have, so always consult with your doctor first before taking any herb or supplement. Don't forget that you can also combat FMS in more conventional ways. Be sure to read Chapter 9 on over-the-counter remedies that may help you resolve your fibromyalgia symptoms. Read Chapter 10 to find out about prescribed drugs that may help you.

Treatment Of Fibromyalgia And Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

My approach to treating children with fibromyalgia and CFS emphasizes rehabilitation and return to activities of daily living. If one views recovery from either of these conditions as one would view recovery from a major physical injury, the steps make good sense. The child, family, and physicians must recognize that there will not be a sudden, miraculous recovery. Progress is made through a rigorous program of slow and steadily increasing level of activities. It is important for every member of the team to acknowledge the reality of the initial problem and the psychological difficulty of dealing with it. Some children recover well with time, reassurance, medications, and support from their family and doctors. For more difficult cases, a hospital-based team approach is often beneficial. The team in a large children's rehabilitation center consists of nurses, physical and occupational therapists, social workers, psychologists, and pediatricians. Once the diagnosis of fibromyalgia or...

Exercising to Relieve Fibromyalgia Pain

Most people associate painkilling with a variety of over-the-counter or prescribed medications. But drugs aren't the only means to improving your fibromyalgia symptoms. Getting physical by starting a plan of exercising can work well, too, although exercising may seem like a sort of strange way to Some studies have indicated that people with fibromyalgia have a fitness level that's significantly lower than levels found among people who don't have fibromyalgia. (Not that amazing when you think about it people with FMS generally feel pretty bad, so are less likely to be physically fit.) Regular exercise may help people with FMS to close that gap, although not in a few days or even in a few weeks. Be patient and persistent, and you'll get there. 1 Create a basic fitness program that suits your needs. Realize also that if you were more athletic in the past, as many people with fibromyalgia report that they were, that was then. Make a plan that works for you now. 1 Set a realistic goal....

Connecting fibromyalgia and clinical depression

The majority of people with fibromyalgia suffer some level of chronic depression. Which came first fibromyalgia or depression isn't always clear. What's important is identifying depression if it does appear and working to control it. Physicians say depression is one of the most treatable emotional problems around. It doesn't get better on its own it requires work. Depression is more likely to occur with your fibromyalgia if you have a close family member with depression or you've been depressed in the past.

Helping Loved Ones Deal with Your Fibromyalgia

Knowing how your fibromyalgia can affect your friends and family Making things easier for other people Discussing fibromyalgia with your children and partner Getting ready for negative reactions Evaluating possible help from support groups iza says that her fibromyalgia is pretty hard on her family, in large part MB because they just never know what to expect from her on any given day. Will she have enough energy and a low enough pain level to go to the movies or on a picnic with them today Or to attend the school play that her daughter has an important role in Or is this going to be yet another really bad day, when it's better to leave Liza alone in her misery Her family doesn't know but then, neither does Liza herself. This chapter is about understanding and dealing with the effects of your fibromyalgia on the people you live with and others you care about. Of course, if the other person has fibromyalgia, as some of your family or friends may, that person may be able to understand...

Understanding How Fibromyalgia Can Affect Your Relationships

Most people can grasp the basic symptoms of fibromyalgia, and they can also understand how fibromyalgia affects you, individually, in your daily life. Of course, people aren't solely rational beings they have emotions, too. As a result, even if and when they fully grasp your problem logically, they may still have an emotional element to their thoughts about FMS that includes feelings of anger, resentment, sadness, confusion, and so on. These emotions are normal in everyday interactions with family members who have problems. Even if people don't like these feelings or they want to deny that they exist, the emotions are still there anyway. As a result, friends and loved ones who sometimes react negatively to the effects of your fibromyalgia on them aren't necessarily bad or stupid or mean instead, they're just human. But you can help them to cope with your fibromyalgia better. Here are some ways that your fibromyalgia may interfere with otherwise usually good interactions between you...

Parenting a Child or Adolescent with Fibromyalgia

Comparing children's fibromyalgia symptoms to those of adults Finding a good doctor Regarding treatments that work Coping with the emotions of your other children Handling fibromyalgia and school Dealing with other children 7ommy is a 13-year-old boy who's been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. He says that he's had aches and pains ever since he can remember, and his doctor had always told his concerned parents that Tommy was having growing pains. Tommy first found out that he might have fibromyalgia when his allergist noticed characteristic symptoms and recommended that Tommy see a rheumatologist. The rheumatologist examined Tommy, ran some tests, and diagnosed him with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS). Tommy says that having fibromyalgia can be pretty tough sometimes. The pain and fatigue are difficult to put up with, and other kids don't seem to understand. His teachers haven't been sympathetic either, and he thinks most of them have never heard the word fibromyalgia, or at least not in...

Treating a Child with Fibromyalgia

Children with fibromyalgia are treated much the same way as adults, although, of course, any medication dosages must be adjusted for the child's weight, and the doctor should also take into account any other drugs the child is taking. When thinking about what medications to prescribe or what over-the-counter drugs to recommend to parents, doctors should always consider potential problems that may occur with a person who's still growing and maturing. If the doctor doesn't mention it, ask her about potential side effects that can affect growing children. Drugs do have side effects, so no one should be nonchalant about prescribing medication for children. It can be very hard on parents when their children have medical problems that others are suspicious about. The child says that she's in pain or is too tired to get up, but your mother says that she's just lazy, and your uncle says that you're coddling her. Maybe you have some underlying doubts about whether your daughter is faking it,...

Ten Mistakes to Avoid When You Have Fibromyalgia

Obsessing about fibromyalgia as the cause of all your problems Assuming that somehow you (or others) caused your symptoms ebbie, age 40, said that when her fibromyalgia symptoms first started about three years ago, she ignored them. They got much worse as time passed, but she figured, hey, mind over matter, and she was a strong person who could tough it out and cope. Eventually, the symptoms became so severe that Debbie decided, That's it. I have to go see a doctor. After taking a careful medical history and doing a complete workup, the doctor diagnosed Debbie with severe fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS). He also asked her why on earth she had waited so long before seeking help. Debbie made the mistake of trying to ignore her chronic medical problem, rather than seeking a diagnosis and getting treatment and, as a result, she suffered unnecessarily. That's one common mistake made by many people with symptoms of fibromyalgia. But there are others as well, such as believing a physician who...

Believing a Doctor Who Says Fibromyalgia Is All in Your Head

Although most doctors now realize that fibromyalgia is a legitimate medical problem, some physicians continue to think that your symptoms are all in your head. If you keep complaining, such doctors may eventually send you to the nearest psychiatrist for treatment or may put you on mild antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications. In fact, you could also have depression or an anxiety disorder, and these medications could help you. (Read more about depression and anxiety disorders in Chapter 2.) But what you really need is a good diagnosis and a treatment plan for your underlying main problem. If it's fibromyalgia, then you need a diagnosis of FMS and a treatment plan for it. So if you find that your doctor isn't listening to you or tells you that your symptoms are imaginary and you're really just fine, find another physician. (Read Chapter 7 for some tips on identifying a good doctor.)

Conversations between a Counselor and a Client with Fibromyalgia

The purpose of this appendix is to depict conversations between a counselor and a patient with fibromyalgia (FM). The theme of the interaction is The 'New Normal' Thriving in the Here and Now Many people who are newly diagnosed with a chronic illness such as FM struggle with the forced changes in their lives. Fibromyalgia-related changes occur in many spheres of life

Ten Myths about Fibromyalgia

Mastering the myths and realities of fibromyalgia talk about some fibromyalgia myths in other chapters throughout this book. Some of these myths are that fibromyalgia is imaginary, and that people who think they've got it are either lazy or crazy. Another myth is that people who say that they have fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) are attention seekers or that they're seeking narcotics to get high. Of course, you've probably heard many more myths yourself. Plenty of myth-busting needs to be done when it comes to fibromyalgia. I believe that knowledge is power. After you understand what's most important to know about fibromyalgia from your own perspective, you may want to share this information with others and empower them, too. In this chapter, I cover ten key myths about fibromyalgia and explain why these myths aren't valid. You'll probably recognize at least some of them, and you may have an Aha reaction with all or most of them.

Looking at types of trauma that may cause fibromyalgia

What kinds of physical trauma may trigger fibromyalgia The syndrome can result from an injury due to a car crash, or it may stem from a serious accidental injury that happened at work. Even a major slip and fall causing an injury can be enough to produce the symptoms of fibromyalgia in some people. For other individuals, a medical crisis or surgery may trigger the development of FMS. A medical crisis is something like a severe infection, surgery, or diabetic crisis. No one knows how often severe traumas actually lead to the development of fibromyalgia, but probably no more than half (at most) of all cases of FMS stem from physical trauma. Rebecca, another person whose FMS apparently stemmed from a physical trauma, began experiencing fibromyalgia pain and symptoms after a very bad fall. She slipped and fell, breaking her leg, heel, and toes. In addition to the FMS symptoms, she developed very severe pain in her knee, which her doctors diagnosed as arthritis. Following the advice of her...

Handling fibromyalgia with family and friends

Even the most loving family members and friends usually don't really understand fibromyalgia if they don't have it themselves. And even if they do have FMS, too, their symptoms may be very different from what you experience, and the intensity of their symptoms may be better or worse than the way your symptoms grab hold of you. As nice as it would be if this were true, the reality is that fibromyalgia isn't a quickie one-time explanation. For people to understand what your problem is, especially the people with whom you share your home and your life, helping them get a clue about what you're going through and what you need takes a lot of work. You have to be candid, and you also need to know how to respond to the dumb things that people often say to people who have fibromyalgia. Read Chapter 18 for more information on how (and also how not) to explain fibromyalgia to your children of all ages, your partner, and other family members and friends, so that they can better understand what's...

People with Fibromyalgia Are Lazy or Crazy

One of the most common myths about fibromyalgia is that it's an escape clause for lazy people who don't feel like working or for hypochondriacs imagining that they're sick. The lazy or crazy myth is even believed by a few doctors, although most physicians know that it isn't true. Studies indicate that people with FMS are about as active as people who don't have fibromyalgia, except when they're in the middle of a major flare-up of pain and fatigue. Nor are people with fibromyalgia delusional (or crazy) about their symptoms. What they feel is real, and it's no figment of the imagination. It's true that many people with fibromyalgia do suffer from problems with depression or anxiety (see Chapter 2), or from stress (see Chapter 13). But none of these problems alone makes people develop FMS. Something else causes fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia and Men It Isnt Just a Woman Thing

Although the overwhelming majority of people who are diagnosed with fibromyalgia are women, it's definitely possible for a man to have FMS, too. In fact, considering the major difficulty that some women report that they've had to go through in getting a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, a man with the same medical problem may have an even harder time receiving an accurate diagnosis of his condition. One study, reported in the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology in 2006, looked at the incidence of fibromyalgia based on actual diagnoses made in medical claims from 1997 to 2002. The results were surprising The researchers found that although women were more likely to have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia than men, it was by a much lower ratio (by 1.64 times) than reported in many other studies. They also found that patients with FMS (male and female) were from two to seven times more likely than patients without fibromyalgia to also have other conditions, such as headaches, depression, anxiety,...

Working with Fibromyalgia Or Going on Disability

Deciding whether to tell your boss and co-workers about your fibromyalgia va hasn't told her boss about her fibromyalgia yet, and nobody else in the company knows about it so far, either. Eva's keeping her fibromyalgia a big secret, afraid that she won't be allowed to do her job if people at work know about her fibromyalgia. Eva often works alone, using a company-owned all-terrain vehicle to get to remote work sites where she does her field research. The vehicle has broken down a few times, and she's had to hike out of the wilderness to get help on more than one occasion. Eva's afraid that if the boss knew about her medical problems, he wouldn't allow her in the field alone and Eva may be right. Eva also performs extremely detailed work, and sometimes the fibro fog (difficulty concentrating) is so thick upon her that she has to double- and triple-check her work. So far, Eva's careful work has paid off, and she hasn't made any mistakes. But she fears that just the possibility that she...

Catching Fibromyalgia

Some experts have hypothesized that fibromyalgia may result from a bacterial or viral infection, which somehow triggers the FMS symptoms. In some cases, the infection may cause the immune system to go into hyperdrive. Research has borne out that infections apparently can trigger the development of fibromyalgia in some people. In a study reported in a 2001 issue of the Journal of Rheumatology, Danish researchers compared the presence of antibodies (chemicals the body created to kill invading bacteria or viruses) to enterovirus (a common viral infection) in 19 people with an acute onset of fibromyalgia to 20 subjects with a slow onset of FMS. They found that half the people with a sudden onset of FMS tested positive for the antibodies, but only 15 percent of the subjects with a slow onset of fibromyalgia had the antibodies in their systems. Based on these results, the researchers concluded that some patients with fibromyalgia may have different immune responses. Although this theory may...

Botox and fibromyalgia

Botox treatments for people with fibromyalgia are a relatively new form of therapy. But Botox use may explode in the next few years, particularly if both clinical research and patients' word of mouth indicate that Botox can provide the pain relief that patients so desperately want and need. In fact, it could really take off if the prices come down. Joseph Kandel, MD, a neurologist and the medical director of Neuroscience & Spine Associates in Naples, Florida, has treated numerous fibromyalgia patients with Botox treatments. Dr. Kandel says that Botox injections can be quite successful in treating the muscle changes, muscle spasms, and the general spasticity that many patients with fibromyalgia experience. Using Botox in pain management is a relatively new application. The use of Botox in fibromyalgia has not been sufficiently studied in clinical tests to determine whether it's a useful therapy. Doctors who do favor Botox say that it works for most, but not all, of their patients....

Understanding Possible Causes of Fibromyalgia

Catching fibromyalgia When it's triggered by an infection Analyzing environmental causes Pondering hormones or chemical imbalances Thinking about whether it's in the genes Speculating about a combination of causal factors isa was in a very bad car crash the air bag was released so explosively that powder from the air bag flew under her contact lenses and temporarily damaged her eyes. She recovered from the accident or thought she did but then Lisa began suffering from severe and widespread pain and fatigue. Her symptoms continued to baffle her doctors for several years before one of them finally diagnosed her with fibromyalgia. Jamie, on the other hand, has had no accidental injuries, and she really can't trace the onset of her fibromyalgia. In fact, she says that she doesn't know when she did not have the symptoms of fibromyalgia. As long as she can remember, she's suffered from pain, fatigue, and fibro fog (memory problems and confusion associated with fibromyalgia). Jamie has...

Ten Alternative Remedies That Help People with Fibromyalgia

Homeopathizing to improve your fibromyalgia symptoms Electrically stimulating pain to reduce it ost people with fibromyalgia actively seek relief from their insomnia, pain, fatigue, and brain fog. Often, that relief comes in the form of alternative remedies, such as supplements and herbs, homeopathic remedies, aromatherapy, mud baths, and other treatments. In fact, in one study of 289 patients with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), 98 percent said they had used some type of alternative therapy to cope with their symptoms in the past six months. Avoid any remedy sold by someone promising an instant cure. If there were an instant cure for fibromyalgia, its success wouldn't be trumpeted solely on some obscure Web site. Stay away from any remedy sold by people urging you not to tell your doctor you're taking it. Honest people won't give such advice. Instead, they'll offer studies and or information to share with your doctor. (For tips on avoiding alternative-remedy scams, read Chapter 12.)...

Sorting it out when you dont have fibromyalgia

Maybe you don't have fibromyalgia, but you live with someone who does, and you really want to understand the problem and to help as much as possible. But where do you begin Not to worry, I've provided a chapter just for you Chapter 19. This chapter describes techniques to assist you in helping your friend or loved one deal with FMS, and it also tells you some things you should not do or say because they drive most people with fibromyalgia wild. (People who do have fibromyalgia may enjoy reading Chapter 19, too, and sharing it with their friends and family members who don't have FMS.)

Beating Fibromyalgia with Botox Injections

One of the newer and somewhat controversial remedies that doctors sometimes use to treat people with fibromyalgia is the injection of Botox. Botox is Doctors who treat patients with Botox injections should have previous experience with using this therapy, particularly when using Botox with their patients who have fibromyalgia and who are very pain sensitive. Don't let someone practice on you In addition, the physician should also be someone whom you can fully trust with using this relatively new form of therapy on you.

Do You Have Fibromyalgia A Self Test

Only your physician can diagnose you with fibromyalgia and then treat you. Reading this book is a very good idea, but it still doesn't really cut it when it comes to making an actual diagnosis in your own individual case. What I can give you is a simple self-test to use to help you determine if you may have fibromyalgia syndrome. Grab a scratch piece of paper and jot down your answers to the following yes or no questions. Then, read my analysis at the end of the list. If you think that you may be a possible candidate for fibromyalgia, make an appointment with your physician and find out for sure. If you answered yes to as many as three or more of these questions, you may have fibromyalgia, although every person's case is different. That's why even if you only answered yes to one or two of the questions, but you think that you may have fibromyalgia, a consultation with your physician is a good idea. Now, here's some explanation of what may be happening to you, depending on your answers...

Dietary Recommendations for Fibromyalgia Patients

The following is a series of practical dietary recommendations for the fibromyalgia patient written by Katie Holton, MPH. It is no surprise that many people find it challenging these days to know how to eat healthy, much less how to lose weight. We are bombarded with conflicting information that we are left to wade through on our own. This article will give you some solid strategies that you can use no matter if your quest is to lose weight or just to improve your diet in the hopes of improving your fibromyalgia symptoms. 6. Keep a diary. Don't worry you don't have to count calories Simply keeping track of what you eat, when you eat it, and how you feel in the hours afterward can help you greatly in identifying patterns in your eating and reactions to certain foods. This is especially important for those with fibromyalgia, whether weight loss is a desired goal or not. This habit will help you be more aware of food-induced sensations (GI disturbance, fatigue, cravings, etc.) and will...

Explaining Fibromyalgia to Your Boss and CoWorkers Should

Telling your supervisor and co-workers why you're taking more sick days than anyone else and why you can't always perform at your peak level may seem to you (or to others giving you advice) to be the obvious choice. But deciding whether to tell your supervisor and others at work about your fibromyalgia can be a dilemma. Will your co-workers think that you're an invalid or very disabled Will they treat you differently Or will telling them make your work life much better, and solve a lot of the problems that you're facing In general, the reaction of people at work probably won't fall into the two extreme scenarios that you may envision. Telling your boss and co-workers about your fibromyalgia generally won't solve all your problems. And, on the other hand, it usually won't create cataclysmic new problems for you, either. Karen says that she recently told her boss about her fibromyalgia. She's an editor, and, sometimes, her work schedule must be sharply reduced because of her FMS...

Believing That All Your Problems Are Caused by Fibromyalgia

Some people with chronic diseases, including fibromyalgia, develop the wrong idea that all their medical problems (and sometimes even all their personal problems as well) are caused by their FMS. It's a one-stop shop for blaming everything that has gone wrong. The reality is that although fibromyalgia can cause many distressing symptoms for you, you should not attribute every bad thing that happens in your life to your fibromyalgia. Also, keep in mind that you could have another medical or psychological problem altogether, and it may not stem directly from fibromyalgia. For example, many people with FMS also suffer from arthritis, chronic headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, or other medical problems. (Read more about other medical problems in Chapter 2 and Chapter 6.) You need to get these other problems identified so that they can be treated, too.

Identifying Diseases Often Confused with Fibromyalgia

Understanding why fibromyalgia is often misdiagnosed Considering chronic fatigue syndrome Identifying myofascial pain syndrome Analyzing arthritis Thinking about thyroid disease Going through the other contenders X ou may wonder why you should care about other medical problems that can be confused with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) and why I've devoted a chapter to this topic. Self-empowerment is the reason. If you're diagnosed and treated for one of these other problems but you're not getting better, you may have fibromyalgia instead. In addition, many people with fibromyalgia suffer from one or more medical conditions described in this chapter. Yet, sometimes, doctors diagnose only your arthritis or only your thyroid disease, and not your fibromyalgia. The reverse is also possible. You may be diagnosed with only fibromyalgia when you could have thyroid disease, arthritis, or another medical problem. Awareness of these other health problems can help you be a more informed health...

Coping with Fibromyalgia at Home and on the

Unfortunately, fibromyalgia doesn't end at 6 p.m. or whenever you arrive home from work, nor does it go away when you wake up in the morning, struggling to get ready for another day at work or at home. When you have FMS, it's always there on the sidelines, waiting to jump on you yet again with its aggravating symptoms. You also need to keep in mind that other people you interact with on a daily basis (your partner, children, friends, co-workers, and other family members) are directly affected by your fibromyalgia, even if they don't have FMS themselves. Virtually anyone you interact with on a regular basis needs some understanding of what you need from them, whether you tell them that you have fibromyalgia or not. (Some people with fibromyalgia tell everyone that they have arthritis because they think that it sounds better.) Even as you become more aware of your symptoms and how best to resolve them, you still have to deal with the non-fibro world, comprised of your family members who...

Looking at Fibromyalgia Symptoms in Children and Teens

If you think that your child or adolescent may have fibromyalgia, what sort of symptoms should you be watching out for, and how is juvenile FMS different from, or the same as, adult fibromyalgia In many cases, fibromyalgia in children is pretty much the same as FMS in adults. But as in Tommy's case, many pediatricians may dismiss muscle aches and pains and tiredness, perceiving them as normal unspecific pains, or they may ignore other common fibromyalgia symptoms, such as trouble getting to sleep. In this section, I talk about the major symptoms seen in children with fibromyalgia, including some similar to and different from those seen in adults with FMS.

Feeling That Youre a Defective Person Because of Your Fibromyalgia

Some people with fibromyalgia are ashamed and embarrassed by their disorder. They may not think that they're bad people who somehow deserve the disorder (as discussed earlier in this chapter), but they still feel that they aren't as effective as the other people they know at work or in their families. The reality is that most people, at some time in their lives, have a serious and chronic medical problem. It may be arthritis, it may be diabetes, it may be chronic headaches, or it may be something else but nearly everyone at some point has a weak spot. In your case, your weak spot is fibromyalgia. FMS is nothing to be embarrassed about. It just is. As long as you're working to control your symptoms as best you can, then you're doing the right thing. So mentally pat yourself on the back You deserve it.

Essential Exercises for Fibromyalgia

The following is a series of essential exercise recommendations for the fibromyalgia patient written by co-author Janice H. Hoffman, Certified Clinical Exercise Specialist. The areas of the body most affected by FM include the abdomen and low back muscles, chest wall and upper back muscles, front and back thigh muscles, and lower leg calf muscles. Some of these areas need to be loosened with flexibility work and others require strengthening to help reduce unnecessary pain and fatigue in fibromyalgia.

Considering How Fibromyalgia Relates to Womens Ages

Young and middle-aged women may both suffer from fibromyalgia. Young women may find that they're experiencing the onset of their fibromyalgia symptoms, or they may have had FMS for years. (I'm defining young women as females who are ages 18 to about 39, after which they can be better defined as women who are in their middle years.) Young women also may be prone to trying hard to ignore the problem, concentrating instead on the demands of their jobs and their children, and trying to work despite their pain and fatigue. Women with fibromyalgia have an increased risk for metabolic syndrome Some studies have shown that women with fibromyalgia are more likely to be overweight or obese than other women and to have more medical problems. One study, reported in a 2007 issue of Metabolism Clinical and Experimental, found that among 109 women with FMS, they had a 5.6 times greater risk of having metabolic syndrome than women without FMS. Metabolic syndrome is a serious health condition that is...


Children with fibromyalgia complain of widespread pain and fatigue that interfere with normal activities and often cause them to miss many days of school. These children have often been to a variety of physicians without a definitive diagnosis. The generally accepted criteria for a diagnosis of fibromyalgia require widespread pain (above and below the waist and on both the right and left sides) and the presence of at least eleven of eighteen defined trigger points (areas that when stimulated give rise to pain in other parts of the body).

Looking At All Your Treatment Options

Here's where I talk about what to do about your fibromyalgia. In Chapter 9, I cover over-the-counter medications, such as aspirin, guaifenesin, and dex-tromethorphan, as well as different categories of medications, such as antihis-tamines and topical remedies applied to the skin. And I describe the full gamut of prescribed remedies for FMS in Chapter 10, including some new medications that you need to know about. I then talk about some hands-on therapy that can help you, such as icing or heating the painful spots or applying direct massage to your hurting areas, in Chapter 11.

Where to Go from Here

After you've read this book and started using my suggestions to begin your journey to less pain and better health, I hope that you'll experience the considerable improvement that many others have felt. In particular, I hope you maintain your personal commitment to managing your own health. I also hope that you'll be well armored against attacks from people out there who somehow still (and wrongly ) think that fibromyalgia is fake. Fibromyalgia is a real medical problem it's not something that's in your head. But it's also a real medical problem that you can successfully control.

Dumping Your Doubts about Whether FMS Is Real

Many people spend months or years questioning their fibromyalgia symptoms, sometimes wondering if they're imagining how bad the symptoms are. After all, if you feel terrible one day and then significantly better or almost normal the next day, you may start to think that maybe you were exaggerating the pain and fatigue of the previous day. generally a good thing ) As a result, people experiencing the ups and downs of pain and other symptoms that accompany fibromyalgia worry sometimes that perhaps the problem isn't that big of a deal and could even be all in their heads. Consequently, they may try to ignore the problem and hope that it'll go far, far away preferably today. But if you have fibromyalgia (and I recommend that you take my self-test later in this chapter to see whether you could be a possible candidate), simply ignoring the problem doesn't work. The sooner you acknowledge that fibromyalgia is a real and long-term problem, the sooner you can work toward reclaiming your life....

Sizing up the symptoms

Many people with fibromyalgia report that the following statements are true about their fibromyalgia symptoms. In fact, most people with fibromyalgia say that they have at least several, if not all, of these symptoms (which I cover in much more detail in Chapter 2) Many people with FMS have other pain-based medical problems as well, which I also cover in more depth in Chapter 2. Some examples of the array of medical conditions that people with fibromyalgia may experience, on top of the fibromyalgia that they already have (as if FMS isn't enough), include

Looking at Related Medical Problems

Sometimes, people strongly suspect (or are sure) that they have fibromyalgia. Instead, however, they may have arthritis, Lyme disease, lupus, thyroid dysfunction, Raynaud's phenomenon, or a variety of other common and not-so-common medical problems. And sometimes people have both fibromyalgia and other serious medical problems. Having fibromyalgia doesn't exempt you from getting sick with other illnesses (even though it seems like it would be only fair that it should). For example, suppose that one of your primary symptoms is extreme fatigue, possibly to the point of total exhaustion even though you haven't been doing anything more strenuous than using the remote control to change channels. This action may use up one calorie or less, but you feel like you've climbed Mount Everest. Maybe your problem is fibromyalgia, but maybe not. Extreme tiredness is one of the possible symptoms of many medical problems, including hypothyroidism, anemia, chronic fatigue syndrome, Lyme disease,...

Suffering from muscle stiffness especially in the morning

Many people with fibromyalgia say that the severe muscle stiffness and achi-ness is the worst in the morning. You may wake up and feel as though you've already participated in a major marathon or maybe as though gremlins beat you all night long. The stiffness may diminish as you move about, but usually it doesn't go away completely. People with arthritis also often experience muscle stiffness, so maybe in the past, doctors told you that your problem was arthritis. You may have both arthritis and fibromyalgia. Unfortunately, having fibromyalgia doesn't exempt you from other medical problems. If you suffer from chronic stiffness, turn to Chapter 15, which includes some good, easy stretching exercises to help you with this problem. Tammy, whose fibromyalgia was diagnosed several years ago, feels that one of the hardest parts is the severe morning stiffness. In fact, when she gets up in the morning or rises after sitting for a long period, her husband calls her contortions her...

Chronically feeling your pain

Another key aspect of fibromyalgia is that the pain is chronic, which means it's sticking around. Sometimes, it's better sometimes, it's worse. But it's almost always there in the background, seemingly waiting to ambush you. Time for the big annual dinner at work All of a sudden, your pain escalates to excruciatingly high levels. As with many chronic illnesses, stress often aggravates fibromyalgia. As a result, pain can flare up at the worst times. Are you suffering from oligoanalgesia This word refers to the undertreat-ment, ineffectual treatment, or total nontreatment of pain a problem that many people with fibromyalgia relate to. Yet both nontreatment and inadequate treatment of pain can seriously weaken your immune system and impair your quality of life. Turn to Chapter 4 for more information on pain and its role in your life.

Considering whether you have chronic fatigue syndrome

Some people who haven't been diagnosed with FMS yet are so extremely tired that they wonder if they really may have chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), a medical problem characterized by extreme exhaustion. (Read Chapter 6 for more information on CFS.) In general, if pain is the prevailing symptom and other symptoms of fibromyalgia are also present, it's likely to be fibromyalgia rather than chronic fatigue syndrome. But, of course, a physician must make this determination. Don't try to diagnose yourself. And by the way, it's also possible to have both CFS and fibromyalgia. Hopefully, though, that's not the case with you.

Being frequently inattentive

You probably have a hard time paying attention to what's going on around you when you're saddled with the mental malaise characteristic of fibromyalgia. Sure, you'd love to be actively involved, but it's just not possible now. It's not that you don't care about your friends or that you don't love your family members. You do. You just can't help being so inattentive on so many occasions. Normally, you stride along, accomplishing your daily tasks at a regular pace. But when you're hit with fibro fog, it's like slogging through knee-deep mental mire. (Be sure to read Chapter 18 on how to help your friends, family members, and others you care about understand fibromyalgia and what's going on with you.)

Weathering Your Reactions to Weather

Many people with fibromyalgia feel that they're very weather-sensitive. When a cold or warm front is coming on, before they hear it on the radio or see a TV report about the impending storm, they feel pain intensifying in their bodies. Major temperature changes may also cause flare-ups of fibromyalgia symptoms. Cold and wet weather seems to bother weather-sensitive fibromyalgia sufferers the most. People who have increased fibromyalgia pain with weather changes have reported that the worst months for them are November and December, and the best month is July. However, you shouldn't count on July as being a no-pain month, nor should you basically go into hibernation at the end of October. In fact, you may notice no differences in those months at all, because individual reactions to weather vary. Some anecdotal reports indicate that women may be more weather-sensitive than men are. Of course, how you feel really depends on your individual circumstances, the type of climate that you live...

Dealing with Common Sleep Disorders

Difficulty with sleeping is extremely common for people with fibromyalgia. In fact, if you don't have this problem and you've been diagnosed with FMS, you're unusual and you may not have fibromyalgia at all. (On the other hand, maybe whatever you're doing to combat your sleep disorder is working, and that's good.) Fibromyalgia pain often causes insomnia and other sleep disorders. In a vicious cycle, the lack of sleep usually makes you feel worse, which in turn, makes it even harder for you to sleep the next night. You can build up a serious sleep deficit. Solutions, however, are available. If you suffer from sleep problems, read Chapter 14 to find out more about how to improve your sleep cycles.

Gender Age and Genetics

The two greatest known risk factors for FM appear to be a family history of the disease and being female. In fact, two recent studies have revealed that FM in a first-degree female relative is the greatest predictor of developing FM. No one knows why more women are diagnosed with FM than men. Various studies based on prevalence data show that women are seven to nine times more likely to have fibromyalgia than men and that the female peak age for diagnosis is during the childbearing years. This has led researchers to suspect that either childbirth or menopause might be triggers for some women. However, there are FM is found in all age ranges from children to the frail elderly. Research funded by the National Institutes of Health has begun to find out more about FM in both of these age spans. One study found that one-quarter of adult FM patients report their symptoms started before fifteen years of age. Other studies have shown that the disorder's principal symptoms are the same for...

Experiencing Related Medical Problems

Many people with fibromyalgia also suffer from a variety of other pain-based medical problems that affect the digestive system, the joints, the nerves, and the mind, such as Experts don't know why these types of painful problems seem to go together, but they have plenty of theories to explain it. One theory is that the system that controls pain whether it's a neurochemical (brain chemical), hormone, or something else has gone awry. As a result, the afflicted person can suffer from a variety of painful conditions. (Read more about possible causes of fibromyalgia in Chapter 3.)

Dealing with irritable bowel syndrome

Having the pain, achiness, and mental confusion that can accompany fibromyalgia is bad enough. But many people with FMS also suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a colonic condition that, very simply put, causes the person to feel bloated and alternate between having constipation and diarrhea. (Another name for IBS is spastic colon.) As with fibromyalgia, experts disagree on what actually causes IBS, although most concur that stress makes it worse. Most experts also agree that certain types of foods can aggravate IBS. Interestingly, some of the same foods that can cause a flare-up of fibromyalgia can also worsen IBS, such as citrus fruits, chocolate, and alcohol, to name the leading culprits. How is IBS treated The doctor will usually urge you to increase your intake of vegetables and cut back on (or eliminate) alcohol and chocolate. Medication can help, and sometimes the same drugs that help a person with fibromyalgia can also alleviate some IBS symptoms. For example, a low...

Dealing with depression

If you have fibromyalgia, you're at increased risk for depression. Depression is a chronic and severely low mood state, in which a person feels chronically sad and has feelings of poor self-worth, appetite and sleep disturbances, and a loss of enjoyment in activities that used to be pleasurable. At worst, the depressed person considers or acts on suicidal thoughts. At best, the person feels sad and distressed. Thankfully, depression is highly treatable. jflNG. One problem that some people with fibromyalgia face is that doctors may see depression as the entire problem rather than one piece of the fibromyalgia symptoms puzzle. Thus, if the depression is treated, the mood disorder may lift, but the pain, fatigue, and other symptoms of the fibromyalgia may continue on, unabated and unrelenting. If you feel as though you're being shuttled off to a shrink when you urgently need help for your pain, maybe you're right. Speak up for yourself.

Down But Not Out Physical Trauma

A physical trauma may be severe enough for some people to ultimately develop FMS. In addition to an accidental injury, some researchers have argued that the onset of fibromyalgia can be attributed to physical or sexual abuse that occurred in childhood or in adulthood. Unfortunately, some people are abused both in childhood and in adulthood, increasing their risk for a variety of health problems. In these cases of fibromyalgia, the afflicted people were basically healthy before the traumatic injuries occurred, and they had no or few symptoms of fibromyalgia. However, at some point after the accidental injury or physical or sexual abuse, fibromyalgia moved in and seemed to make a permanent home for itself in their bodies.

Exploring Other Theories

Other theories also try to explain why fibromyalgia strikes some people and not others. For example, maybe it's in the genes, and you inherit this propensity from your parents. Or FMS may result from too much or too little exercising. Fibromyalgia may also be caused by a structural defect at the cellular level. I explore all these possibilities in the following sections. Linking genetics and fibromyalgia Can something in your genes cause fibromyalgia Can you really inherit the risk for developing fibromyalgia if other people in your family are diagnosed with the syndrome Based on the reports of most FMS sufferers, fibromyalgia seems to run in families. It's also true that almost all chronic medical problems have a genetic basis. Today, many doctors believe that numerous people may have a genetic predisposition to a wide variety of different medical problems however, something in the environment (contracting a virus, being involved in a car crash, or facing other types of severe trauma...

Precipitating Events and the Possible Role of Central Sensitization

They exhibit a greater hemodynamic response (rapid heartbeat and breathing) to painful stimuli, such as routine injections, vaccinations, and other procedures. In the case of the chronic pain of fibromyalgia, it is the CNS inhibitory mechanisms that are thought to be faulty, so pain is both amplified inappropriately and is felt for an inordinate length of time. Other terms for this phenomenon are temporal summation and windup.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

I start with CFS because it's probably the condition most frequently confused with fibromyalgia. This confusion results partly from the fact that patients with chronic fatigue syndrome often share many of the same symptoms as people with fibromyalgia. Although the two syndromes have many points of intersection, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome are different illnesses. However, diagnosis can be difficult when the patient is burdened with symptoms of both fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome which happens all too often. According to the CDC, 30 percent to 70 percent of patients with CFS have FMS. In addition, many patients with CFS are prone to developing irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which means that they have varying degrees of belly pain with diarrhea or constipation. These problems are also common to people who have fibromyalgia, so physicians may have a hard time determining whether CFS or fibromyalgia is the appropriate diagnosis. How chronic fatigue syndrome...

Working with Your Primary Care Doctor

In many cases, your regular physician can readily diagnose and treat your fibromyalgia, and you won't need to see any other doctors to receive specialty knowledge or instructions. Over the last several years, most physicians have begun to realize and accept that FMS is a valid diagnosis (although some skeptical doctors and also some total nonbelievers are still out there). Sometimes, however, your primary-care doctor may need to look up a few things about fibromyalgia, and he may also want to consult with colleagues for their opinions. If so, that's understandable and okay. You may also need a referral to see a specialist, such as a rheumatologist or another type of physician who has more expertise in treating FMS than your primary-care doctor possesses. Ideally, your doctor already knows about fibromyalgia, is treating other patients who have FMS, and is seeing some improvements in them. I'll call this physician Dr. Wonderful. Dr. W. is also aware of the many other ailments that are...

Looking Elsewhere for a Doctor How to Know if Its Time

Doctor hasn't paid enough attention to your symptoms (or you) or has told you that all you need to do is lose weight, exercise, cheer up, or some other overly simplistic answer, you probably need to think about finding another doctor. These solutions could help you, but they rarely work alone. Instead, most people with fibromyalgia need medications and other treatments. ii Are your doctor's recommendations making you feel worse instead of better or about the same If the doctor prescribes medications or treatments that exacerbate your condition, you may actually end up feeling worse than you did before. For example, if the doctor recommends vigorous physical therapy and exercise, you need to tell her if you've tried this approach in the past and it has worsened your pain. People with FMS are very pain sensitive, so they need to exercise at a slower and less intense pace than others who don't have fibromyalgia. (Read more about exercise in Chapter 15.) Sometimes, sheer persistence may...

Finding a Good Specialist or a New Primary Care Doctor

If you decide that you want to consult with a specialist, where do you start in your search for a smart and knowledgeable doctor who can help you alleviate at least some of the pain and strain of fibromyalgia Here are some basic suggestions, which should help you find a new specialist. If you need to change your primary-care doctor, these guidelines may assist you, too. You've decided that you need to see a specialist for your fibromyalgia, but you have no idea whom you'd like to see, so you ask your primary physician to give you a referral. Your primary physician may have dealt personally with a particular specialist before, but don't assume so. Some physicians simply refer their patients to a specialist whom they've heard about through colleagues or to a specialist who happens to be in the same medical group. You may want to ask your doctor about this specialist and why he's referring you to this particular doctor. Many people with fibromyalgia have friends and relatives who also...

Interviewing Your Physician Candidate Whats Up

1 Is fibromyalgia a prevalent chronic-pain syndrome If you get a no or a convoluted and confusing response, this doctor probably isn't the right one for you. If the doctor says yes, that fibromyalgia is common, but she adds that she can't be sure that you have FMS, that's an okay and normal answer. The physician is right that she needs to be able to examine you, take a medical history, and rule out other diseases before coming up with a diagnosis. (Read more about this process in Chapter 8.) i Doctor, are you familiar with diagnosing and treating fibromyalgia patients If so, about how many patients with FMS have you treated If it's only one, then don't expect a lot of experience from this doctor. However, many docs are willing to learn about fibromyalgia, so if the doctor admits not knowing much but says he'll investigate further, he may be a keeper. However, if the doctor says that FMS isn't real, move on 1 Do your patients with fibromyalgia improve with treatment The answer in most...

Getting Physical Your Initial Exam and Diagnosis

Volunteering information when your doctor doesn't ask for it Identifying the tender points of fibromyalgia Understanding the necessity of touch in a diagnosis Testing as part of the diagnostic process any people with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) report that they've seen numerous doctors, and obtaining a diagnosis of their illness has taken a year or more. Knowledge is power, and some self-education on the basics of the diagnostic process can help you to help your doctor. Armed with this information, you may be able to shorten the time to reach your diagnosis and treatment.

Diving into Your Medical History What the Doctor Should Ask

If you have fibromyalgia or think that you may have it, and you've told the doctor about your diagnosis (or your suspicion that you may have fibromyal-gia), the doctor should also ask you questions that relate to FMS. Here are a few examples of FMS-type questions that the doctor may ask, although don't expect the doctor to follow my exact wording like a script Do you have trouble sleeping If so, about how many hours a night do you think that you're sleeping (Sleep problems are very common among people who have fibromyalgia.) In 1990, the American College of Rheumatology, a professional organization of thousands of rheumatologists, developed criteria to help doctors determine whether their patients had fibromyalgia. Many (but not all) doctors of all specialties, as well as general practitioners, use these guidelines to help them with their diagnoses. Very basically, these following criteria were offered to doctors

Volunteering Info if the Doc Doesnt Ask You about It

Don't wait until the end of your doctor's visit to tell your physician what's really bothering you. Oh, doctor, I just remembered, I have excruciating pain that goes from my neck to my back, and I also have been passing out a lot. I'm exaggerating for emphasis (fainting isn't a usual symptom of fibromyalgia), but, sometimes, patients really do hold off on revealing extremely important information until the doctor is ready to walk out the door. Don't make this

Touching is part of the process

Doctors need to touch their patients in most physical examinations, if only to check their basic reflexes. But touching the patient is even more important if a person may have fibromyalgia because physical pain is a key problem faced by most people with FMS. The doctor needs to see if it hurts when you're touched, as well as where it hurts, and how much it hurts.

Locating your tender points

The tender points that doctors use to help them diagnose fibromyalgia (as developed by the American College of Rheumatology) are primarily located on the upper torso, although a few can be found on other parts of the body, such as in the knees. Check out Figure 8-1 for a drawing of the locations of these tender points. All these tender points add up to a grand total of 18. a man, you flat out will not have menstrual problems. For possible fibromyalgia sufferers, the doctor considers the location of your pain discomfort to aid with the diagnosis. If you're suffering from painful cramps in your toes, you may have fibromyalgia but you may also have a vitamin deficiency or a problem with dehydration. Laboratory tests help the doctor rule out other medical problems and further narrow down the list to what is most likely. And according to the guidelines established by the American College of Rheumatology, to obtain an official diagnosis of fibromyalgia, you must feel pain during palpation...

Assigning a tender number to FMS

According to the American College of Rheumatology, a person should have some pain in at least 11 of the 18 tender points to be diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Some doctors follow this guideline, while others think that if you have nine or ten tender points (or even fewer) but you meet other criteria, you may have fibromyalgia. The presence of many tender points indicates a high probability that fibromyalgia exists if other medical problems have been ruled out and if you also exhibit other symptoms of FMS, such as severe fatigue, difficulty with insomnia, or other sleep problems. Whether the doctor is a stickler for a given number of tender points as a cutoff really depends on the physician. One problem with using tender points as mandatory diagnostic criteria is that fibromyalgia is a very changeable syndrome. As a result, most people who have fibromyalgia feel better on some days and worse on others. This inconsistency means that some people who really do have fibromyalgia may only...

Using ultrasound for diagnosis

Tissue nerve problems Is there inflammation With fibromyalgia, patients do not have any inflammation that's detectable in standard laboratory tests. If your ultrasound reveals inflammation or tissue damage, you have another medical problem rather than (or in addition to) fibromyalgia. If no inflammation or tissue damage is apparent from an ultrasound, most doctors will perform a neurological exam, which includes testing your reflexes and your responses to pressure and touch. It may also be important to test your muscle strength because some rare muscle diseases can mimic fibromyalgia.

Medicating the Problem Overthe Counter Drugs May Help

Regarding guaifenesin A cough medicine used by some for fibromyalgia symptoms Optimizing over-the-counter painkillers Considering antihistamines or cold remedies that may help Talking about topical remedies m guaifenesin (pronounced gway-fehn-ih-sin) is a cough medicine promoted by some patients and doctors as a treatment for fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS). Tina says that she feels so much better since she's started taking guaifenesin to treat her fibromyalgia. According to Tina, she still has plenty of back pain, fatigue, and other symptoms of fibromyalgia. But compared to how she felt before, Tina says that she's radically better now. Marcy, on the other hand, has been taking guaifenesin faithfully for two years and has yet to see any results. But Marcy figures that the positive effects should kick in anytime now, so she's continuing to take the drug. Tom took guaifenesin for a month, but didn't notice any improvement in his condition, so he gave up on it. Anecdotal recommendations...

Looking at some background info

Guaifenesin as a solution to fibromyalgia was the brainchild of Dr. Paul St. Armand, an endocrinologist from California. Dr. St. Armand believes that people with fibromyalgia build up caches of chemicals (phosphates) in their bodies, and these deposits cause pain and other symptoms characteristic of fibromyalgia. of these chemical deposits and that it will eventually make patients with fibromyalgia feel dramatically better. Some people are said to feel well more quickly than others supposedly, some patients may wait a year or longer before gaining noticeable benefits from taking the drug. Some doctors take a neutral stance about the use of guaifenesin, and others are more negative, saying that because the use of guaifenesin for FMS isn't backed up by clinical studies, it should never be used to treat fibromyalgia. Other physicians believe if the drug doesn't cause identifiable harm, it's okay for patients with FMS to try, as long as competent doctors follow the patients. Clinical...

Prescribing Health with Medications

Knocking out stiffness and pain with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs Using antidepressant drugs against fibromyalgia Waking up to what sleep remedies can do Considering other prescribed medicines Anticipating future medications atalie has had fibromyalgia for about ten years, and says that she absolutely could not get through a single day without her pain medication. Natalie honestly believes that she'd be suicidal from the pain by now if it weren't for her medications. The few times that Natalie has waited until the last minute to refill her prescriptions and had to go a day before she got her medicine (because the pharmacy had just run out of the drug), were not days that you'd want to be around her, she says. Is Natalie a drug addict, or maybe a hypochondriac No, she fits neither category. Natalie isn't a drug addict, because she's taking her medication to alleviate her pain and not to induce pleasure. Nor is Natalie a hypochondriac. Hypochondriacs misinterpret their...

Easing Pain with Painkillers

Most people with fibromyalgia need to take prescribed painkilling medications, at least some of the time, in order to cope with the widespread pain and stiffness symptoms that are so characteristic of FMS. Of course, some people with fibromyalgia may not need to take their painkilling medications every single day. Also, on some days, muscle relaxants, milder painkillers, or even over-the-counter analgesics (painkillers) may be sufficient to manage the pain for many people who have fibromyalgia.

Prescribing painkillers The dilemma

For some people with fibromyalgia, their pain is constant and severe, and it can only be made bearable by taking painkilling medications. Some people with fibromyalgia say that their doctors are reluctant about prescribing any painkilling medications, telling them to take regular Tylenol or ibuprofen if they have pain. Others say that as long as the drug isn't on the scheduled-drug list, their doctor will give it to them. Many people with fibromyalgia find it degrading to plead and beg with their doctors for painkillers. Even worse, if a doctor reluctantly provides a small number of painkillers, the contrast between the relatively pain-free existence and the return of the pain when the limited supply of pills is gone can be maddening. In my experience, the problem usually isn't a doctor who dispenses painkillers freely instead, the opposite is usually the problem Some doctors are resistant to prescribing painkilling medications. Why are doctors often reluctant to prescribe strong...

Lessening Pain with Lidoderm

A relatively new entry in the pharmaceutical arsenal against pain, Lidoderm (generic name lidocaine, 5 percent) is a transdermal skin patch that the patient applies directly to the painful area after removing the protective backing from the patch. Without its backing, the patch is very sticky and adheres to the skin. The drug soothes muscles and can provide major pain relief to many patients with fibromyalgia the drug's effects last for about 12 hours. Up to three patches can be used on the body at the same time. The patches are used 12 hours on, and then 12 hours off (no patches). The patch may cause skin irritation in some patients, but many patients respond very well.

Im not depressed Why do I need an antidepressant

Some patients with fibromyalgia may have a problem with depression. But, often, people with fibromyalgia are taking antidepressants not for depression but rather for their fibromyalgia. Research has demonstrated that low doses of some antidepressants, taken on a daily basis (or, rather, nightly because most doctors recommend the drugs be taken in the evening), can help block the pain of fibromyalgia or other chronic pain. Sometimes, doctors prescribe two antidepressants at the same time for their patients with fibromyalgia, hoping they'll gain increased relief. For example, in one clinical study, fibromyalgia patients were given both Elavil (25 mg) and Prozac (20 mg). The result A significant number of patients actually received twice the pain relief with this combination than they gained with either drug by itself. Although you may intuitively think that taking two drugs would logically give you about twice the relief as you'd receive from taking one medication, in actuality, that...

Assessing whether sleep medication is needed

The most obvious benefit of a sleep remedy is that it induces or at least helps you to attain some much-needed sleep. If you're fully rested and your body has had a chance to release hormones needed by a healthy body, such as growth hormone (released during deep sleep) and others, your fibromyalgia symptoms will likely improve as well.

Pondering Future Remedies

Because so many people suffer from the symptoms of fibromyalgia, pharmaceutical companies are working very hard to develop medications that are specifically effective for people with fibromyalgia. As a result, new and better treatments should be available within the next few years or even sooner. So hang on, if you're dissatisfied with the medications that are available now. Help is on its way. As of this writing, research appears to be surging ahead in such areas as growth hormones or dopamine receptor agonists. Some researchers have already shown that growth hormone or dopamine receptor agonists have improved the symptoms of some patients with fibromyalgia further study is needed, however. The key problem with growth hormone is that this particular therapy is very expensive, and until the price comes down further, it can't be widely used as a therapy for fibromyalgia patients. I really can't say exactly when drugs that are currently in the pipeline (that is, in clinical testing) as...

Heating Up the Problem Heat Therapy

Carole, who's had fibromyalgia for ten years, says that two things hot baths and massage therapy have really given her significant relief from her fibromyalgia symptoms. Be sure that you don't overheat the painful areas of your body. No pain, no gain is an old saying that absolutely does not apply to fibromyalgia. The heat may be mildly discomforting, at most, but it shouldn't be painfully burning. Second- or third-degree burns won't help your condition. But even if the item that you're using doesn't get to that level of heat, excessive heat can result in a serious flare-up in your fibromyalgia symptoms and your pain. Avoid it.

Rubbing Out the Problem Massage Therapy

If no one's available to provide you with a massage, you may choose to use a mechanical massager. Be sure to set such devices to the low or medium setting to start with. The high cycle may be far too vigorous for a person with fibromyalgia. And read the instructions on the device before you apply it to your body.

Realizing that its not a cure but it can be helpful

A gentle to medium massage treatment can't cure you of your fibromyalgia, but it may ease your pain for a few hours or even a day or so. When it works, massage can stimulate the production of endorphins, natural pain chemicals that travel to the hurting parts of your body and provide relief somewhat like soldiers in the cavalry, rushing in to help the besieged troops at the fort. But these endorphins only stay in the bloodstream for so long. Massage therapy clearly can be very useful for some people who have fibromyalgia, but it's a therapy that needs to be repeated on a regular basis in order to continue the benefit. Massage may be exactly what you need to get you through these challenging periods when the pain is strong but you need to keep going. However, the improvement for the fibromyalgia subjects who felt better from massage was only a temporary reprieve, and six months after the treatments ended, most of the pain had returned again. Diana is a long-term fibromyalgia sufferer,...

An Electrifying Solution Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is a machine-based therapy that's designed to deliver low-level electrical impulses to body areas that are in pain or spasm. The goal is to stimulate the nerve tissue to naturally release pain-fighting body chemicals. This treatment is used to help people with fibromyalgia, arthritis, and other medical conditions.

Considering Chiropractors

Many people with arthritis or fibromyalgia find small to considerable relief at the hands of a chiropractor, a practitioner who manipulates the bones and muscle tissues in an effort to relieve pain and stiffness. A chiropractor is not a medical doctor instead, a chiropractor is a licensed professional who's received specialized training regarding the bones and nervous system. After your diagnosis of FMS has been made by the chiropractor, or she has been informed by you or your doctor that you have fibromyalgia, you should receive a plan of treatment. Massage therapy is often an integral part of the treatment plan of most chiropractors for treating many different medical problems. Tell the chiropractor about any other medical problems that you may have in addition to your fibromyalgia, such as arthritis, heart disease, osteoporosis, and so forth. This information is important to help tailor your treatment, guiding the chiropractor to go more easily in areas of the body that may be...

Considering Alternative Remedies and Treatments

Illions of people rely on alternative remedies and treatments to help them with their chronic ailments, and patients with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) are even more frequent users of alternative therapies. A study of 13,792 patients with fibromyalgia (reported in a 2007 issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism) revealed that 56 percent had used some form of alternative medicine, compared to 21 percent of the 41,427 people in the control group who didn't have fibromyalgia. So, if you've tried one or more forms of alternative medicine to ease your symptoms of FMS, you're definitely not alone Whether alternative therapies come in the form of herbs and supplements, acupuncture, Botox injections, or another alternative solution, many people with fibromyalgia fervently hope that they'll work. Sometimes, people find that these remedies work very well or at least seem to.

Pinning Down a Solution Acupuncture

Some people with fibromyalgia announce feeling considerable relief after undergoing acupuncture, the careful insertion of special pins at specific points of the body by a trained practitioner. Others, however, have said that acupuncture had no effect on them, and some have reported that the experience made them feel worse. Several key clinical studies on acupuncture have shown that acupuncture is effective against the pain of fibromyalgia. For example, in a study on fibromyalgia patients reported in 2006 in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, the researchers placed 25 of the patients in the acupuncture group and 25 in the control group receiving simulated acupuncture. The researchers found that the symptoms of fatigue, anxiety, and pain were significantly reduced in the acupuncture group compared to the control group. It's worth noting that some studies find that patients don't obtain significant relief from their FMS symptoms with acupuncture.

Understanding what happens

Some studies of the results of biofeedback have indicated that patients with fibromyalgia have decreased their pain, fatigue, and morning stiffness and also improved their sleep. Perhaps one reason why biofeedback may work for people with fibromyalgia is that studies of people with FMS have indicated that they have temperature differences as well as differences in the blood flow, compared to people who don't have fibromyalgia. If the problem is body responses, and you can discover how to change your physical responses, you may also be able to master your fibromyalgia symptoms. This ability to control your physical responses doesn't mean that you can cure yourself of all pain and fatigue forever. But if biofeedback works for you, it may give you an edge, and a way to improve how you feel.

Sweet Dreams Combating Sleep Disorders

Understanding sleep and its importance for people with fibromyalgia Knowing about sleep stages and their relevance to fibromyalgia syndrome Discovering common sleep disorders for those with fibromyalgia Considering lifestyle changes that enhance sleep Treating sleep disorders with medications and alternative remedies m uanita's fibromyalgia pain occurs every day, and it's very severe so bad that she can't work most days and is considering filing for disability benefits. Bob's pain is intermittent some days are overwhelming, and other days he can pretty much ignore the pain and the fatigue. Darlene feels achy and exhausted nearly every day, but she somehow manages to take care of the kids and work part-time. All three have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), although the severity of their disease and how they cope with it are very different for each person. They all share one common denominator, though Juanita, Bob, and Darlene have serious sleep problems, each averaging...

Understanding the Importance of Sleep Stages

Experience all the different stages of sleep, ranging from light sleep to deep sleep. Some researchers believe that people with fibromyalgia don't spend enough time in the very deep sleep levels. A lack of quality deep sleep may inhibit an adequate production of important protective hormones that are normally made while we sleep, such as growth hormones and prolactin. Prolactin is the same hormone that's released by nursing mothers (although sleep releases much less of it), but scientists aren't sure exactly what function prolactin fulfills in nonlactating people. In 2001, researchers reported on their study of the nighttime hormone levels of women with and without fibromyalgia in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. They found that women with fibromyalgia (who agreed to take no medication during the study) had significantly lower levels of both nocturnal growth hormone and prolactin. This result provides even more proof that fibromyalgia is real It also serves as...

Too many wakeup calls Youre constantly waking

I don't know which point of view is right about the significance of dreaming, but I do know that having dreams is important. In experiments in which people were deprived of dreaming (by being wakened when a REM stage was detected), the subjects became very irritable and angry. People with fibromyalgia, like everyone else, need to dream.