Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Fibromyalgia: New Insights Into a Misunderstood Ailment

The following report appeared at ImmuneSupport.com Jan 1. It says fibromyalgia (FMS) is closely related to chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), and that the body's endocrine system could hold the clue to treatment. Note to self to find a report that explains the difference beetween CFS and FMS. Here is the report:

Fibromyalgia was once dismissed by many traditional medical practitioners as a phantom illness. But that view is changing rapidly. Not only is fibromyalgia accepted as a diagnosable illness, it is also a syndrome that researchers are finding more complicated as new information emerges.

As recently as a year ago, many physicians still associated some of fibromyalgia's symptoms with emotional problems, but that's no longer the case.

A simple description of fibromyalgia is that it is a chronic syndrome characterized by widespread muscle pain and fatigue.

For still unknown reasons, people with fibromyalgia have increased sensitivity to pain that occurs in areas called their "tender points." Common ones are the front of the knees, the elbows, the hip joints, the neck and spine. People may also experience sleep disturbances, morning stiffness, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety and other symptoms.

According to the American College of Rheumatology, fibromyalgia affects 3 million to 6 million Americans, 80 percent to 90 percent of whom are women. The condition is most often diagnosed during middle age, but at least one of its symptoms appears earlier in life.

But is there a psychological tie-in strong enough to differentiate fibromyalgia from other similar diseases and conditions? Apparently not.

"Fibromyalgia patients are such a diverse group of patients, they cannot all be the same," said Dr. Thorsten Giesecke, a University of Michigan research fellow.

Giesecke and his colleagues evaluated 97 fibromyalgia patients, including 85 women and 12 men. The patients underwent a two-day series of tests, answering questions about their coping strategies and personality traits -- particularly their emotional well-being. They were also tested for sensitivity to pressure and pain.

"It's generally been thought that fibromyalgia patients who have higher distress have higher pain sensitivities," Giesecke said.

In other words, it was believed that those with fibromyalgia who were prone to emotional difficulties such as depression and anxiety were more likely to experience greater physical pain.

But his study didn't bear that out. In fact, patients in one of the three groups in the study who had the highest pain levels had the lowest anxiety.

The term fibromyalgia comes from the Latin word for fibrous tissue (fibro) and the Greek ones for muscle (myo) and pain (algia). Tender points are specific locations on the body -- 18 points on the neck, shoulders, back, hips and upper and lower extremities -- where individuals with fibromyalgia feel pain in response to relatively slight pressure.

The U.S. government's National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases says fibromyalgia patients often experience combinations of many other chronic and frustrating symptoms, including:

sleep disturbances,
morning stiffness,
headaches,
irritable bowel syndrome,
painful menstrual periods,
numbness or tingling of the extremities,
restless leg syndrome,
temperature sensitivity,
cognitive and memory problems, sometimes referred to as "fibro fog."

Latest research indicates that fibromyalgia is the result of internal biochemical imbalances that cause physical symptoms such as pain, weakness and mental impairment. Because it is a syndrome -- a collection of signs and symptoms -- rather than a disease, fibromyalgia can't be diagnosed by an invariable set of specific symptoms or reproducible laboratory findings.

Even with the findings about relatively small psychological influence, practical experience seems to indicate that stress may play a role. Roger H. Murphree, a Birmingham, Ala., chiropractor who specializes in treating patients with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, said he has seen a link between stress and the intensity of fibromyalgia.

"Most of us live in a world of stress," Murphree said. "Something has to give, and it's usually sleep. Meanwhile, we subsist on junk food, caffeine, alcohol and prescription medications. Such a lifestyle isn't good for anyone. But for an unlucky few, the toll is severe."

Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, whose practice in Annapolis, Md., led him to do research into fibromyalgia and the closely related chronic fatigue syndrome, concluded that the body's endocrine system could hold the clue to treatment. It's a matter of how the body's energy is marshaled, he said.

"Fibromyalgia is like the body blowing a fuse," he explained. "The hypothalamus serves as humans' internal fuse box. When the demands of living build up, stress increases and the hypothalamus shuts down. Because the circuit is overtaxed and the fuse is blown, the body simply can't generate enough energy."

"That causes muscles to cease functioning in a shortened position, resulting in pain all over the body and a general feeling of fatigue or weariness," Teitelbaum said.

Murphree's experience with hundreds of patients confirms Teitelbaum's analogy. Most, he said, are either "Type A" perfectionists or "Type B" caregivers.

"Type A fibromyalgia patients work and work and work until they burn out," said Murphree. "Type B patients give and give and give -- nurturing their spouses, children, family and friends -- until they break down. Anyone whose lifestyle includes very little downtime is at risk."

Teitelbaum recommends a four-pronged approach to repair the "blown fuse" and turn the body's current back on:

Restoration of sleep -- at a minimum, eight to nine hours every night, using appropriate medications, as needed;

Restoration of a normal hormone balance, including thyroid, adrenal and reproductive hormones;

Appropriate treatment for infections that may be present as a consequence of the body's depleted immune function;

Nutritional support, particularly with B complex vitamins, magnesium, zinc and malic acid.

Teitelbaum uses the acronym SHIN to summarize his treatment regimen. "S is for sleep, H for hormone balance, I for infection control, and N for nutrition," he explained. "The important thing is that all four should be implemented in concert with one another for maximum therapeutic effect."

More information:

Health experts recommend sleep, nutrition goals for sufferers.

The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (www.niams.nih.gov ) offers more information on fibromyalgia.

Copyright © 2005 ScoutNews LLC. All rights reserved.

3 Comments:

Blogger Carrie said...

It mimics my illness, which is caused my mast cell overload and degranulation. Mast cells being a base element of our immune systems tells me they are responsible for many of these disorders. They have already been implicated in research done for Scleroderma, which is considered a specific disease of arthritis in Canada. However, the arthritis society will not recognize mast cell disorders as arthritis related diseases.

This whole thing is frustrating, trying to find causes and correlating facts and symptoms.

January 09, 2005  
Blogger Ingrid said...

Hello Carrie, good to hear from you again, thanks. I've not read much about mast cells. Interesting to know they are a base element of our immune system. Is there a test for mast cell overload and degranulation (what is that?!). A friend of mine has pretty severe rheumatoid arthiritis and she is given tests that can measure the inflammation. Is there a treatment for mast cell overload? I would be interested to know more. Look forward to hearing from you when you feel up to it. Thanks for stopping by and saying hello. Sorry I've not been visiting my blogmates - I've been concentrating on Sudan Watch and posting at the Passion because of a peace deal that was agreed today but it doesn't include Darfur which makes it seem that everything is back to square one again.

I couldn't agree more about these illnesses being so frustrating - it's like we have to become experts in order to get a clue as to how to manage and keep hope that there is some relief around the corner. OK, we don't know a lot about what causes the hundreds of different cancers, but at least there are ways of diagnosing cancer and finding out where in the body it is in order to start treatments. With these illnesses there's not even any agreement on where they are in the body or which specialist consultant might be the best to help.

If anyone reading this knows the difference between ME and Fibromyalgia and even MS, please do share any snippets. Thanks.

January 09, 2005  
Blogger Hailey Harris said...

Here's helpful information for all fibromyalgia sufferers.

Fibromyalgia is a condition where you feel chronic pain in certain parts of your body; it is a muscular pain especially around the joints. There can also be centralized pain felt in the spinal chord, brain, neck shoulders etc. People with fibromyalgia generally complain of pain in the joints, but it actually is the muscles and the tendons around it that cause the pain, it can be excruciating sometimes and can be a continuous throbbing pain. People suffering from Fibromyalgia also show symptoms of depression, sleeplessness, irritable bowel syndrome, stress and many others, which are caused due to the pain.

Rid Fibromyalgia provides a simple process to helps you eliminate all your symptoms of fibromyalgia and enjoy living your life again. This will provides us the best and most effective solutions on how to rid ourselves from pain.

The Rid Fibromyalgia provides an eBook entitled “Heal the Body” that will teach you the best diet that will allow you to eat your way to wellness, it will also document which vitamins and supplements will target and reverse the illness, how to achieve pain relief through acupuncture, what exercises are safe and will work, and what type of medications may make you sicker, and what will work. This eBook takes a step by step approach in showing you how to rid yourself of the pain naturally so that you can take back your life.

We must know the symptoms of this illness. For us to know what would be the approach we will going to apply. Here's Signs and Symptoms of Fibromyalgia and steps to treat it naturally.

We must also be responsible and aware to the things to gain and cope up with this kind of illness. Eating nutritious food with regular exercise would be result to a better life. Here's Basic Tips in Coping Fibromyalgia.

If we say Fibromyalgia Diet, there is no specific recommended diet for fibromyalgia. But a healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals can certainly help in coping with the illness. Magnesium rich vegetables are recommended for patient's suffering from fibromyalgia. Here's some information for you to help in Fibromyalgia Diet.

We must also think that vitamins are important for Fibromyalgia sufferers. This will give us additional energy and strength to kept a healthy living. But of course, you must be aware that not all vitamins are effective or directly gives you a good result. Find the best vitamins that would easily give a good response if your taking it. The best thing is your healed and keep your body healthy as possible. Here's The Benefit of Vitamins for us to know why vitamins are important for fibromyalgia sufferers.

Also feel free to view this video Fibromyalgia Help. It really gives good information for those who have Fibromyalgia and encourage not to give up because in every pain your getting through has a good solution in the end.

Here's Rid Fibromyalgia, For free info and helpful articles on fighting fibromyalgia.

June 02, 2008  

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