Fibromyalgia

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Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a complex condition that is often misunderstood and misdiagnosed. People with fibromyalgia often report that they feel like no one takes their symptoms seriously, which can be incredibly frustrating and disheartening.

Causes of Fibromyalgia

The exact cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, but it is believed to involve a variety of genetic and environmental factors. Some of the potential causes and contributing factors I have seen be key to helping recover include:

  1. Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV): Some researchers believe that EBV, a common herpesvirus, may be a trigger for fibromyalgia.
  2. Magnesium Deficiency: Low levels of magnesium have been found in some people with fibromyalgia, and supplementing with magnesium has been shown to improve symptoms in some cases.
  3. Small Fiber Neuropathy: This is a condition that affects the small fibers of the peripheral nervous system, and has been found to be more common in people with fibromyalgia.
  4. Gut Microbiome: There is growing evidence that the gut microbiome, the collection of microorganisms living in the gastrointestinal tract, may play a role in fibromyalgia. Some people with fibromyalgia have been found to have an altered gut microbiome.
  5. Mitochondrial Dysfunction: Mitochondria are the energy-producing structures in cells. There is some evidence that mitochondrial dysfunction may be involved in fibromyalgia.
  6. Mercury Toxicity: Exposure to mercury and other heavy metals has been associated with fibromyalgia symptoms in some people.
  7. Mould Exposure: Exposure to mould and mycotoxins has been linked to fibromyalgia in some cases.
  8. Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS): EDS is a group of connective tissue disorders that can cause hypermobility (excessive joint movement) and skin that is easily bruised. There is a higher prevalence of fibromyalgia among people with EDS.
Assessment

Assessment for fibromyalgia involves a thorough examination by a healthcare professional. There is no specific test for fibromyalgia, but the assessment usually involves:

  1. Pain Assessment: A healthcare professional may assess the pain by applying gentle pressure to specific “tender points” on your body.
  2. Evaluation of Other Symptoms: Other symptoms such as fatigue, sleep disturbances, and cognitive symptoms will also be assessed.
  3. Exclusion of Other Conditions: Other conditions with similar symptoms may need to be ruled out. This may involve blood tests, X-rays, or other diagnostic tests.
Managing Fibromyalgia

Managing fibromyalgia requires a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach.

  1. Functional Medicine: If the gut microbiome, energy production, mercury toxicity, mould or other factors are suspected to be contributing to fibromyalgia symptoms, a functional medicine doctor can provide a thorough assessment and a personally tailored plan.
  2. Psychotherapy or Other Psychological Support: The cognitive symptoms of fibromyalgia can be very significant, and speaking to someone specialised in managing these symptoms can be incredibly beneficial.
 

I can provide:

    1. a. Education: Using my 5 pillars
      • Understanding your pain, its causes, and how you can modify it and understanding the recovery process.
      • Understanding ergonomics at work and home, and optimising rest and recovery.
      • Understanding nutrition, hydration, and supplementation.
      • Understanding the influence of psychology & stress management.
      • Understanding technology accelerators, biohacking, and the environment.
    2. b. Hands-On Treatment: To manage symptoms and provide relief as needed.
    3. c. Home Exercise Programme: To improve strength and endurance as part of gradually returning to all your normal activities.
Case Study

SJ was referred to me by her rheumatologist for her help with her neck, lower back pain, hip pain, TMJ pain and overall muscular aches. She had very severe irritable bowel syndrome and required incontinence pads due to having very loose stools and lacking control. She had suicidal thoughts and was on antidepressants. She would struggle to get out of bed and require bed rest for several days at a time frequently and had even been hospitalised.

Initially I took SJ through the 5 Pillars and we started her on a very restrictive rotation of just two foods on day 1, and a different two foods on day 2. She alternated between these and after a week we could begin to expand without her getting symptoms. Additionally, hands on physiotherapy techniques provided some relief from pain and she began to do some gentle exercise instead of resting.

She regained control of her bowels and began to improve. Whilst there was initial improvement with a drop in her pain disability score of 115/150 down to 80/150 within 3 months it was a year before she was down to 40/150. She managed to come off her antidepressants and can largely eat and drink what she likes. There are still ups and downs, and many other techniques, tools and therapies used but she has managed to return to her normal life.

Conclusion

Fibromyalgia is a complex and poorly understood condition with a variety of potential causes and contributing factors. A comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach is essential for effectively managing the condition and improving quality of life. It is crucial to address not only the physical symptoms but also the psychological and lifestyle factors that may contribute to the condition. Consult a healthcare professional for a comprehensive assessment and personalised management plan.

Success stories from our clients