This article is intended to reveal some truths about Fibromyalgia based on scientific study and my own Clinical experience, as well as, offer some real methods of relief that work.
With North America containing 10 Million people with the diagnosis, Fibromyalgia is a huge problem. You probably know someone who is suffering with these symptoms. If you are new to understanding these symptoms, there are a few hallmarks that Doctors use to diagnose Fibromyalgia.
The hallmarks are: Generally distributed Pain ( general sense of pain / discomfort / malaise ) , Chronic Fatigue ( can not get a good night’s sleep / wake up feeling not rested ), Cognitive Problems ( inability to concentrate / feeling as if in a fog ) , 18 “Tender Points” ( very sensitive points common to people with fibromyalgia ).
It is a syndrome where some, all, few, of these symptoms are present to people with these diagnosis. In fact, people with many other conditions can have these symptoms. Other common symptoms can be : headaches/ migraines, TMJ pain ( Jaw joint mis-tracking / teeth grinding ) , chest pain, cardiac arythmia, IBS ( Irritable bowel Syndrome – bowel inflammation – bloating/ discomfort ), food triggers, urinary problems ( frequent urination ) , pelvic pain , numbness-tingling, skin rashes – irritated/ itchy skin, chemical sensitivity ( sensitivities to household detergents), Neck/back pain, Etc. , can also have an existing diagnosis of Osteoarthritis.
Fibromyalgia, however, is different for each who suffers; however, it often acts like an Arthritis: the sufferer wakes up stiff and sore, as they get on with the day the muscles and joints loosen up. Feeling better only to tighten and stiffen again, initiating the vicious negative feedback pain cycle. The pain causes the sufferer to ‘crash’ – unable to move; overloaded from pain the nervous system needs rest.
Science knows that people with Fibromyalgia have very sensitive nerves. So that when slight pressure is applied to ‘normal’ people, as opposed to those with Fibromyalgia, those with Fibromyalgia feel pain earlier and more intensely. Science also sees correlations between cerebrospinal fluid stagnation and pain signals. Conditions similar to Fibromyalgia: Cancer, Autoimmune diseases, Neurological Disease, Lyme Disease, Epstein Bar Virus. People can develop Fibromyalgia after Car accidents, Infection, emotional trauma. Studies have been done to show there is a genetic predisposition.
So that is what Fibromyalgia is like; but, what is it?
As a Bodyworker I see tell-tale signs that Fibromyalgia is a result of metabolic acidosis, an inability of The Kidneys and Lymphatic system to remove acids and toxins from between the cells and blood stream. I see stress in Triple Warmer / Heart Constrictor Meridian Systems with people diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. This is indicative, on the physical level, that the Lymphatic System is working overtime cleaning toxins, debris, pathogens, and acids and other waste products. Also, the Triple Warmer meridian regulates water and nutrient absorption - energy our bodies get from processing food; if stressed we can get hot/cold flashes, slow/fast metabolism, Hyper- Hypo perfusion ( increases/decreased blood floe through organs etc..) and, dehydration even when we are drinking water! So, so far, there is no wonder about the fatigue caused with fibromyalgia. Our small intestines, as part of the Triple Warmer, take food and make energy. If the microflora of the small intestines are disrupted by long term acidosis, how can we absorb nutrients, make energy ? This is just one aspect. Most probably more meridian systems are involved, such as, Liver / Gall Bladder. All the toxins, acids and sugars have to be processed. The Liver is on it - but only for so long before the line up for processing is out the door and down the street. The Liver tries to sweat out Toxins through the skin - hence the irritated skin of Fibromyalgia sfferers. Also, the eyes and the Jaw joint are related to Liver in Traditional Chinese Medicine. The toxins and acids build up around joints, in the Myofascia, creating fibroids. So, people with fibromyalgia experience painful fibroids throughout muscles and connective tissues. In essence they are one big sensitive trigger point in a viscous cycle of pain.
What does this mean?
Well, like most conditions many factors must be present. It is common that Fibromyalgia sufferers had a traumatic event that set off a series of behaviours, emotions, and medical interventions. Whatever the initial stimulus, ALL Fibromyalgia sufferers have to eliminate acids and toxins from the cells. It is my belief that Fibromyalgia is a diminished ability to eliminate these acids and toxins, resulting in a kind of general Edema. A swelling occurring all-over, or, in certain areas, compartments, or, organs. This swelling increases the pressure in the connective tissue and thus makes Nociceptors ( Pain Nerve endings) fire with very little stimulus. As the body increases its activities throughout the day more inflammation is generated, which increases the pressure, which alters the nerves even more; making them even more sensitive, causing even more pain. Now in a Negative Feedback Cycle of pain, the Myofascia has trapped the acids toxins and is stuck feeling heavy, toxic and sore.
The over- all swelling also increases blood pressure, limits flow of cerebral spinal fluid, and, decreases ability to fight disease.
So if we compare the symptoms of Acidosis and Fibromyalgia, there are many similarities. Even on the emotional level where fear/anxiety is exhibited, depression, and irritability, we can see similarities. Now, the underlying mechanisms of acidosis are numerous and complicated, however, treatment and care can be taken. Knowing this it upsets me that the Medical System prescribes anti-depressants and opioid pain killers which only create more toxins !!
I generally treat the patient according to their sensitivity levels that day, but I seek to: Improve Lymph drainage, reduce lactic acid deposits, reduce nervous tension, decrease blood pressure, Improve cerebrospinal fluid flow.
As far as the 18 tender points of Fibromyalgia, they incidentally correspond to acupuncture points that have to do with Toxicity and Inflammmation, however, are a very weak reference guide.
The main thing we can do to decrease pain and prevent Fibromyalgia is eat a balanced diet ( not allow any refined sugars, processed foods, limit environmental toxins ). Massage and is an ancient, non-toxic, and efficient way to relieve these symptoms. In fact, Manual Lymph Drainage is an effective method, in which I have been trained in. Turning on the cold water at the end of a hot shower could do more than expensive Nerve pain drugs. Also, jumping up and down on a trampoline, gentle percussive slapping on the torso and extremities everyday can also improve symptoms and break the negative feedback cycle. By no means is this article a definitive paper on Fibromyalgia, and much more research is needed, however, my experience ( and others ) knows that,more can be done to relive pain with diet, exercise and massage, than drugs can. It is a long term approach, but one with a light at the end, and not just 'the end'.
At METAbodyWORKS we o teach Tai Chi and Chi Kung which is proven method of treatment for Fibromyalgia. See this study: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa0912611