Natural Treatment for Fibromyalgia

Natural Treatment for Fibromyalgia

The widespread muscle pain of fibromyalgia does not have to fit the widely advertized 10 out of 14 tender point criteria which was only intended as a research criteria. For most sufferers, “it just hurts all over”. Fibromyalgia is distinguished by the muscle tender points above and below the waist on both sides of the body and does not affect the joints. Many people also have at least one or more of the following: migraines, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), TMJ, sleep disturbance, “brain fog”, chronic fatigue and feel depressed. Prescription medications are advertized but since Fibromyalgia has many causes it is not possible for a drug to address all these factors. Some causes include physical and emotional trauma, infections, hormonal issues, vitamin D deficiencies and toxic exposures. Natural treatment for Fibromyalgia can address the multi-factorial nature of this disease.

Eliminating caffeine and alcohol are good places to start to help take stress off the liver to metabolize these substances. A “clean diet” eliminating all red meats, dairy, and gluten and incorporating detox foods like fresh organic vegetables and fruits, unsalted nuts and seeds, legumes for vegetable protein and non-gluten grains should be followed for la least the first ten days. Gradually a wider variety of non-toxic foods can be added back. During this period a specialized rice based medical food to help with detoxification and decrease tender points may be recommended.

Other natural treatment for fibromyalgia include stress management like meditation, mild yoga, mild walking, and virtually any type of relaxation activity to decrease the stress response to help the brain and the body relax. Finding ways to let go of old conflicts and resentments can be a freeing experience for the mind and the body. Call us for an appointment so we can help you achieve optimum health.

Please visit our website for more information on natural treatment for Fibromyalgia and see the video on our 10 day metabolic detoxification program.

Fibromyalgia Treatment in Tucson Arizona

Many people with chronic muscle pains have seen several doctors and specialists in search of a diagnosis and relief. Many of these individuals are looking for natural treatments and cures, preferring not to take a lot of prescription medications forever. The word fibromyalgia describes characteristic tender points in the soft tissues above and below the waist and on both sides of the body. The number and location of these tender points can change over time. It is not a disease of the joints. It is frequently accompanied by irritable bowel syndrome, fatigue, insomnia, migraines and low moods. Initial triggers may include physical injuries, trauma and abuse throughout life, a bad “flu” or as yet unknown causes.
Current theories about the etiology of this condition include, alterations in pain processing in the central nervous system, metabolic abnormalities affecting the mitochondria, hormonal imbalances, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth and genetic changes due to trauma and stress or a combination of these factors. There is some but not strong evidence for genetic transmission in families but stronger evidence for how environmental events such as injuries, exposure to toxins and dietary deprivations affect genes. From a Functional Medicine point of view it is better to think in terms of a web of interconnecting “causes” involving multiple body systems rather than searching for a single cause.
It is important to understand that the word fibromyalgia is just a word, and that each person has their own unique form of “fibromyalgia”. It would actually be better to use the term “fibromyalgia’s” to refer to a family of symptoms that cluster around tender points in muscles. The causes and course of these symptoms is highly unique for each individual. That is why no one medicine can be touted as the “cure” for the fibromyalgia’s. But that won’t stop the pharmaceutical industry from competing with each other to market the magic bullet for this condition.
Doctors should perform basic blood chemistries, blood counts, thyroid and liver tests, nutrient analysis, toxic metals and a vitamin D 25-hydroxy test. Vitamin D deficiency is strongly correlated with widespread muscle pains. The best level of vitamin D in the blood for muscle pains is higher than the lower end of the reference range from the lab. Low thyroid levels need to be corrected.
An important concept in the Functional Medicine approach to address many of the points of the interconnecting web as possible. One way to do this with fibromyalgia is called a metabolic detoxification program. This involves a diet eliminating gluten grains, meats, peanuts and soy for 10 days and focuses on cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower which help the liver and the entire body with detoxification. The diet also includes many other vegetables and fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds, and gluten free grains. A specialized rice based medical food containing a hops derived anti-inflammatory chemical that also helps with detoxification is consumed during the 10 days. For many people this diet is a good starting place. Then the treatment is individualized based on lab results each person’s unique history. Treating fibromyalgia requires more time than the average primary care doctor has in their schedule. Finding a specialist who uses a Functional Medicine framework can help to get to the “causes of the causes” to promote lasting improvement.

Functional Medicine and Fibromyalgia

Functional Medicine is a branch of medical science based on a biological systems approach to healthcare especially chronic complex illness. There are special functional medicine tests which evaluate how the body works as opposed to just what is grossly wrong. The Functional Medicine web or matrix includes gastrointestional and liver functioning, mediators of inflammation and the immune system, insulin and glucose regulation, cellular and mitochondrial functioning including oxidative stress, hormones, structural issues, the nervous system and neurodegenerative disorders and emotional health. All areas need to be addressed in conditions like fibromyalgia and chronic wideapread pain.

Fibromyalgia Definition

Fibromyalgia is also called “chronic widespread pain” in recent medical articles. It is defined by “tender points” on physical examination in soft tissues above and below the waist. Fibromyalgia is not considered to be a disease of the joints. It is reported more often in women than men. It is not an autoimmune disease and does not turn into Lupus or any other autoimmune condition but may co-exist with them. Currently there are no blood tests for Fibromyalgia. There are genetic, cellular, hormonal, nutritional and brain factors involved. There frequently is a history of physical trauma and prior injuries predisposing a person to Fibromyalgia. Commonly there is a sleep disturbance, persistent or chronic fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome and depression. Fibromyalgia can begin in childhood or later in life. Narcotic medicines are not recommended for Fibromyalgia and have not been shown to be helpful. Some prescription, non-narcotic medicines can sometimes be helpful. A Functional Medicine evaluation looking at gastrointestinal, liver and detoxification, hormonal and nutritional factors through specialized testing is important. Since there is more than one cause, treatments need to be individualized.

Connection Between Fibromyalgia and IBS

Studies show a large overlap between Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Fibromyalgia. A major finding is a connection involving overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine producing gases like hydrogen and methane. These gasses cause intestinal bloating and widespread pain in the body by lowering the pain threshold. A simple breath test is used to diagnose this problem by drinking a solution of lactulose (a non-digestible sugar). The treatment involves a course of a special non-absorbable antibiotic for severe cases and always dietary changes to eliminate starches and sugars. Small intestinal bacteria ferment carbohydrates into gas. Functional Medicine Pain Mangement Clinic in Tucson Arizona. Hunter Yost M.D.