Do you have recurring musculoskeletal pain? Depression? Fatigue? Have you been labeled with the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia? Last week, I lectured on this topic as part of our FREE educational seminar series. In conventional medicine, the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia is not often addressed with appropriate or effective treatment. Many patients that I have seen over the years with this diagnosis have tried medications such as Neurontin and Cymbalta, with no avail. When these medications do not work, many fibromyalgia patients are told that there is not too much else that can be done. In this week’s blog, we will explore the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia, and we tackle these constellation of symptoms from a functional prospective.
How is Fibromyalgia diagnosed?
According to the Mayo Clinic, Fibromyalgia can be defined as a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, accompanied by memory, fatigue and mood issues. Some of these symptoms can be triggered or caused by infections or emotional/physical trauma. According to the American College of Rheumatology, the patient must have:
-Widespread pain in all 4 quadrants of the body for at least 3 months. (This includes both the right and left sides of the body and above and below the waist)
-Tenderness or pain in at least 11 of the 18 specified tender points when pressure is applied, which may be found in the following places:
-Front and back of the neck
-Mid- to upper-back of the shoulders
The symptoms of fibromyalgia often overlap with the symptomatology of other diseases. This is often a diagnosis of exclusion, which means that other entities have been ruled out with appropriate blood work/imaging. In addition, the symptoms are non specific, and can be caused by other, overlapping conditions.
How do we look at Fibromyalgia?
In our office, we work to delve deeper into the root cause for these symptoms. Are these symptoms a manifestation of inflammation, mitochondrial dysfunction, food sensitivities, recurring infection or another etiology? By delving deeper into one’s diet and past medical history, the root cause of fibromyalgia can be determined.
In many cases, heavy metal toxicity or a recurrent viral/bacterial infection can be the cause of these symptoms. It takes a practitioner who is willing to do special testing for a host of etiologies to find a root cause and then determine an effective treatment plan.
In terms of alternative therapy, yoga and tai-chi have been immensely helpful to patients suffering from Fibromyalgia. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that patients who practiced Tai Chi had improved symptoms after 12 weeks of therapy. In addition to these therapies, lifestyle medicine is especially helpful with Fibromyalgia symptoms, especially techniques in meditation that can aid in more restorative sleep.
If you suffer from symptoms of Fibromyalgia, we are here to help you get to the root cause and formulate a comprehensive and integrative plan of care. For more information regarding Fibromyalgia and how we can help you on your path of wellness, please call our office at (407) 355-9246.