Volume IV, No. 7 by Frank Jordan
Read an important Health Treatment Notice about personal health issues.
Fibromyalgia – Joint and Tissue Pain with
Fatigue and Sleep Deprivation
What is Fibromyalgia Syndrome – FMS?
Fibromyalgia (FMS) is a soft tissue musculoskeletal syndrome causing joint and tissue pain, with fatigue and sleep loss that in turn can make other health challenges worsen. Symptoms overlap with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), with the symptom of fatigue, but Fibromyalgia (FMS) creates pain in the soft fibrous tissues – the muscles, ligaments and tendons. However, patients with Fibromyalgia fortunately do not develop deformities nor do they suffer damage to internal body organs based on current research.
The exact cause of Primary Fibromyalgia is still unknown and almost certainly involves multiple factors. But FMS is real – not imagined – and can be relieved to an extent both medically and naturally. A second form, Post-Traumatic Fibromyalgia, occurs as a result of a physical trigger event such as a fall, whiplash or even extensive dental work.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic disease with symptoms varying in intensity. FMS is disabling for many, but minimal for others. Of the estimated 3-6 million American Fibromyalgia patients, 90% are women 20 to 60 years of age, but all ages and genders can be attacked. While men suffer less frequently, they experience more severe symptoms when having FMS.
While specific causes are not yet definite, brain imaging research has uncovered specific differences between FMS patients and healthy individuals. FMS patients have:
Decreased blood flow to some areas of the brain on a brain SPECT scan.
Decreased glucose uptake by certain areas of the brain.
Small lesions in various areas of the brain on an MRI Scan.
Abnormalities in pain processing areas of the brain documented by MRI scans.
Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
Aching from Fibromyalgia is often stated by patients to “move,” with various sensations ranging from muscles feeling pulled, strained, involuntarily twitching, to burning. A diagnosis of Fibromyalgia requires a patient have several major criteria and four or more minor criteria over time, with no obvious evidence of inflammation or muscle abnormalities.
A first major criteria requires damage to the mitochondria of cells of Fibromyalgia patients. Cell mitochondria convert organic materials into cellular energy in the form of ATP and are essential in cell proliferation and apoptosis, or cell death critical in cancer treatment, plus nerve (neural) damage repairs. A second major criteria requires generalized pain be experienced in at minimum three anatomic sites for 3 months and 11 or more body tender points. Other ailments such as Osteomalacia (softening of the bones due to mineral depletion), Diabetes, Depression and Hypothyroidism with similar symptoms must be excluded, in addition to negative drug side effects causing pain and fatigue.
Minor criteria for a Fibromyalgia diagnosis include Irritable Bowel Syndrome experienced by 70% of FMS patients, which is characterized by alternating diarrhea and constipation, intestinal cramps, flatulence and nausea.
Fatigue and overwhelming tiredness without immediate cause, similar to CFS, are suffered by 85%. Some have described the fatigue as “brain fatigue or fog” with concentration difficult and arms and legs so tired they are difficult to move and lift.
Joint and soft tissue inflammation and swelling are considered minor symptoms unless you are the one suffering! TMJ / TMD or Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction, causes intense jaw-related face and head pain in 25% of FMS patients.
In addition to Anxiety experienced by 62% with Irritability, Depression and Chronic Headaches including Migraine are common, with Numbness and Vertigo other minor symptoms.
While not symptoms, FMS symptoms are often made worse by changes in the weather, allergies, infections, hormonal fluctuations including premenstrual and menopausal, stress, lights, noise and over exertion (exercise cautiously). Musculoskeletal pain in FMS is often worst in the mornings.
Is Sleep Deprivation a Major FMS Cause?
While insomnia and sleep disorders are considered a minor symptom of Fibromyalgia, they should be major. Many, including FMS specialist Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum MD (www.endfatigue.com ), consider quality sleep deprivation to be the underlying cause of FMS. Fibromyalgia sufferers have severely disrupted and insufficient quantities of slow-wave sleep known also as Alpha/Delta Sleep, with the associated disorder named alpha-EEG anomaly.
Fibromyalgia patients often have difficulty going to sleep, with pain a factor, and then wake with even the slightest noise, smell or stimuli. Muscles remain tense during sleep and breathing is shallow. Most sleep restlessly with minimal if any essential deep sleep (Stage 4) while waking throughout the night and awakening fatigued, stiff and sore. Sleep apnea, teeth grinding and restless leg syndrome are common.
Deep level – Stage 4 sleep – is essential for tissue repair, immune system performance including repair and antibody production, hormonal activity and neurotransmitter performance; the lack of any or all creating many of the major and minor Fibromyalgia symptoms.
Additional Possible FMS Causes
The exact causes are elusive because they are multiple and difficult to isolate as a “common” cause. Viral and bacterial infections plus fungal or mycotoxins are suspects; plus rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and hypothyroidism. Physical trauma from triggering events is a known cause in Post-Traumatic Fibromyalgia, but may be involved in some manner on a delayed basis in the Primary FMS type.
Damaged mitochondria are a major symptom, but also may be a FMS cause due to a decrease in energy available for muscle contractions and an inability of muscles to relax after a contraction. Over time the Sarcolemma, or plasma membrane surrounding groups of muscle fibers, become tight and thick, making muscle pain worse.
Intestinal permeability, often due to a fungal overgrowth or mycotoxins, has been indicated in some cases, which could then deliver and cause toxins via the blood stream to lodge in joints and tissues. Mycotoxins, or fungal poisons, isolated from a variety of fungi are shown to increase cytosolic calcium, thereby leading to cell mitochondrial damage that inhibits ATP production and results in muscle fatigue and a lack of energy.
The similarities in Fibromyalgia and Fungemia symptoms, including muscle fatigue, pain, sleep disturbances and depression is almost total and thus fungal invasion is a definite potential contributor to Fibromyalgia, if not a primary cause.
Substances that may contribute to Fibromyalgia include elevated Homocysteine levels and high levels of the Reverse T3 hormones; both being present in most FMS patients. Autoimmune antibodies to serotonin and psychological causes leading to endocrine imbalances have been implicated, as well as genetic defects related to serotonin biochemical pathways.
What to Do About Fibromyalgia
Quality of sleep and pain management are the focus of most treatment programs. Standardized medicine treats the sleep disorders with drugs that increase neurotransmitters that modulate sleep, pain and immune system function by boosting serotonin and Norepinephrine levels.
Commonly prescribed are Amitriptyline, Cyclobenzaprine and Cymbalta. Common prescription drugs for sleep aids are Ambien, Lunesta, Clonazepam and Trazodone. Ultram for pain and Neurontin and Lyrica as anti-epileptics and muscle relaxants, are commonly prescribed as well.
Avoid over usage of Ibuprofen (Advil, Aleve) and Acetaminophen (Tylenol, Vicotin) due to potential liver damage. Suggested is Beta 1,3/1,6 glucan if taking these pain relievers to nutritionally aid in minimizing negative liver side effects based on research (www.betaglucan.org). Most people with Fibromyalgia are on multiple prescription drugs to alleviate symptoms, particularly pain, sleeplessness and depression; and suffer severe side effects due to usually being hypersensitive to drugs and hyperallergenic.
Substances Believed to Contribute to Fibromyalgia Symptom Reduction
Because of the complexity of Fibromyalgia and the uncertainty of sources of symptoms on a universal basis, substances suggested may vary in nutritionally contributing to wellness from Fibromyalgia symptoms for individuals.
Capsaicin applied topically is an alkaloid used for pain alleviation. Hyaluronic acid consumed orally aids many, with CoEnzymes CoQ10 and NADH helpful nutritionally in cell metabolism normalization.
Some Amino Acids have been deficient in FMS. Supplement with 5-HTP of 50-300 mg/ day suggested. L-tryptophan works for some with low serotonin levels when 5-HTP does not. With either, use supplemental SAM-e or S-Adenosylmethionine of 800 mg per day to help reduce trigger points of pain significantly while reducing morning stiffness.
Balance Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acid intake to a 1 to 1 ratio for desensitizing nerves and reducing pain.
L-Phenylalanine and Phosphatidyl Serene for mental clarity are nutritionally beneficial, used as directed.
The herb Valerian supports sleep, while the herbs Celery Seed, Boswellia and Turmeric aid in minimizing stiffness and pain for many.
In the area of Auxins (plant hormones), Indole-3-Carbonol may help alleviate some symptoms, as well as Ascorbigen used as directed. True Human Growth Hormone administered under professional guidance may aid in establishing proper Insulin-Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1), low in 33% of FMS patients.
DHEA, or Dehydroepiandrosterone, aids in alleviating symptoms. Relaxin is a peptide hormone often depleted in FMS sufferers, with the deficiency thought to possibly be a contributory factor in FMS.
Melatonin used as directed is a must for many to increase deep sleep. The neurotransmitter Serotonin is insufficient in most FMS patients and should be supplemented for sleep.
As stated, a theory for cause of FMS is a state of hypometabolism (slow) that can be corrected in some by supplementation with the hormone T3 (Triliodothyronine), when combined with aerobic exercise.
For inflammation of the joints associated with FMS, Cetyl Myristoleate (CMO) is nutritionally beneficial, together with the sulfuric compound Methylsulfonylmethane better known as MSM, often combined with Glucosamine sulphate.
Beta 1,3/1,6 glucan in the MG Glucan form is a potent antioxidant to aid in nutritionally minimizing oxidative (free radical) stress while potentiating and normalizing the immune response and promoting phagocytosis, or removal of toxins and cellular debris from the body.
A potent Probiotic to replace beneficial flora for nutrient delivery is important, particularly if the theory of mycotoxin cause is valid as assumed and antibiotics have been used.
Organic acids and minerals are essential with Magnesium deficiency within muscle fibers thought to be a factor in FMS. Supplementation daily of 300-800 mg is suggested. Add Malic Acid of 2,400 mg daily, taken with the Magnesium. Calcium in a 2 to 1 ratio of Magnesium intake is also needed.
Oleoeuropein is a Polyphenol found in Olive Leaf Extract some say helps alleviate FMS, while Vitamin B12 is often very low in FMS patients and can be obtained from a good multiple vitamin. Include 800 IU a day of Vitamin D for pain reduction.
Aloe Vera Juice is almost universally beneficial for FMS patients in diminishing symptoms, with 1 ounce – 3 times daily suggested. Chlorella decreases the pain associated with FMS, while nightshade foods are to be avoided.
Saint John’s Wort, due to the ability to increase serotonin levels in the brain, aids in reducing pain in FMS. Quality water equal to ½ of body weight in ounces, or 8 glasses, is a proven pain reliever.
Additional Aids for Fibromyalgia
Acupuncture has given temporary relief for many with FMS. Aerobic Exercise, though often painful, can be helpful, while use of water aerobic exercises reduces stress on joints and muscles.
A double-blind, randomized study reported in “Rheumatology” in 2004, “demonstrated that individualized homeopathy is significantly better than placebo in lessening tender point pain …of persons with fibromyalgia.”
Seek a qualified Homeopathic practitioner for professional guidance.
Fibromyalgia is complex with no specific cure or even diagnostic test, but the combination of aids available is encouraging. Be informed, be positive and hopefully in the near future: be energetic, clear of mind and pain free!
Reprinted by permission of Immunition Reports
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