Frequently Asked Questions – FIBROMYALGIA
Q. I’m really tired all the time and have pain in my muscles and joints; do I have Fibromyalgia?
Possibly. Common symptoms associated with Fibromyalgia are back/neck pain, aches and pains all over the body; pain in the muscles and joints. Many complain that their pain switches to different parts of their body on different days. Fibromyalgia patients also suffer from severe chronic fatigue but also insomnia.
For some, the extreme fatigue is the worst of this condition. Most are also plagued with migraines or regular headaches, acid reflux and bowel problems like irritable bowel syndrome. It’s also very common to see Fibromyalgia patients with mental disorders, particularly depression and/or anxiety. You do not have to have all of the above symptoms to have Fibromyalgia. However many patients have all of them and more.
The best way to find out if you have Fibromyalgia is to consult with professionals. Unfortunately, it seems to take a small group of professionals to figure out this disease. You will need several medical professionals and resources to help you determine if you’re a Fibromyalgia patient. Your medical doctors may offer you drug therapy with multiple different medicines; some patients will get relief from these but it seems different for every patient as to what works exactly regarding this.
You will also need a good chiropractor who is experienced with Fibromyalgia patients and you may not get totally better without one. At Blue Ridge Family Chiropractic, Dr. Levesque, DC has studied and taken care of Fibromyalgia patients for the last 10 years. We have even put together a Fibromyalgia Severity Evaluation. The Fibromyalgia Severity Evaluation helps us determine whether you have Fibromyalgia or not and whether or not we can help you.
Q. My doctor told me I have Fibromyalgia – are there any tests to show it?
Overall, there are no definitive, diagnostic tests for Fibromyalgia right now. It cannot be found with regular blood work. However, you may want blood work done by a rheumatologist to make sure you don’t have rheumatoid arthritis or a type of systemic arthritis. You may also need to know if your thyroid gland is working. It’s a good idea to follow through with any and all testing your doctors recommend.
As this disorder is complex and difficult to treat, any and all information that may help diagnose or treat is worth getting. Regarding this approach, you should also proceed with some caution. Be careful of your doctors giving you different medications for virtually every one of your symptoms.
It seems that most of the ‘experts’ perform a digital-type exam where they locate and press on various pressure/pain points throughout the body. If the patient has a certain number of ‘sore’ points they are diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. This is not a bad test as these points are very common among Fibromyalgia sufferers. Unfortunately, if this is the only positive test, it may be too vague for a definitive diagnosis.
In our opinion, there are simply too many other conditions that could cause the same sore points for this to be so ‘definitive’ of Fibro. However as just another one of the objective findings, it’s a good test. More information is needed beyond this type of testing to determine if you really have Fibromyalgia.
We have found that most Fibromyalgia sufferers have pinched nerves in their spine. In most cases, if pinched nerves isn’t a main cause of their condition, relieving them causes relief of many symptoms in nearly all cases. Pinched nerves in the body also cause malfunction of your organs and many bodily processes, multiplying your problems.
So one important factor in the diagnosis and treatment of Fibromyalgia is whether or not the patient has pinched nerves in their spine. Detection of pinched nerves is also an important part of our Fibromyalgia Severity Evaluation offered at NO CHARGE at Blue Ridge Family Chiropractic.
We also test for nutritional deficiencies and hypersensitivities/allergies using muscle response testing (MRT). We have also found Nambudripad's Allergy Elimination Technique (N.A.E.T.) for the correction of hypersensitivities is greatly helpful in reduction of Fibromyalgia symptoms of pain and fatigue. These tests help us not only diagnose your condition but determine whether or not you may respond to our non-invasive treatment.
Q. I have Fibromyalgia, how did this happen to me?
We have talked to numerous Fibromyalgia patients over the last 10 years. Most of them have mentioned similar events as to when their symptoms started. This has lead us to believe that basically Fibromyalgia may develop from STRESS. But it’s not that easy.
There are 3 types of stress that will overcome your body and cause it to break down: Physical Stress, Chemical/Nutritional Stress and Emotional Stress. Physical stress that breaks down the body is the most obvious. This is basically getting hit by a car, injuries sustained in car accidents, slips, falls, back/neck injuries. Chemical stress is an injury to the body from a drug or environmental chemical overdose (either acute or chronic). Nutritional stress overcomes the body through food allergies resulting in reactions (acute or chronic) and deficiencies. Emotional stress overcomes the body and causes injury when psychological stress becomes overwhelming to one’s mental state.Emotional stress that overcomes the body causes blockages in electrical pathways called Meridians. Meridians are energy pathways (mapped out by traditional Chinese medicine) associated with each organ system; these are what are manipulated by acupuncturists. When meridians become blocked, malfunction and eventually symptoms may follow.
Physical stress that overcomes the body causes spinal subluxations; these are misalignments of the spine causing bulged/herniated discs and pinched nerves. These are a common cause of back/neck pain, numbness, weakness, headaches, arm or leg pain, carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms, shortness of breath, fatigue and insomnia.
Chemical stress can come in the form of a medicine (or combination of medicines) that have overcome the body. This can also come in the form of overexposure to environmental toxins or poisons. We have also found it is possible to develop Fibromyalgia symptoms and permanent illness from a one-time exposure to environmental or medical chemicals/poisons.
Allergies to specific nutrients (found in foods or vitamins) cause nutritional deficiencies and imbalances. These leave the body weakened and deficient in any number of it’s systems and normal functions. Eventually, if never discovered, nutritional deficiencies can lead to serious, unexplainable illnesses and diseases; initially leaving the patient with extreme fatigue, insomnia, aches and pains and many other symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Finally, many Fibromyalgia sufferers complain that their symptoms started directly after a serious or series of emotional traumas. We've concluded that there is also an emotional component in the development of allergies and subsequent initial breakdown of the body nutritionally – leading to further deficiencies and hypersensitivities.
Q. My doctor sent me to a rheumatologist but his treatment isn’t doing anything for me – is there anything else that can be done?
Yes! If you aren’t trying anything natural (non-medical) to help yourself, you’re missing vital pieces to your puzzle. In fact, one thing we know for sure…. if taking medicine is the only treatment you’re getting for your Fibromyalgia, you may never get totally better! Be careful of doctors who recommend drug therapy only. Recovery from Fibromyalgia will require multiple tests, opinions and various different treatments – some working more for some than others.
Beware of the doctor who does not support a multi-disciplinary approach. Some patients will never fully recover, however you have to keep trying! Your best chances for recovery will be to try and strengthen your body’s systems by removing interference and replenishing any deficiencies.
At Blue Ridge Family Chiropractic, our treatment plan generally consists of a combination of treatments revolving around two key components: 1. Restoring normal nerve function by the correction/treatment of herniated/bulged discs and pinched nerves with the Gonstead Method of Chiropractic, and 2. Detection and removal of nutritional and environmental hypersensitivities (allergies) with Muscle Response Testing and N.A.E.T. treatment.
The correction of pinched nerves relieves many musculo-skeletal symptoms of Fibromyalgia like back/neck pain, leg or arm pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, headaches, etc. and restores your body’s healing ability. The correction of hypersensitivities (with N.A.E.T.) will relieve many symptoms of Fibromyalgia (like bowel problems/IBS, insomnia and chronic fatigue) by the reduction of allergic reactions and improving nutrient absorbability, thus correcting any nutritional deficiencies. By improving/healing pinched nerves, correcting allergies and replenishing nutritional deficiencies, you have the best chance of feeling better and healing as completely as possible.
Q. Many of my doctors laughed at me when I told them I thought I might have Fibromyalgia; is it even a real condition?
For a long time, the medical profession denied the existence of this problem. We think the reason for this is the lack of a treatment protocol – they didn’t know how to treat it; and the lack of diagnostic testing procedures – they didn’t know when you had it/what to call it. We suspect there are still some of the medical profession who don’t believe in the condition or think the Fibromyalgia patient’s problems are ‘all in their head’ (despite medical research articles regarding treatment); however we see that many are coming around.
While there is still a lack of definitive testing, drug companies have recently come out with medicines they have deemed ‘effective’ at treating this condition. Current medical treatment for Fibromyalgia seems to consist of combinations (or all) of these medicines: anti-depressants, anti-inflammatories, pain medication, sleeping pills, cortical steroids (cortisone and prednisone), cancer treatment drugs (methotrexate) and a new medication called Lyrica (being advertised as a treatment specifically for Fibromyalgia).
Some Fibromyalgia patients we see get some relief from some of the above medications, however none of the patients we've seen have been cured by this. Even if this type of therapy were extremely effective, it would have to be temporary or potentially harmful side-effects may follow. If you have Fibromyalgia, you should continue to seek out natural treatments that will encourage healing and improve bodily strength for long term benefits.
So the answer is YES, Fibromyalgia is a real condition. At Blue Ridge Family Chiropractic, we have treated Fibromyalgia patients for the last 10 years and are very familiar with this condition.
Q. My doctor told me I need to exercise to cure my Fibromyalgia, but it just makes me hurt worse. Is this the real answer to this problem?
Despite current medical research, we find that Fibromyalgia patients haven't done better with exercise. In fact it makes them temporarily worse. When we examine Fibromyalgia patients at Blue Ridge Family Chiropractic, we generally find they have many complaints if not multiple conditions.
However two components we have found in ALL our Fibromyalgia patients are pinched nerves and hypersensitivities to food and/or environmental toxins. A patient with these two conditions may be unfit to exercise and subject to further injury. Athletes are advised not to train when they have pinched nerves and/or nutritional deficiencies, so why would someone who’s sick with Fibromyalgia be able to?
If you have Fibromyalgia, we may recommend against exercising until you have had the proper treatment. After treatment, your condition should be evaluated by a medical professional or your treating chiropractor to determine if you should exercise and to what extent.