What Your Doctor May Be Missing if You Have Fibromyalgia
If you have been told that you suffer with “fibromyalgia” or believe that your syndrome fits your chronic whole body pain, fatigue and poor quality of sleep, you are not alone. It is estimated that 6 million Americans’ are reported to have the condition. Sadly, due to the many factors that contribute to the cause of the syndrome, conventional medical care often fails to give lasting improvement to the majority of sufferers, most of whom are women.
Since most general practitioner are not highly trained in the areas of examination and effective treatment to the underlying mechanism that promote chronic pain, both at of the brain level and at the cellular level, most patient receive treatment that gives only temporary relief. The symptoms of the condition are managed with antidepressants, and other medications, such as Lyrica, that are designed to suppress the central nervous system.
Fortunately, there is hope for recovery with this debilitating condition when a through health history, focused examination, and specific laboratory testing are performed.
This new and different approach, that looks at the underlying causes of health condition like fibromyalgia and other chronic conditions, is called “functional medicine”. Functional medicine goes beyond routine testing looking for undiscovered causes that are causing inflammation in your body, overexciting your pain response, and playing havoc with your sleep mechanism and your ability to produce energy at the cellular level.
The metabolic component of Fibromyalgia.
It has been estimated that 85% of all chronic conditions and diseases are a result of too much inflammation in the body. This excess inflammation can disrupt all of the important systems of the body including the gastrointestinal, endocrine, and immune and detoxification systems of the body.
Specific testing to look for:
- Chronic infections such as Epstein Barr, H.Pylori, Lyme’s, fungal and parasitic infection
- Food sensitivity testing, common offenders are gluten, soy, dairy, eggs and nightshades. When you develop food sensitivities every time you consume the offenders inflammation spikes
- Complete thyroid testing, including TSH, TT4, free T3, T3 uptake and thyroid antibodies must be included. Thyroid hormone brings oxygen in the cells. Every cell in your body need adequate oxygen the lack thereof is a big factor in fatigue.
- Specific testing to determine proper digestion and metabolism; is needed at the level of the stomach, liver, gallbladder, small and large intestine.
- MTHFR Mutations testing. This is a genetic test you can get though any conventional lab. However we generally recommend you get more genetic testing done with MTHFR testing to look for more genetic weakness in your metabolism. The more mutations you have at the MTHFR gene the less able you are to methylate (which means add carbon chains CH3-CH3 to B-vitamins enabling your body to detoxify, particularly toxins such as mercury, lead and other toxins. The more mutations you have at this gene, the higher your requirements for methylated-B6, B12 and folic acid B, in order to keep your detoxification pathways working properly.
- Vitamin/mineral deficiencies. In order to make energy at the cellular level you must have enough trace minerals. Minerals such as Zinc, Magnesium, Manganese, Copper, selenium, vitamin C, A and E. B- vitamins B-6, B-9 and B-12 are often lacking.
- Adrenal Gland testing. The adrenal gland is our anti-inflammation gland, and it helps us cope with physical and emotional stress. Since we live in a stressful world and eat the typical American diet, which is too overly processed, too high in sugar, and devoid of usable vitamins and minerals, our adrenal glands are very often unable to further compensate. Adrenal gland dysfunction can lead to sleep problems, fatigue, dizziness, thyroid problems, hormone imbalance, allergies and short term memory loss.
Neurology of chronic pain
A healthy brain normally dampens pain. If there is no history of injury, or the injury was years ago, there must be a mechanism that is perpetuating the pain cycle.
The sympathetic nervous system is also known as the “fight or flight” nervous system and is activated appropriately in certain situations in which the body perceives a threat to its survival, real or imagined. The sympathetic nervous system can get stuck in the “on” position as a result of the brain losing the braking mechanism that would normally dampen the sympathetic system. Once this pattern is perpetuated the adrenal gland will create stress hormones that when they reach certain levels will excite the “C” type pain nerve fibers in the body, hence whole body pain. To re-set the system that is stuck in a loop of dysfunction we must find out which part of the brain is failing to dampen the system. The frontal and parietal lobes along with the lower brain system, if firing at an appropriate rate, normally dampen the sympathetic nervous system.
Using single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), researchers in France were able to detect functional abnormalities in certain regions in the brains of patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia, reinforcing the idea that symptoms of the disorder are related to a dysfunction in those parts of the brain where pain is processed. Science Daily (Nov. 4, 2008)Journal of nuclear medicine
A functional neurological exam will determine which brain areas need therapy to re-balance the system. By utilizing “Brain Based Therapy” we can rehabilitate the nervous system after we have found our problem areas via a “functional neurology” examination.
By looking at the entire nervous system and evaluating for systemic inflammation, we can utilize effective natural therapies both nutritional and neurologic to restore function and health to those suffering with Fibromyalgia, and for that matter, just about any chronic condition. Ask your doctor about functional medicine and neurology, and the tests that need to be ordered.
If your doctor is not trained in functional medicine give our office a call for a free consultation at 425-821- 1101.