What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a common syndrome in which people experience long-term, body-wide pain and tender points in joints, muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues. Fibromyalgia has also been linked to fatigue, sleep problems, headaches, depression, anxiety, and other symptoms.
There is no known cause of fibromyalgia, but triggers may include:
- Physical or emotional trauma
- An abnormal pain response
- Sleep disturbances
- An infectious microbe, such as a virus
- Food allergies or sensitivities
- An overload of chemicals in the body
- Toxicity, including heavy metal toxicity
- Overgrowth of candida
- Hormonal imbalance or deficiency
The following conditions may be seen with fibromyalgia or mimic its symptoms:
- Chronic neck or back pain
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Lyme disease
- Sleep disorders
The primary symptom of fibromyalgia is deep-aching, shooting or burning pain, which radiates from “tender points” in the soft tissue on the back of the neck, shoulders, sternum, lower back, hips shins, elbow and knees.
Other symptoms may include:
- Irritable bowel syndrome with gas, and alternating diarrhea and constipation
- Memory difficulties and problems thinking clearly
- Numbness and tingling in hands and feet
- Reduced exercise tolerance
- Sad or depressed mood
- Tension or migraine headaches
- Disabling fatigue
Diagnosis of fibromyalgia requires a history of at least three months of widespread pain, and pain and tenderness in at least 11 of 18 tender-point sites, including the fibrous tissue or muscles of the arms (elbows), buttocks, chest, knees, lower back, neck, rib cage, shoulders and thighs.
Who is Affected?
Fibromyalgia is one of the most common chronic pain conditions. It affects an estimated 10 million people in the United States alone. While more than 75 percent of sufferers are women between the ages of 20 and 50, fibromyalgia also occurs in men and children of all ethnic groups. The disorder is often seen in families, among siblings or mothers and their children.
What are the Options for Treatment?
Proper diagnosis is critical to identifying the best course of treatment. At the Magaziner Center for Wellness, we analyze each patient uniquely via a full physical examination, biochemical analysis and discussion of his or her past medical history and individual lifestyle. We look beyond the label of “Fibromyalgia” to identify what’s keeping you from feeling better, and use natural and innovative methods to solve the underlying problem.
As part of our diagnostic procedure, we test for a patient’s reaction to common allergens, including food or food substances. After potential sensitivities are identified, we naturally treat the immune system by training it to respond appropriately to the allergens that affect each individual patient. We work to improve digestion and assimilation and will often have a patient avoid certain foods which could be harmful to his or her wellbeing. We also treat nutrient imbalances that may contribute to pain with vitamins, supplements and dietary adjustment.
Other key factors in treatment include evaluation for environmental toxins and heavy metals, reduction of fungus and yeast, and a rebalancing of a “leaky gut”.
We also use biofeedback to treat fibromyalgia patients, with whom we’ve had much success using ONDAMED®, an advanced technology from Germany that uses a non-invasive, painless biofeedback technique to detect and repair areas of cellular imbalance and tissue inflammation. ONDAMED® uses pulsed electromagnetic frequency (PEMF) to treat electromagnetic dysfunction in the body and rebalance its energy to help it return to a state of wellness. This procedure has been successful in eliminating “fibro fog,” a term used to describe the memory problems and general lack of concentration and clear thinking that is a symptom of fibromyalgia.
Although it is just now gaining awareness, Biopuncture has been used at the Magaziner Center for Wellness to help relieve our patients’ pain associated with a range of disorders, including fibromyalgia, since 2003. Biopuncture is a therapy using mostly plant-based formulas (often homeopathic) that are injected into specific body regions to relieve pain and inflammation. Most are micro-injections administered with a very small needle just under the skin or into the muscle. These small doses stimulate the natural healing processes – the healing comes from within the patient’s own body. Biopuncture is best used as a complement to other natural therapies, including proper nutrition and exercise.
While fibromyalgia does not damage the joints – although it does cause pain in and around them – we have also used prolotherapy (proliferative therapy), also known as Reconstructive Injection Therapy (RIT) or sclerotherapy to stimulate the body’s healing mechanisms and restore normal function in muscles, tendons and ligaments that may have been previously damaged, chronically strained, or stressed. It works by placing precise injections into the affected area to stimulate cytokines or cell signals, enabling the immune system to naturally repair the damage. Unlike conventional pain management practices which rely on anti-inflammatory drugs or cortisone injections – therapies that simply mask symptoms and may cause further harm by adding to depression, increased pain and side effects ranging from gastrointestinal bleeding and ulcers – prolotherapy truly cures the underlying problem and eliminates pain. We may also use gentle manipulative techniques to realign the body in its normal position, aiding the ability to comfort tight muscles.
Platelet rich plasma (PRP) is also used to regenerate joint, spine, ligament, and tendon damage. In PRP therapy, we extract a small amount of your blood from which we develop a concentration of platelets and growth factors naturally found in the body that we then inject into the damaged area to promote healing. In addition to stimulating the body to heal itself, the platelet “graft” also forms a biologic scaffold that provides optimal curative conditions in the injured area.
Lastly, the Magaziner Center for Wellness is presently one of just a handful of practices in the United States trained to use Neural Prolotherapy to treat the pain of Fibromyalgia and other disorders, including shoulder and knee pain. Neural Prolotherapy is an innovative new technique that has been shown to treat the pain that results from nerve inflammation. This is often called neurogenic pain or neuralgia. Using a tiny needle, an injection of dextrose is made into the skin. The injection essentially “shuts down” the nerve fibers that are the original source of the pain so any discomfort is immediately relieved. The dextrose assists in the repair of connective tissue in the nerve trunks under the skin in a similar way as classic Prolotherapy repairs connective tissue deep in ligaments and tendons.