If ever there was a prize for the worst word in medicine, ‘Fibromyalgia’ would beat anything else hands down.
Patients tell their doctors they’ve had muscle pain for ten years and hurt all over. When the doctors press onto them, it causes them to wince in pain or startle for apparently no reason. The assumption is then made that the patient is neurotic. What the patient is actually reacting to, is lymphoedema, because the patient is inflamed all over. Fibromyalgia has resulted from the spread of lymphoedema over many years whilst the patient was undergoing physical therapy on an injured body.
The kind of pain described above, known as Allodynia, (from the Greek for “other pain”), occurs when pain is felt and is caused by something that does not usually cause pain like pulling on a sock. Allodynia means chronic lymphoedema is present, which means a soft tissue injury remains unhealed.
True Story: A young lady in her twenties was out canoeing when her kayak flipped over. She was swept away and almost died in rough waters but in one desperate final grab before she succumbed to the rapids she managed to reach up and grip onto a branch of a tree. She tore her shoulder resulting in a back injury, which was treated with intensive physical therapy. Within 2 years she was in agony all over and, unsurprisingly, had also developed such a feeling of fogginess that she could barely think. She also had depression.
She had to wait 6 months to see a neurologist only to be told she had fibromyalgia. She was prescribed antidepressants and told to continue physical therapy. She came to my clinic and within one week of intensive therapy her thinking processes were clearer, and by the end of her treatment she was back to where she had been before the accident.
An entire industry has been built on the suffering of fibromyalgia patients and none of it makes much sense. Some medicos give patients vitamin B12 shots which is pointless, as it does nothing for inflammation. Patients who have had their injuries for a long time become FM patients after a mere back or neck problem – add a virus to that and you have patients who cannot function.
This is an excerpt from THE PAIN TRUTH by THE DOCTOR and NIKE AZOROS.
This really gives us something to think about.
The Mayo Clinic describes FM as:
“a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way the brain processes pain signals.”
The Mayo Clinic goes on to say that symptoms sometimes begin after a traumatic event (like surgery) and sometimes accumulate over time with no triggering event. So unspecific! They also state that it is more likely to affect women than men and that FM sufferers may also experience tension headaches, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety and depression. Such a wide range of symptoms.
The final paragraph of their overview says:
“While there is no cure for fibromyalgia, a variety of medications can help control symptoms. Exercise, relaxation and stress-reduction measures also may help.”
So vague and unhelpful.
In Part 2 I discuss how Low Level Light Therapy can help.