Fibromyalgia Symptoms and Diagnosis
Fibromyalgia affects two to four percent of the population and occurs more often in women. It is characterized by widespread pain in the muscles and soft tissues and is accompanied by a varied constellation of the symptoms listed below. The pain can be present in the absence of injury or inflammation and is chronic and sometimes transient in nature. Like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia is more prevalent in women and has been found in children and adolescents. There are tender points associated with Fibromyalgia, which are in all four quadrants of the body. Other conditions, such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, depression and sleep disorders often accompany Fibromyalgia. The onset of Fibromyalgia can be gradual or acute, and it is often exacerbated by stress, sleep dysfunction, a change in the weather or physical excretion to name a few.
|Symptoms of Fibromyalgia:
||Muscle ache in the AM
||Tingling in the skin
|Exhaustion on minimal exertion
Experts have theories about what may cause Fibromyalgia, but there is not enough evidence to support any single cause. Some think that people with Fibromyalgia may have nerve cells that are too sensitive. Others think that chemicals in the brain (neurotransmitters) may be out of balance, or it may be related to problems with the deep phase of sleep.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia has a global affect on the patient’s physical and mental capacities. The practitioner must consider the person as a whole and give every consideration to the interconnectedness of the multiple systems affected by Fibromyalgia. Diagnosis requires an extensive medical history and a careful review of the patient’s symptom history. These symptoms must be present for at least 6 months.
There is no one specific lab test to confirm a patient has Fibromyalgia. Experienced practitioners like Dr. Ross can see subtle nuances in traditional blood testing that indicate Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and lab testing is also used to exclude other issues. In the initial stages of diagnosis it’s essential to rule out other disorders with similar symptoms, such as Lyme disease, Multiple Sclerosis, depression, inflammatory arthritis, yeast syndrome, and heavy metal toxicity.
Fibromyalgia has some very specific physical attributes. Tender points or trigger points are specific sites on the body that cause pain when pressed. The pain may spread when a tender point is pressed and causes pain in a larger area. Typically with Fibromyalgia a person must present with pain in all four quadrants of the body and have tenderness or pain in eleven out of eighteen of the tender points.
Fibromyalgia is a treatable condition. Dr. Marty Ross tailors a specific treatment for each person. They consider prescription medicines, intravenous nutritional therapies, physical medicine modalities like saunas, diet, herbs and vitamin supplements to restore sleep, to treat muscle pain, to balance hormones, to remove infections and toxins, and to balance the body's micronutrients.
Causes and Complications of Fibromyalgia
People with Fibromyalgia can suffer from a combination of different problems. The pattern can include sleep dysfunction, hormonal imbalances, micronutrient deficits, persistent infections and a vast array of other issues.
The hypothalamus and pituitary are the part of the brain that governs the body's hormonal systems. The hypothalamus and pituitary are weakened by long term exposure to physical or emotional stress, infections, and environmental toxins including heavy metals, mold, allergies or other problems. When this happens, all of the systems regulated by the hypothalamus and pituitary may malfunction. These systems include the glands (affecting the thyroid, adrenals, and sex hormones), the autonomic system (which regulates body temperature, blood pressure, and the anti-diuretic hormone), and the sleep center.
Sleep dysfunction is also a problem for people with Fibromyalgia. While sleeping, a person experiences continuous electrical activity in the brain. During the sleep-wake cycle this activity is defined by waves that vary in pattern and intensity. They are called alpha, beta and delta waves. Alpha waves have more activity and occur in the more wakeful stages of sleep. Beta and delta waves are slower waves and occur when one is in a deep sleep. Alpha waves are not present in the deepest restorative stages of sleep. It has been observed in some patients with Fibromyalgia that there are intrusions of alpha waves into their deeper stages of sleep. These intrusions bring the patient out of the stages of deep restorative sleep. Sleep disturbances are prevalent in people with Fibromyalgia. However, it is not clear to what extent restoration of the deeper stages of sleep will improve the symptoms. Adequate levels of deep restorative sleep play an essential role in the treatment of Fibromyalgia.