Fibromyalgia | Fibromyalgia Syndrome
Fibromyalgia is characterized by chronic muscle pain. It also causes fatigue, painful tender points throughout the body, sleep disturbances, depression and brain fog or cognitive impairment.
Western medicine hasn’t uncovered the cause of fibromyalgia, as usual, it only suggests ways to manage symptoms through pain medications and antidepressants. However, if you take an Integrative Medicine approach, the M.D.’s will look for the underlying cause of your fibromyalgia and treat the cause to heal you, the patient- not to cover up your symptoms with a band-aid drug. I have worked with numerous clients who suffer from Fibromyalgia and have helped them get their life back pain-free.
Here are a few issues that you may be facing that can lead to or cause your Fibromyalgia pain. Take a look at each one and examine what is going on inside your body. If you think you are experiencing any of the below, reach out to your Integrative M.D. for guidance.
Celiac & Gluten Sensitivity/ Intolerance
The majority of symptoms that come from gluten intolerance are not digestive, but rather, neurological, such as pain, cognitive impairment, sleep disturbances, behavioral issues, fatigue and depression. If you are eating gluten or gluten is in your cosmetics, supplements, vitamins, beauty products, etc. you may be causing inflammation in your body and causing yourself more harm than good. Here is more information on Celiac Disease.
Candida is a fungus or yeast inside your body. There’s nothing wrong with it in moderation: a very small amount already lives in your intestines. But when overproduced, Candida breaks down the wall of your intestines and penetrates the bloodstream, releasing toxic byproducts into your body. That creates unpleasant symptoms, such as fatigue, brain fog, digestive issues and pain. Here is more information on Candida.
More than half of people with thyroid issues have no idea they have this issue, and 90 percent of them have hypothyroidism, which is an underactive thyroid gland. It’s critical that your Integrative M.D. do a blood test to check your thyroid’s function. Most general M.D.’s do not test the full panel of six blood markers. Find the tests you need to get about Thyroid here. When you get your thyroid levels into an optimal range you will find relief from fatigue, brain fog, sleep disturbances and depression. Here is more information on Hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s.
B12, Magnesium and vitamin D deficiencies are quite common for Fibromyalgia patients. Ask your Integrative M.D. about what type of Magnesium to take and also to test your blood to make sure you are ABSORBING that magnesium. The best way to measure magnesium is a red blood cell magnesium level, which can be tested through any conventional lab.
Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) and Leaky Gut
We have more bacteria in us and on us than we do our own cells. When these bacteria get out of balance through antibiotics, processed food, stress or a sugar-rich diet, we can lose our ability to digest and absorb nutrients, especially B12. Gluten can cause SIBO and Leaky Gut. The opposite is also true because SIBO and leaky gut can lead to gluten and other food intolerances. It’s a vicious cycle. My best advice is to work with an Integrative M.D. and focus on fixing your GUT first before you work on any other area of your body. Healing your gut is the first step that will let the rest of your body heal. Here is additional information on Leaky Gut.
Chronic stress, whether real or perceived can cause adrenal fatigue. When you have chronic pain it stresses our adrenal glands but that may not even be the main stressor. Main stressors in your life could be food intolerances, Candida, mercury toxicity, vitamin deficiencies and mycotoxins. I work with clients to support their adrenals with adaptogenic herbs while their integrative M.D. looks for the root cause of the stress to correct it. Here is additional information on Adrenal Fatigue.
These very toxic substances are produced by toxic molds. Only about 25% of the population carries the genes to be susceptible to the effects of mycotoxins. Conventional environmental mold-testing only checks the level of mold spores and does not test for mycotoxins. You can use a urine mycotoxin test to determine if you have been exposed to toxic molds.
I recommend that all my clients work with an Integrative Dentist (Here is my List of NYC Integrative Doctors) to remove their mercury fillings. Mercury is toxic to our bodies and can be one piece of the puzzle for those with fibromyalgia and other chronic illnesses, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, autoimmune diseases, neurological disorders and cancer. I then recommend heavy metal testing using a “before” and “after” disease-management programs using the DMPS urine challenge test. I had to remove my mercury fillings and do the urine tests for many years to test my metals until my levels dropped significantly. Here is more information about Body Burden from Toxins and How to Start a Heavy Metal Detox and Common Heavy Metals Making You Sick.
This is a genetic blood test you can get though any conventional lab. The more mutations you have of the MTHFR gene, the less able you are to methylate and detoxify, particularly toxins such as mercury and lead. The more mutations you have of this gene, the higher your requirements for methyl-B6, methyl-B12 and folic acid in order to keep your detoxification pathways working properly. I was born without one of the MTHFR genes, therefore it’s harder for my body to detox toxins that I’m exposed to versus someone else who has this gene to help them remove toxins.
The molecule glutathione is the most important part of our body’s detoxification system. Glutathione is recycled in the body, unless our toxic burden gets too high or we lack GSTM1 and GSTP1, the enzymes needed to recycle and produce glutathione. Taking glutathione or the precursors (NAC, alpha lipoic acid, milk thistle) helped me and often helps my clients dramatically with fatigue. I suggest working with an Integrative M.D. for the correct doses of these supplements and do not recommend taking them on your own without being under supervision of a doctor.
Many of these causes are interrelated. Often there is no one single reason for fibromyalgia or any chronic illness. It is a combination of several or perhaps all of the above. Digging down to the root cause can be complex, therefore you must work with an integrative M.D. to help uncover the cause(s) for you.
It is essential to work with an Integrative M.D. because I am sharing general information that is not intended to be medical advice. This information is only given for informational purposes.