- Category: Fibromyalgia
- Created on Tuesday, 11 January 2011 00:00
- Written by Dr. Susan Tanner, M.D.
First identified in the 1980s, fibromyalgia has received increased attention over the subsequent decades, partially due to the numbers of people affected. Similarly to chronic fatigue syndrome, it affects women much more frequently than men, which raises the question of a possible hormonal connection.
There is no blood test specifically to diagnose chronic fatigue syndrome, rather it is a diagnosis made by excluding other disorders, such as lupus or arthritis and by meeting a list of diagnostic criteria set up by the CDC. These criteria include sleep problems, muscle pain in a multiple "trigger point" areas of the neck, shoulders, upper arms, thighs, and buttocks, and unusual fatigue. Patients with fibromyalgia often have poor recovery to attempts at exercise, and may be depressed emotionally.
Traditional medicine uses a combination of prescription medications, such as Lyrica, Savella, Neurontin, anti-inflammatories, and antidepressants to treat Fibromyalgia. While these are at times successful in controlling the symptoms, they do not address the causes of the disorder.
We try to determine what has caused fibromyalgia in the first place and direct our treatments toward these causes. The reasons that patients succumb to this illness are multiple and varied, but it is important to trace these in each and every sufferer. Illnesses, especially viral, are considered, as well as environmental exposures, injuries, and major life stressors. Anything that adds to the "total body load" is important and needs to be addressed in such a way that the body can heal.
Some of our treatments include hormonal adjustments, especially of the adrenal system and testing and repletion of mineral status. There is no simple solution to this illness, but with proper evaluation, the hopes for tremendous improvement and better quality of life are not only possible, but probable.