For many years Fibromyalgia or Fibromyalgia Syndrome, as it is usually referred, was called a garbage can diagnosis. This is no disrespect to the patient, but is referred to as such because everything else had been ruled out.
The only job left was to call it something in order to name it, assign a number to it, bill it and treat the symptoms.
Usually, treatment is done with pain killers, sleep aids, anti-inflammatory drugs, anti-depressants, anti-anxiety drugs, and/or a gastrointestinal drug depending upon the symptom.
Yes, treatment of the symptoms is the usual standard of care on such a large group of misunderstood symptoms as Fibromyalgia.
Unfortunately, having a syndrome usually speaks of unexplainable relationships between symptoms and would quickly see you on a Psychotherapy Drug (Ie. AntiAnxiety or AntiDepressant) Sound familiar?
We in Functional Medicine, know the symptoms were always real, they are related, they are explainable and yes sometimes, they are debilitating. The good news is that there are answers and there are ways to get better, not just drugged up.
What I reveal to you is by no means meant as diagnosis, advice or treatment for any condition. It is meant as education to assist you down the road to answers and to healing.
First, these symptoms of: fatigue, painful muscles, weakness, GI dysfunction, headache and tender muscle points are related to and share a commonality with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Additional symptoms can be: brain fog, depression and anxiety. All very real and can be debilitating.
Second, the findings of premature muscle aging (shown under microscope), muscle cell disruption, chronic muscle contraction (trigger points), increased oxidative stress, CoQ10 deficiency, low grade immune system activation, adrenal fatigue, and notable bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine, are all related to Fibromyalgia and are explainable.
Third, the cause or root of all these seemingly unrelated symptoms is this notable overgrowth of bacteria/microbes in the small intestine. The symptoms of IBS, CFS, and Fibromyalgia can and are indeed caused by this overgrowth. Yes, there are supposed to be bacteria within the small intestine, but these are supposed to be limited, kept in check and they are supposed to be predominantly beneficial bacterial strains that are transferred via mother to child during birth and during breast feeding.
These microbes that have overtaken the beneficial ones, such as fungi and pathologic bacterial strains produce toxins that creep into our bloodstream with disastrous effects.
You may of heard of Leaky Gut, or in medical terms, Increased Gut Permeability. This all takes place over time and slowly causes chronic inflammation, immune system activation (anyone heard of autoimmunity?) muscle cell impairment and degradation, neurotoxin (nerve toxin) buildup, metabolic poisons, oxidative stress, toxins/enzymes that use up our nutritional reserves and impair our normal metabolism of nutrients and of toxins.
This all adds up to, they will cause lots of havoc within our bodies!
Over time our coping mechanisms fail and we start to degrade and break down. The symptoms can seemingly be unrelated, but each system of our body reflects these poisons differently.
I guess we could say we are slowly being poisoned! I have heard patients tell me exactly that! Or, “I feel like I’m disappearing.”
Incidentally, these microbes make us crave the fuel they need to multiply, namely simple sugars, processed carbohydrates and dairy/milk sugars. So you guessed it, a carbohydrate restrictive, no grain diet is essential in getting these microbes back in check.
Eating a diet of meats, fish, poultry, eggs, non-starchy vegetables, nuts and seeds, avocados, and olives is easy to do and is highly nutritious.
A Paleolithic type diet is great to get the body back on track and give it a chance to purge the offending microbes. It is also highly nutritious and anti-inflammatory in nature.
So, is diet the only thing that is needed? It is one of the keys, but is usually only the beginning. Many different factors have to be investigated. People can end up with Fibromyalgia or a similar syndrome, but the road to ‘How they got there’, can be very different.
Again, the root must be uncovered. Is it a food sensitivity, digestive dysfunction, heavy metal burden, toxic burden or a nutrient deficiency? Or all of the above?
Patience must be considered and used when dealing with and changing the source of these debilitating syndromes.
Having the guidance and expertise of a trained Functional Medicine practitioner is the key to having the Auto-Immune disease, Fibromyalgia, solved.
Get off of the medicine cabinet treadmill. Live life again!