“FMS is a chronic, generalized syndrome characterized by diffuse soft-tissue pain & multiple tender points” (1)
That’s a tall order for a little blog, so I’ll offer links where I can to expound upon the ideas presented. If you are so inclined I have also included a works cited section for those of you who are super adventurous.
What is known about FMS:
- It’s the most common non-deforming rheumatic condition
- So far a single cause or cure is unknown.
- The causes are complex and have more than one body process functioning therefore there are many theories as to the exact cause.
- There are several conditions that are commonly associated with FMS whether they are a cause or are caused by FMS remains a hot debate between researchers. Some of these conditions are:
- · Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- · Allergy/Chemical Sensitivity: referred to as “allergic myalgia”
- · Anxiety
- · Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- · Depression
- · Dysregulation of brain function
- · Sleep Disorders
- · Thyroid Dysfunction
- · Trauma: commonly whiplash
- · Viral Infection
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) seem to be very closely linked, so close in fact that Leon Chaitow often links CFS while writing about the research into FMS.
So what causes fibromyalgia?
Researchers have been hypothesizing about causes for over 50 years and seem to have landed on a few different ideas with various degrees of support from other intelligent minds. The most likely hypothesis seems to be a genetic predisposition to the syndrome. Other hypotheses include:
- Altered biological rhythms: aka chronobiological hypothesis
- Negative effects resulting from an overstimulated immune system: aka Immune dysfunction
- Pain itself may be the cause of FMS: nociceptive hypothesis
- Cortisol deficiency: aka "Stress hormone deficiency"
- Thyroid hormone dysfunction
"Treatment is basically symptomatic. Our concept is to treat anything we can. If someone has (an) allergy er treat (the) allergy. If someone has sleep disturbance we treat it. If we can take 20% of the miseries away by giving someone restorative sleep and we can eliminate 20% of the symptoms by treating their allergy overlay, then they are 40% better and that's significant."
-N. Klimas 1994
Basically it's up to the person who suffers from FMS to find out what works for them and what symptom in particular is the most important to alleviate. Once one symptom has been successfully reduced or controlled the next can be addressed.
Most patients with FMS successfully use an overlap between mainstream medicine (with the doctors and the pills) and complementary/alternative health care (massage therapists, acupuncturists etc). What can be gathered from research is that just about any form of treatment, whether it by hypnotherapy, aerobic exercise, massage therapy, stress therapy, medication or nutritional supplements, help someone. All you have to do is try something but keep in mind that all forms of treatment should be seen as a form of stress to the body so start slow and see how the patient responds. (Article: Top Alternative Treatments for Fibromyalgia)(5)
So you've read this far. Are you wondering why I'm really into this topic?
My mom has fibromyalgia. I have also performed a clinical review of her case and over the last 10 years we have figured out what works for her and what does nothing. She has tried many different therapies over the years and has currently found her"magic recipe." This combination includes quitting smoking (yay mom!), stress management and bi-weekly chiropractic and massage visits (one treatment directly followed by the next). Her flare ups are typically linked to the weather, physical exertion and bad shoes.
The application of massage in a normal situation requires skill and these specialized skills are magnified during the treatment of FMS. Patients often request deep tissue work but this type of work is contraindicated (not allowed) when working with FMS due to the body seeing the work as an invasive stressor. Light to moderate work mixed with gentle myofascial release and lymphatic drainage are often used successfully.
Do You Have Fibromyalgia?
Then I highly suggest the addition of massage therapy to your regimen of treatment and see what a skilled massage therapist can do for you. If you have any questions I would be happy to answer them. Call or text 740-504-0044 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
2: Chaitow, Leon. Fibromyalgia Syndrome: A Practitioner's Guide to Treatment. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2000. Print.
3: "How to Diagnose Fibromyalgia." HOPE. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Feb. 2013.
4: Wolfe, Frederick, Daniel J. Clauw, Mary-Ann Fitzcharles, Don L. Goldenberg, Robert S. Katz, Philip Mease, Anthony S. Russell, I. Jon Russell, John B. Winfield, and Muhammad B. Yunus. "The American College of Rheumatology Preliminary Diagnostic Criteria for Fibromyalgia and Measurement of Symptom Severity." Arthritis Care & Research 62.5 (2010): 600-10. Print.
5: Jaffe, Anthony. "Alternative Treatment for Fibromyalgia Pain." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 14 Feb. 2013.