Searching for Fibromyalgia in NZ. Trying to find an expert? Sometimes finding specialised and local fibromyalgia treatment in NZ can be a challenge. Fibromyalgia is a type of fatigue that causes muscle pain and tenderness in both upper and lower body areas.
While some are diagnosed with fibromyalgia syndrome or FMS, their symptoms do not really fit all the criteria. They still have tiredness and sore muscles—but many other medical conditions related to chronic fatigue syndrome or CFS come with tiredness and pain.
Distinguishing Fibromyalgia Symptoms:
1. Multiple tender muscle (myofascial) points. Diagnosing pain can be tough, which is why experts often check for certain “tender points” in the human body when diagnosing fibromyalgia. When a patient is suffering from fibromyalgia, they have pain in at least 11 out of 18 trigger points within the body. Some experts, however, say that the trigger points are for categorisation and research purposes. A patient with pain in 10 trigger points cannot be excluded.
2. Disturbed sleep patterns. People with fibromyalgia also suffer from insomnia or difficulty falling asleep. Some even frequently wake up, but do not remember waking up and being interrupted during deep sleep. Other disorders like sleep apnoea and restless legs syndrome are associated with fibromyalgia as well.
3. Fatigue. Those suffering from fibromyalgia wake up day after day feeling drained of energy. They usually feel more tired in the morning and go back to sleep during the day to ease their fatigue. Patients also have trouble concentrating during the day, which is a common condition called “fibro fog”.
The causes for fibromyalgia are unknown, but certain issues are a need-to-know in FMS
- Thyroid dysfunction, some experts consider, to be the single most important factor while others disagree. It certainly needs to be looked into in every patient. The orthodox assessment of the TSH (Thyrotropin) is generally of little value but most doctors use it as the only criterion to exclude thyroid dysfunction.
The pituitary may be incapable of producing enough TSH so body cells may not then have the ability to respond even with ‘normal’ levels of thyroid hormones. This may explain why so many respond to additional thyroid hormone supplementation – under medical supervision.
- Sleep deprivation Sleep deprivation is an important issue in fibromyalgia. Any normal person consistently deprived of proper restorative sleep (non-REM) may also become fatigued and may develop muscle pains..
- Growth Hormone Growth Hormone deficiency is often associated with fibromyalgia. This hormone is important for sleep-time muscle repair and re-growth.
- Impaired brain neurotransmitter Brain neurotransmitter metabolism of serotonin and tryptophan also may be impaired. It is already known that when there is a drop in serotonin, sleep disturbances (non-REM) occur, as well as depression, increased body complaints, and increased perception of pain.
- Infection and immune disturbance – Infection and immune disturbance play a significant role and therefore open opportunity for treatments.
In the CFS-FMS spectrum, FMS patients have a worse response in terms of muscle pain activation, hence this becomes the dominant feature.
- Medical History and Timeline
- Physical Examination – specifically documenting Tender Points
- Mapping – a newer technique which by manually palpating all muscle groups one can map and record the tender bands of muscles. This can be more useful than the 18 tender points for monitoring response to treatments.
Refer to the CFS workup in the Downloads page.
Refer to the right Links Area for more information on theories on causation.
Books are written on the subject. I wont cover off this in detail as it depends entirely upon each individual case.
Suffice to say I believe from experience that hormonal imbalance is certainly if not a cause then a consequence and as such highly treatable. Some experts believe it IS the cause – triggered by past infections or toxic hormonal disruptors.
A brief summary which does need updating-
|FMS and Cell Energy||Cells don’t function properly. Mitochondria are the organelles inside each cell, which provide energy; they are impaired. FMS patients have ‘tired cells!||Certain supplements can target mitochondria, increasing their energy output.|
|FMS and low adrenal function||Chronic stress can deplete adrenal cortisol, aldosterone, and other mineralocorticosteroids – low blood pressure.||This has to be checked, and can be corrected.|
|FMS and low Thyroid function||Critical to body energy production|
|FMS and low Growth Hormone||Not uncommon, especially in females – leads to muscle pain and fatigue.||Measured as IGF-1. Easily treated, but expensive as injections. Oral forms of no proven benefit.|
|FMS and nutrient imbalances||Though rarely a cause, may contribute to severity.||Blood tests and hair analysis.|
|FMS and toxins||As FMS is a multisystem disorder, toxin/chemical sensitivity is common.||Follow liver detox protocols|
|FMS and digestive disorders||Same as with CFS||Full workup required, and dietary corrections.|
|FMS and sleep||Abnormal rhythms of sleep patterns occur. Melatonin and serotonin are important, and can be measured.||Melatonin is very useful in some, whereas, low does tricyclic drug can be very useful in other FMS patients.|
|FMS and allergies||Food and inhalants allergy can trigger inflammation.|
|FMS and infections||Increased susceptibility.||Antimicrobials may be required.|
Theories of causes ….
At this time many ‘authoritative’ explanations of the CFS-FMS spectrum have been published. This may strengthen the idea that there is no single cause, at least so far discovered.
In the Workup Section you will read of possible causes such as infections, gland disorders, toxic triggers and so on.
Maybe these are still consequences of an as yet undefined fault which allows such events to go unchecked by usual defence mechanisms and thus leading to an array of multi-cell, multiple organ failures. It could well be modern toxic accumulation affecting those genetically and dietary predisposed.
So should we be tackling the ‘end results’ or symptoms when the actual cause is unknown? Well of course, because this is a multi-organ disorder and attacking FMS from as many fronts as possible should limit or stop its progress.
Simple treatments like IV Vit C, perhaps other Oxidative treatments like Ozone and UVI (ultraviolet) will help many cases where suspected viral/microbial infections are present of have resulted in chronic inflammation/toxins still propagating in the body.
For more reading on FMS theories go to the right Links Area >>