How Do I Live with Fibromyalgia?
by Sue Peck RN, PhD, GNP-BC, CHTP/I
Having fibromyalgia can be a tough life to lead. No, it’s not all in your head! It’s not uncommon that the person with fibromyalgia symptoms has seen multiple health care providers and been told there really isn’t anything wrong with them. As a matter of fact, in the traditional health care system, the goal is to rule out diseases that are more serious or life-threatening first. When the tests come back “normal,” it’s reaffirming that there isn’t something life-threatening going on, but it doesn’t provide any answers either. Some are diagnosed with fibromyalgia while others are indeed told they need a counselor. But the person’s description of life with fibromyalgia can provide many clues as to a cause and to possible treatments.
There is new evidence that the combination of contributing factors for fibromyalgia are the result of genetic and biologic factors, triggers in the environment, and changes in the neurologic structures and pathways in the body. One person may have multiple causes. Categories of causes include stress wearing out the adrenal gland, low thyroid function, hormonal imbalance, sleep problems, build-up of yeast in the body, parasites and other infections in the bowel, sinuses, or other areas, long-term use of antibiotics, and nutritional deficiencies. A stressful event or period of life, an accident, a flulike illness, the job that won’t quit—these are examples of triggers that cause fibromyalgia symptoms to begin. The symptoms worsen over time as the person looks for ways to treat it. And all of these causes lead to pain and fatigue.
Painful muscle fibers are caused when the sensing and processing mechanisms in the brain are increased with fibromyalgia. New or continued stress heightens that pain. Exercise increases pain in some individuals but not in all. Hormonal changes lead to more inflammation in the body and contribute to the pain and fatigue. The hormonal changes that result affect the person’s ability to have a positive outlook on life. Who wouldn’t feel depressed living with that day in and day out!
Some people have been told by their health care provider that there isn’t anything that can be done and that they’ll have to learn to live with it. But the questions are, “How do I live with it?” and “With all we know, what do you mean we can’t find a cause?” Finding the cause, and working together to reduce or eliminate the cause, are the first steps in answering those questions, and hopefully getting rid of fibromyalgia.
A combination of further testing and treatments is available. Lab testing can look beyond the typical testing done for fibromyalgia. Lab tests may examine adrenal and thyroid gland function, hormonal levels, or the digestive enzymes in the person’s system (some foods cause inflammation or the person may have a sensitivity to certain foods; that inflammation causes pain). An extensive review of everything the person eats and drinks may be done. Effective treatments are available! Energy balancing (Healing Touch) is very effective in changing the life experience and decreasing pain. Brain balancing (chiropractic neurologist practice) to help the brain communicate with the muscles, body work (massage and related therapies) for pain and stiffness, traditional Chinese medicine therapies (acupuncture) to open communication pathways within the body, nutrition that prevents inflammation, and taking nutritional supports are just some of the therapies available to help you “live with it” and hopefully get rid of it! The testing and therapies available at Optima Health & Vitality will help you find the cause of your fibromyalgia and improve your health. A free 10-minute consultation can be set up to determine how we might help you. Please call 715-832-1953 and ask for an appointment with me. We look forward to working with you!