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Guest Post: Fibromyalgia - it's real by Alyssa Reid

Posted on by Kathryn O'Hara

Fibromyalgia.  It’s real.  The UK government recognises it as a long-term chronic illness with widespread pain and fatigue as the main symptoms – but it has over 200 co-existing conditions and other symptoms. For many of us, following research in regards to this illness is just as baffling as the condition itself. Let’s look at a bit more about fibromyalgia – what we know – and what you may not know (and what is really critical in getting answers and help).

Fibromyalgia is an Epidemic

Fibromyalgia has actually reached almost epidemic proportions – with an estimated 10 million people in the US having this illness alone – and with no real answers or treatments coming from Western medical research and doctors.

The answer seems to be – that there isn’t any one particular answer to this highly elusive condition – at least not from the Western medicine point of view - other than the fact that millions of people have been diagnosed with it and an estimated 5% of the population has fibromyalgia – primarily women, but affecting men and children from all ethnicities. In the UK there has been no statistical evidence given based on the fact that there is no standardised testing and the condition is so poorly understood.

In comparison, multiple sclerosis (MS) affects 2.5 million people globally - yet, MS research, fundraising, charities and knowledge of the disease is much more prevalent than fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia has also been the brunt of many jokes.  I remember watching the movie with Melissa McCarthy – Identity Thief – when she’s in a little fender bender of an accident, getting out of the car and saying, ‘Oh, my fibromyalgia’ and rubbing her neck.  Things like this certainly don’t help. For many, we struggle with the tagline of this being ‘lazy person’s disease’.  When in fact, most of us are the exact opposite – we are high achievers who have been brought down by a nasty illness with no tests to prove its existence - and we’re desperate to feel better again and get our lives back to ‘normal’ (whatever that is!).

Research is Not Conclusive

There’s research showing that fibromyalgia is related to small fiber neuropathy (with no treatment options). Other research carried out in the UK by Dr John McBeth, of the Arthritis Research UK Primary Care Centre at Keele University has found that the onset of widespread pain – a key symptom of fibromyalgia – is connected to non-restorative sleep (where you wake up feeling tired and not refreshed).

As well, research showed an increase in anxiety, poor physical health and memory impairment were connected to an increase of older adults experiencing widespread pain. This is why getting a good night’s sleep is really critical to our overall health.

There’s also research suggesting that a diet where there is a sugar and gluten intolerance is a key aspect – and SIBO – Small Intestinal Bacteria Overgrowth and Leaky Gut Syndrome are the main causes. Toxic overload has a huge role to play in this.  And then there is the pathogen issue – bacteria, viruses, toxins, fungus, vaccines, heavy metals including mercury poisoning – which is also part of toxic overload…And this is just a few examples of some research studies.  None of which have provided answers for treatment.

Specialists in Fibromyalgia?

In the UK, we are generally (eventually) sent to a rheumatologist.  After months (years!) of waiting to see a specialist to get an answer, we finally see the rheumatologist, who concludes that it’s fibromyalgia.

Here’s some eye watering numbers…

In Canada, 55% of rheumatologists in Ontario think fibromyalgia is psychosomatic; 71% don’t think rheumatologists should manage it.  (But the question really is – what expert is in a position to actually provide assistance and help for patients? Hint:  The answer is further down in this article…). 

Feeling SO Alone…

I think one of the biggest issues that we face with fibromyalgia is that we feel so alone.  Invisible illness IS lonely.  The whole, ‘but you look great’ scenario is far too common – it’s amazing what a whack of makeup and a plastered on smile can do – meanwhile, inside we are falling to pieces.

The important thing is to know that you (we!) are not alone.  That there is support.  Facebook and the internet provides us with a plethora of communities as well as information.  It’s so important to reach out and talk about what you are going through. 

Nobody Will Understand You

One thing that I do wish to impart to you, is this - nobody is going to UNDERSTAND what you are going through.  They are not you.  They may have knowledge of what you are experiencing (to a certain degree), but everybody experiences their health issues differently.  Comprehending this is really important. Don’t expect people to ‘get it’.  Because most of them simply won’t.

Relationships can be highly affected by this illness.  Bottom line is that you are not the person that you once were - however – you are the person you are now!  And that means that it is important to surround yourself with people that are caring and supportive. 

Some Answers

Many people with fibromyalgia would rattle if shaken, due to the concoction of meds for insomnia, pain, depression/anxiety, and and and… And then there are even more pills - due to the side effects caused by some of these medications. (For example, people taking pain killers such as opiates tend to require more medications for the nausea, itching, stomach problems, insomnia…). 

There are 3 approved meds for fibromyalgia – and when you start doing the research, you find that they are actually providing relief for under 10% of users. However, none of these drugs are actually resolving the root issues.  They are simply reducing symptoms (and creating other issues long term…).

Unfortunately, for many of us, we just keep on taking these medications in the hopes that they are ‘helping a little bit’.  Problem is that we are really screwing our bodies up with these chemicals – and the bigger problem is that we are desperate for some sort of relief and get to the stage where we don’t care and have lost a lot of hope. Sad, but true. Thing is that many of these drugs are increasing toxicity load, causing all sorts of horrid side effects and making us EVEN SICKER.

However!  There is HOPE and there is HELP!  But this means that you need to step outside the box that is Western medicine for the most part.  It also means investing in your health.  (But if you don’t who else is going to?!).

Help is Available…

When we look at toxic overload syndrome, SIBO and leaky gut syndrome, (from toxic overload) this is where we also start getting many answers.  Fatigue.  Chronic pain and inflammation.  Brain fog. IBS. Skin sensitivity and many other issues are at play here in regards to damaged mitochondria.

Then there is also the issue of being highly deficient in important supplements such as magnesium.  Magnesium deficiency symptoms also read like those of fibromyalgia. Pain, fatigue, heart palpitations, depression and anxiety, IBS, migraines and headaches? All magnesium deficiency symptoms. 

For more information on magnesium deficiency, go here.

Functional Medicine is the Way Forward

Functional medicine deals with finding the ROOT problems and addresses them. 

Google ‘functional doctor’ or ‘holistic medicine’ for your area.  In saying this, I believe that Dr Christopher Pickard has an incredible wealth of not only information about fibromyalgia – and what it really is – but also a lot of success in treating it and many other illnesses, too.

Dr. Pickard has over 21 years experience in dealing with hundreds of fibromyalgia patients and he looks at the following issues:

  1. Nutritional deficiencies and intolerances (diet)
  2. Physical injury
  3. Nervous system toxicity
  4. Acidity in the body

Dr Pickard does the correct tests in regards to healing mechanisms and they can be done anywhere in the world.  One of which you can do in 5 minutes from the comfort of your home – which looks at the health of your nervous system and biotoxins.

The test is free (or by donation) and is done online.  This is really important!  Biotoxins are a huge issue that is imperative to address in regards to getting answers – and getting better.

https://www.vcstest.com  Use Dr Christopher Pickard as the referral name.  This test tells whether toxins have reached your nervous system as well as nutritional levels.

Dr Pickard and many functional medicine practitioners have amazing procedures that they implement in regards to getting the nervous system healthy, reduce cellular inflammation, increase mitochondria therapy and bring your body back to normality and healing.

You can find Dr Pickard at www.thepainreliefcentres.co.uk

Sleep Well

The other imperative thing that you can do to make a difference in your health is to ensure that you are getting a good, refreshing sleep and waking up in less vs more pain. 

According to the Sleep Council, we should be replacing our mattresses every 7 years – and that is based on ‘normal’ use. For many of us struggling with fibromyalgia, our beds have become the place we spend the most time – therefore, having a proper, supportive mattress that suits our requirements is critical to our health and wellbeing.

The N:rem Sleep System is truly revolutionary in regards to positioning the individualised tablets based on the firmness of the foam for your requirements (and that of your sleep buddy’s). This mattress system has been designed specifically for chronic pain people and is making a huge difference for those using this mattress.  On top of this, they have a great payment plan at £38 per month (And investing in a mattress for your health is a pretty awesome investment to make!).

In Conclusion

Fibromyalgia is not only real, it has reached epidemic levels. Functional medicine is looking at the body as a whole and individually – and through investigating and detecting issues, individualised (and successful) treatment is occurring for patients with fibromyalgia.  Part of the issue with fibromyalgia also is in regards to reducing pain and fatigue, of which a good mattress like the N:rem sleep system can help address.

Resources

FibroMapp App- track, monitor, record and create reports for pain, sleep, medications, fatigue, mood, flare-ups and more. Download reports for your doctor/benefits. Journal function, too. www.fibromapp.com and for blogs on fibromyalgia/pain management www.fibromapp.com/blog/

Facebook Fibromyalgia Community - https://www.facebook.com/FibromyalgiaCfsmeApp/

Fibromyalgia Association UK (FMAUK)www.fmauk.org

Arthritis Research - http://www.arthritisresearchuk.org/arthritis-information/conditions/fibromyalgia/symptoms.aspx

UK Fibromyalgia - http://ukfibromyalgia.com/

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