To be diagnosed with fibromyalgia a patient must meet the following three criteria:
1. Symptoms of pain/ stiffness/ tenderness must be present for at least three months
2. Other disorders that also explain a patient’s pain must be ruled out
3. A patient must have symptoms such as fatigue, brain fog and waking up tired
If you satisfy the following three criteria then you are eligible to be diagnosed with fibromyalgia, but you also must have four out of the following 8 symptoms:
1. Pain: The pain experienced is often worse in the morning and can include burning, sharp or throbbing.
2. Fatigue: The symptoms of fatigue can range from mild to incapacitating and can take the form of physical or mental fatigue
3. Headaches: Headaches are seen in around 50% of patients. These can be chronic or tension headaches that are triggered by things such as smells or a change in weather.
4. Upset sleep: It is not uncommon to hear patients say that they haven’t had a good night’s sleep in months.
5. Mood disturbances: Suffers note being more irritable and depressed compared to others.
6. Joint swelling: Arthritis like symptoms are common with some people reporting that they are not able to walk some days.
7. A tingling or numbness in areas: Numbness and tingling are often occur before or after in areas of pain.
8. Irritable bowel Syndrome: Over 50% of patients suffer from diarrhea, constipation and other gastrointestinal problems.
These symptoms may get worse when stressed, during physical activity or when the weather changes. These are just the most clinically significant complaints seen with fibromyalgia; however, there are many others. If this sounds like you then Dr. Mason-Wood can help!
Fibromyalgia has taken the place of Chronic Fatigue syndrome (CFS) as the diagnosis of choice for a group of mental and physical complaints that most doctors cannot link to one another. There is a great amount of overlap between the symptoms experienced in fibromyalgia and CFS. The difference is that the main complaint of fibromyalgia is pain and the main complaint of CFS is fatigue.
• There are no blood tests or imaging tests that are used to diagnose fibromyalgia.
• The cause of fibromyalgia is unknown; however, recent research suggests that there are neural, metabolic, biochemical and immunoregulatory abnormalities in individuals suffering from fibromyalgia.
• There is also a strong genetic component to fibromyalgia, but the environment still needs to trigger the disorder.
• Around 5% of the population suffers from fibromyalgia (10).
• The majority (80-90%) of those affected are women who develop this syndrome during middle age (10).
Some in conventional medicine do not believe fibromyalgia exists because there are no diagnostic tests that can detect it. At best conventional medicine treats the symptoms and numbs patients’ pain. In the end patients are taking multiple pharmaceuticals that in the end do more harm than good. Painkillers are prescribed to numb the pain, but there is no evidence showing they are affective and they can damage the body and promote dependence. Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) are used to reduce inflammation; however, there are many serious side effects to taking this class of drugs (5). Antidepressants are given to relax a patient and enable them to sleep, while effective, a cocktail of different drugs need to be given to see effects. Antidepressants can lead to dulled emotions, dependence and patients report not feeling like themselves. Benzodiazepines are used to relax muscles and stabilize the brain, but they are very addictive and only given as a last resort.
Naturopathic medicine is suited to treat fibromyalgia because Naturopathic Doctors don’t view patients as a set of symptoms; instead they look at the patient as a whole entity. This is important for treating fibromyalgia because many of the symptoms presenting themselves are often seen as unconnected; this means there must be a deeper underlying cause to these seemingly unrelated symptoms. The underlying cause is what Naturopathic Doctors will treat, but is something conventional medicine ignores or believes does not exist. In addition, Naturopathic doctors will never recommend a treatment that may help the body in one aspect, but harm the body in other ways. We have successfully treated many patients suffering with fibromyalgia. The most common therapies utilized to treat fibromyalgia are:
Fibromyalgia is a complex condition that requires a complex approach to be treated. It is not the case that the cause of your fibromyalgia is the same as others and so you need a treatment plan that is unique to you. Contact Natural Terrain Naturopathic clinic today to book an appointment with Dr. Mason-Wood.