Taking a Natural Approach to Fibromyalgia

Symptoms of fibromyalgia include:

  • Chronic muscle painmuscle spasms, or tightness
  • Moderate or severe fatigue and decreased energy
  • Insomnia or waking up feeling just as tired as when you went to sleep
  • Stiffness upon waking or after staying in one position for too long
  • Difficulty remembering, concentrating, and performing simple mental tasks (“fibro fog”)
  • Abdominal painbloatingnausea, and constipation alternating with diarrhea (irritable bowel syndrome)
  • Tension or migraine headaches
  • Jaw and facial tenderness
  • Sensitivity to one or more of the following: odors, noise, bright lights, medications, certain foods, and cold
  • Feeling anxious or depressed
  • Numbness or tingling in the face, arms, hands, legs, or feet
  • Increase in urinary urgency or frequency (irritable bladder)
  • Reduced tolerance for exercise and muscle pain after exercise
  • A feeling of swelling (without actual swelling) in the hands and feetIf the condition is not diagnosed and treated early, symptoms can go on indefinitely, or they may disappear for months and then recur.If you feel some of the above listed symptoms, you might have fibromyalgia, which is actually good news, as the underlying conditions are treatable.Treating symptoms does not take care of you and your body. Focus needs to be on treating the cause(s). Today’s medical system concentrates instead on treating symptoms, often with extremely toxic medications, such as the drug Lyrica, used to treat nerve pain.
  • Fibromyalgia symptoms may intensify depending on the time of day — morning, late afternoon, and evening tend to be the worst times. Symptoms may also get worse with fatigue, tension, inactivity, changes in the weather, cold or drafty conditions, overexertion, hormonal fluctuations (such as just before your period or during menopause), stress, depression, or other emotional factors.
  • The pain of fibromyalgia is not due to the overstimulation of nerve endings, is neither an inflammatory condition nor an autoimmune disease. It is caused by the buildup of lactic acid in muscle tissue and tendon sheaths. It is the same pain referred to as “muscle burn” by athletes who work out. To eliminate the pain of fibromyalgia, one has to prevent the buildup of lactic acid, which, in turn, is accomplished by treating the underlying cause(s) of this condition.
  • There is no simple, one-size-fits-all underlying cause of fibromyalgia, but all causes share common factors. For example, the only situation that creates a buildup of lactic acid is persistent muscle tension over a certain amount of time. There are a number of things that can lead to muscle tension, one being the internalization of anger that can be an extremely powerful emotion. If not released, it’s internalized creating persistent muscle tension, producing the buildup of lactic acid.

There appear to be two major sources of anger: An extremely stressful relationship – walking on eggshells;” caregiving a family member, requiring putting one’s own life on hold or other difficult to control life situations. The second is a lot more common, though often unrecognized as a source of anger, it is a lot easier to address. The most common underlying cause of fibromyalgia is the presence of excess adrenaline.

Adrenaline is known as the fight-or-flight hormone. It is extremely powerful and capable of creating intense anger such as “road rage.” (Discussion here is the interrelationship between adrenaline and fibromyalgia, but be aware that this hormone is also the underlying cause of many other conditions.)

The pain of fibromyalgia is caused by a buildup of lactic acid from constant muscle tension.

  • Again, this can be caused by anger from certain interpersonal relationships or from the release of excess adrenaline. Contributing to the buildup is the tension of the muscles compressing small veins—venules—which carry lactic acid out of muscles.
  • At the same time, muscle tension similarly compresses lymphatic vessels that also function to remove lactic acid from muscles, creating a situation where the lactic acid is continuously building up, but is not able to be drained.

Persistent muscle tension is responsible for the constant fatigue in fibromyalgia patients

Muscle tension is also responsible for other symptoms associated with this condition, such as temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ)—which causes pain and dysfunction in the jaw—the grinding of teeth, restless leg syndrome (RLS)—unpleasant sensations in the legs and an uncontrollable urge to move them—and occipital neuritis, which is a headache often confused with a migraine because of its severe pain radiating from the base of the skull to the back of the eye.

  • If one is able to accept that excess adrenaline is the underlying cause of many cases of fibromyalgia, then one can easily postulate that the lowering of adrenaline can actually remedy this condition—and it is. Additionally, eliminating those stresses caused by the actions of other people can also rid the fibromyalgia in the body caused by unfortunate life situations.
  • It might not be easy getting rid of an abusive spouse, arranging caretakers for a family member, or even separating from a pet that causes anger, but the health rewards are worth pursuing these changes.

To lower adrenaline levels, we must first understand why the body overproduces this hormone.

  • Up until a certain time in history, the body only produced excess adrenaline in times of danger.
  • It allowed people to either face the danger or run away from it—the fight-or-flight response.
  • Such a physical response lasted only a few minutes, and as soon as the danger passed, the adrenaline level returned to normal. Today, however, there are people who release adrenaline all day and night without being in danger. So why is this?

It is important to understand that the brain uses more sugar than any other part of the body.

  • When sugar is taken away from the brain, the brain falls asleep. This is commonly referred to as hypoglycemia. People often get sleepy between 3 and 4 p.m., when insulin levels peak.
  • When insulin goes up, blood sugar goes down. Some people get hypoglycemic after eating, simply because food stimulates the release of insulin (some foods more than others). It is also not unusual for people to get sleepy in a car, either as a driver or as a passenger.
  • The reason for this is that the brain uses up a lot of fuel when a person is riding in a car. From a survival standpoint, the body always wants to make sure the brain has enough fuel.

Thus, any time the body detects a low amount of fuel in the brain it releases adrenaline to raise sugar levels. It is a process called gluconeogenesis, mediated by the sympathetic nervous system, and allows for the conversion of protein into sugar.

Now it is possible to visualize how fibromyalgia can be significantly improved simply by providing the brain with the necessary fuel to prevent the need for releasing adrenaline.

  • Generally speaking, it only takes about 24 hours to significantly reduce adrenaline. This reduction causes a relaxation of muscle tension and an improvement in circulation, which allows for the elimination of excess lactic acid.
  • The best sugar for the brain can be found in green vegetables. However, the best fuels for the brain are those oils that create ketone bodies in the brain, such as coconut oil or palm oil.
  • By incorporating these foods into your diet, you should notice a reduction in symptoms of excess adrenaline fairly rapidly. The other major component needed for reducing adrenaline is using bio-identical progesterone cream with a strength of 5 percent (50 mg) per pump—the amount required to block adrenaline and control insulin.
  • Additionally, ancillary aids to help with the symptoms of fibromyalgia include d-ribose, magnesium, coenzyme Q10, and certainly a high dose of vitamin D3 (10,000 to 15,000 IU per day), along with vitamin K2 (MK-7).

Generally speaking, use of these methods often leads to a release from fibromyalgia in

three days to three weeks.

  • Investigate more. See a practitioner familiar with knowledge on how to get you well, now. I
  • f you are unable to see a doctor right away, there is a “Fibromyalgia Specialist” online computer program to help evaluate your symptoms (and if you have them available even your lab tests) to determine the likely causes of your CFS and fibromyalgia.
  • It will tailor a mix of natural and prescription therapies to your specific case.
  • This way you can get started on your own with the natural therapies and discuss the few prescriptions you might need with your family physician. This program can be found at endfatigue.com.

Following is some of the newest research, as well as the important area of treating food and other toxicities/ sensitivities:

  • The Methylation protocol. It appears that a subset of people with ME/CFS * and fibromyalgia have a biochemical defect in what is called the “Methylation cycle” which makes it very difficult to maintain energy production.
  • This defect can be treated with a special nutritional protocol initially proposed by Amy Yasko for treating autism and developed further by two ME/ CFS and fibromyalgia researchers—Rich Van Konynenburg, PhD, and Neil Nathan, MD.
  • Nathan discusses the Methylation protocol in Chapter 14 of his new book On Hope and Healing (Et Alia Press, 2010). He recommends the protocol be done under a holistic physician’s supervision as it may sometimes initially flare symptoms. The problem is that very few physicians are even familiar with it.
  • Nathan notes that “what is most important is that we have recently shown that the use of tiny doses of very specific combinations of vitamin B-12 and folic acid has resulted in significant improvement in patients with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue.” He completed two studies with this protocol finding that 70 percent of his patients improved within three months, 20 percent reported they were “much better, occasionally to the point of feeling completely free of symptoms. In the second study of 30 patients, the average improvement was rated by our patients as 48 percent.”

AntiviralsAnother exciting new research explores different viruses and using different antivirals in a subset of ME/CFS patients. Some of the most exciting, and controversial, research is exploring the presence of XMRV/MLV virus in ME/CFS and fibromyalgia. Studies are still ongoing, but keep your eyes peeled for more information in the coming year.

Diet.  A subset of people with fibromyalgia has severe food and other sensitivities. When you treat the candida and low adrenal levels, I have found that food allergies often go away. In those where they persist, or in patients who can’t take anything,—even natural remedies— because they have severe sensitivities, a simple but powerful treatment holds great promise.

NAET. The Nambudripad Allergy Elimination Technique uses a mix of muscle testing and a special acupressure approach to eliminate sensitivities. I have found this so remarkable that our foundation designed and funded a study using NAET for autism, which was recently accepted for publication. In this study, 23 of the 30 children in the active treatment group were back in regular schools at the conclusion of one year of treatment as opposed to 0 of 30 in the untreated control group. We often see similarly dramatic results in fibromyalgia and ME/CFS patients with severe sensitivities. NAET was developed by Devi Nambudripad, MD, PhD, LAc. Although some patients are also sensitive to hormones, chemicals, and sometimes even spouses, Nambudripad focuses on treating the food sensitivities. She says “we focus on treating 10 key food allergens first. There are over 50 groups of foods that patients must be tested for however. Once sensitivities to these foods are cleared, the patient can eat them and usually feels much better.” More than 12,000 NAET practitioners worldwide can be found at naet.com.

RiboseA special energy nutrient called ribose was shown in a recent study to increase energy an average of 61 percent after only three weeks. D-Ribose is an outstanding nutrient (a special sugar—even OK for those who need to avoid sugar). In addition to its role in making DNA and RNA, Ribose is the key building block for making energy. After an initial study in our research center showed an average 45 percent increase in energy in fibromyalgia patients who took ribose. A larger study was undertaken (and has been submitted for publication). In the study, 257 Patients with ME/CFS and fibromyalgia at 53 health practitioner offices were given 5 g of ribose three times per day for three weeks.

The effects were amazing:

  • an average 61.3 percent had an increase in energy
  • an average improvement in overall well-being of 37 percent
  • Sleep improved on average by 29.3 percent
  • Mental clarity improved by an average of 30 percent* Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME)/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), also known chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS), is a complex and debilitating chronic disease with a serious impact on one’s quality of life )





by Linda Slater-Dowling