What Is Fibromyalgia (FMS)?
Fibromyalgia is a syndrome that involves widespread
pain in the muscles and joints. In 1990 the American College of Rheumatology published its
criteria for diagnosis of fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) as an official diagnosis. This
effects millions of people, especially women which make up 9 out of 10 of those
It is is a common chronic widespread pain condition with tenderness at specifically defined points. Pain
is often felt very
intensely throughout the body.
Other problems include general fatigue, depression, anxiety, sleep
headaches, menstrual irregularities, migraine, changeable bowel habits, diffuse abdominal pain and urinary
Fibromyalgia is believed to be a pain amplification
syndrome where the brain amplifies the pain signals. Often the
symptoms will trigger after a physical trauma like a car or other
accident or after an emotional trauma. There are several schools of
thought the differ with medical practitioners in how fibromyalgia develops. Some
believe that fibromyalgia is thyroid related or viral related or hormonal
related. Some believe that thyroid dysfunction can be
linked to fibromyalgia and thyroid hormone resistance.
Fibromyalgia is a legitimate, common entity. It is a cyclic and progressive
disease which affects millions of patients, primarily women, regardless of
race. Manifested by multiple symptoms that may initially last only a few days,
it eventually progresses to affect multiple areas and bodily systems until
patients simply cycle from bad days to worse days. Though patients feel more
symptoms and get sicker over time, fibromyalgia is considered non-progressive
because there is no tissue damage associated with the disease. Fibromyalgia is a
confusing word for a confusing illness. The name means pain in muscles and
tissues but pain is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the list of
symptoms. Some patients with fibromyalgia experience more fatigue than pain. In
fact, a system-wide dearth of energy is the common denominator of all the many
symptoms of the disease.
Health Organization recognized Fibromyalgia as a real illness, accepting the
American College of Rheumatology’s criteria for diagnosis, in 1991. Prior to
that time it had been known by other names including Fibrositis and Rheumatism.
At this time the cause is unknown and there are no completely accepted
treatments though many drugs are prescribed to ease the symptoms.
are often referred from one doctor to another, and may be told that they have chronic
fatigue, systemic candidiasis, myofascial pain, irritable bowel, or vulvar pain
syndrome to name a few. Too often, physician and person focus on symptoms
and fail to perceive the much larger problem. These dead-end diagnoses result in
the treatment of symptoms which is only partially effective and at the same time
ignores the underlying cause and the disease that continues to worsen over
time. Unlucky patients are still told that there is nothing wrong with them and
labeled as hypochondriacs. Though it is now less common, there are still
physicians who believe fibromyalgia is a wastebasket diagnosis and not a real
entity. It must be said that at this time if there is a commonly accepted
treatment protocol it is polypharmacy: heaping medications upon medications and
adding more to combat side effects. For many patients this is simply an
unacceptable life sentence.
American College of Rheumatology criteria recommends searching for tender points
at eighteen predetermined sites on the body to establish a diagnosis of
fibromyalgia. Finding eleven or more will result in a positive diagnosis.
However some patients simply have higher pain thresholds so while they complain
of body aches or stiffness, they focus mainly on fatigue and cognitive
impairments. These so-called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients suffer from the
same metabolic abnormality. Since pain perception varies greatly, we urge
physicians to seek objective evidence instead of the purely subjective response
to variably tender points. The confirmation of fibromyalgia is far more secure
when using our method of palpation that we call mapping (see here for
an example). In response to this criticism of tender points, some doctors will
now also question patients from a list of symptoms and may make the diagnosis
based on that. Still others criticize the loosening of diagnostic criteria as
an excuse for drug companies to sell more of the three drugs currently approved
for fibromyalgia. Drug company recognition has been a double-edged sword.
Fibromyalgia has no set symptoms and many combinations from the following list
Nervous System: Fatigue, irritability, nervousness, depression,
apathy, listlessness, impaired memory and concentration, anxieties and
suicidal thoughts. Insomnia and frequent awakening due to pain result in non
Musculoskeletal: Pain and
generalized morning stiffness could arise from muscles, tendons, ligaments
and fascia of the shoulders, neck, entire back, hips, thighs, knees, ankles,
feet, inner and outer elbows, wrists, fingers, and chest. Injured or old
operative sites are commonly affected. Though fibromyalgia is described as a
“non-articular” disease many know better: Joint pains with or without
swelling, redness and heat are frequent. The litany includes foot or calf
cramps, numbness and tingling of the face or extremities.
Bowel: Often called leaky gut,
spastic colon or mucous colitis or
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Symptoms include nausea often brief,
repetitive waves, indigestion, gas, bloating, pain, cramps, constipation
alternating with diarrhea and sometimes mucous stools.
are pungent urine, frequent urination, bladder spasms, burning urination (dysuria)
with or without repeated bladder infections and
interstitial cystitis. Vulvodynia (vulvar pain syndrome) includes
vaginal spasms, irritation of the vaginal lips (vulvitis) or opening (vestibulitis)
and painful intercourse (dyspareunia). It typically mimics a yeast infection
but without the cottage-cheese discharge. Intense PMS and uterine cramping
are common. Symptoms of fibromyalgia are worse premenstrual.
Dermatological: Various rashes may appear
with or without itching: Hives, red blotches, itchy bumps or blisters,
eczema, seborrheic or neurodermatitis, and rosacea. Nails are often brittle
and of poor quality and hair falls out prematurely. Strange sensations are
common such as cold, heat (especially palms, soles and thighs), crawling,
electric vibrations, prickling, super-sensitivity to touch, and flushing
that is sometimes accompanied by sweating.
Ear, Nose, and Throat: Headaches (migraines), dizziness, vertigo
(spinning) or imbalance; dry eyes as well as itching and burning with or
without sticky or crusty discharge upon awakening; blurred vision; nasal
congestion and post-nasal drip; painful, burning tongue, mouth and abnormal
tastes (scalded, bad or metallic); ringing in the ears (tinnitus) or
lower-pitched sounds; ear and eyeball pain; sensitivity to light, sounds and
Symptoms: Weight gain; low grade fever; lowered immunity to
infections; morning eyelid and hand swelling from fluid retention that
gravitates to the lower extremities by evening where it stretches tissues
causing the restless leg syndrome.
Syndrome: This is a separate entity. Thirty percent of female and
twenty percent of male fibromyalgics suffer both conditions (fibroglycemia).
Symptoms greatly overlap those of fibromyalgia, but sugar craving
accompanied by tremors, sweating, anxiety, panic attacks, heart pounding,
faintness, and frontal headaches, especially if hunger induced, are solid
clues to the diagnosis. Hypoglycemics must follow a prescribed diet or
recovery will not be complete even with the reversal of fibromyalgia. (See Hypoglycemia for
infection or stress can aggravate or tip susceptible individuals into
fibromyalgia but are not the basic causes. It is generally accepted now as
an inherited disease and preliminary results from the research team at City of
Hope support this belief. They have treated family members that spanned three
generations including four two-year-olds as well as patients who became
symptomatic only in their seventies. This age spread strongly suggests a
multi-genetic disease in various combinations. Boys and girls suffer equally
before puberty but females predominate (85% to 15%) thereafter. Forty percent of
our patients recall "growing pains" in childhood that disappeared during the
true growth spurt of puberty. Untreated fibromyalgia ultimately leads to a
"tartar of joints" that we recognize as osteoarthritis.
has approved three drugs to treat some symptoms of Fibromyalgia: Lyrica,
Cymbalta, and Savella. Each of these was initially used for other conditions but
was shown to be better than placebo (no medications at all) in reducing pain.
Each has a number of side effects and many patients cannot tolerate them. A
group called Cure Together polled 1,144 patients with Fibromyalgia to rate these
drugs, among other treatments. They were surprised to find that patients
rated Lyrica, Cymbalta, and Savella as making their Fibromyalgia worse, not
better, rating rest and heat as more effective.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic disease and will require life-style changes. The good
news is that you can still lead a full life and control most of your symptoms at
least most of the time. You can turn your health around. It will require
taking charge of your health and getting into the best possible shape that you
can and taking care of yourself each and every day.
Fibromyalgia symptoms can
intensify depending on the time of day -- morning, late afternoon and evening
tend to be the worst times. Symptoms may also get worse with many factors.
This includes fatigue, tension, inactivity, changes in the weather,
cold or drafty conditions, overexertion, hormonal fluctuations such as
before your period, or in menopause, STRESS or other emotional factors like
grief or trauma. Many people report that their fibromyalgia symptoms
started after a car accident.
These are the main symptoms and issues related to
Fibromyalgia and can include other diagnoses:
Aconite Sudden onset of severe pains after exposure to dry cold winds. Worse
every movement, in warm room at night; thirsty, restless, touchy, scared.
For burning, stinging, stitching pains, whole back feels tired and bruised.
Worse heat and least movement; restless, irritable, depressed, wants to be
uncovered and cool.
Arnica Pain in the body that feels bruised and sore.
Pain worse after
exertion. Bed feels too hard. Soreness and bruised feeling is worse
if the part is lain upon. Spine very sensitive; spasms in muscles
of neck and back; feels bruised, as if 'bed too hard'; WORSE from movement
but has to keep moving; morose, irritable. Arnica is a good general remedy to start treatment of
fibromyalgia with homeopathy for generalized pain.
Belladonna violent cutting or tearing pains, in neck, spine
or hips. walks restlessly to and fro in search of ease. Worse when at rest;
blazing hot, bellicose, bed seems to be 'surging up and down'.
Bryonia Pain worse for the
slightest movement.Heat makes
the pain worse Pain is better from pressure on the painful part.
Pains in nape, back, limbs; after exposure to dry cold, especially east
winds; better from heat; worse from least movement; anxious, ill-at-ease,
peevish, great thirst for large amounts at long intervals.
Calcarea Phosphorica Stiffness and pain in cervical region. Weakness of memory.
Difficult comprehension and concentration. Worse cold, wet weather,
drafts, especially melting snow. Worse change of weather. Worse from mental
exertion, stress. Carpal tunnel syndrome. Numbness, tingling.
Carcinosin Weariness and fatigue; never well since
Mononucleosis; insomnia. Lies in bed knee to elbow, or arms above head.
Better being occupied, open air; worse physical exertion, approach of a
storm. Sensitive, passionate, fastidious, rebellious, sympathetic, strong
sense of duty, authority problems.
Causticum Soreness, weakness and stiffness.Worse with exertion and cold. Better for
warm applications and being warm in bed. The muscles of the legs
can feel contracted and sore. The person may have restless legs at
night. Worse in dry weather. Drawing and tearing pains in limbs,
especially at back of knee, with stiffness or weakness; lower limbs very
restless at night. Worse from extreme heat or overuse.
Sensation of tearing or burning pain, better with heat. Pain is better when it rains.
Better in warm moist weather. Worse cold winds, draughts and taking coffee.
For pain, soreness and stiffness are mostly in the neck and
upper back muscles. Pain could have followed after an injury such as a
car accident. Pain is worse for
cold or drafts. Symptoms are often accompanied by headaches on the top of
the head or radiating up from the neck.
Pains drive from bed at night to walk the floor. Arms 'go to sleep' when
grasping objects. Temper in a turmoil, nothing is right. Pains are
Dulcamara Pains are tearing, shooting pains in arms and legs. Symptoms rought on and
made worse by cold, damp conditions. Fibromyalgia pains would alternate with
indigestion and at times with skin rashes. Better in warm and dry weather.
Better when she was active and moving.
Gelsemium Pain with heaviness and weakness, often with tired limbs. Anticipation
anxiety. Blurred vision. Person feels dull and droopy. Frequent
urination. Excessive heat aggravates the pain. Worse lying down.
Better with massage.
Hypericum For unbearable prickly pain that radiates along nerve pathways, also
called neuropathy. Pain is worse with movement. Pain is
touched. Very helpful for painful extremities.
Kalmia latifolia Severe shooting pains in muscles, accompanied by numbness or cold sensation.
Kali Bich. Wandering pains, felt especially in fingers and wrists; pain at bottom
of spine when sitting. Worse cold air, when snow is melting, 2 a.m. to 5
a.m.; cross and listless.
Kali Carb Stitching cutting pains, often stabbing while at rest; pains extending
up and down back and into thighs; WORSE walking; on attempting to walk feels
as if 'back would break'; firm pressure in small of back gives RELIEF;
irritable, touchy, can't stand noise.
Lachesis Pain on left, moves from left to right. Loquacity (talkativeness),
passionate and can be jealous. Prone to sore throats or glandular infections.
Aggravated by hot weather.
Breast pain with armpit glands enlarged. Joints painful and weak; rheumatic
affections. Nausea. Salivation. Discouraged, lazy, sarcastic, memory loss.
Aversion to exercise. Pains move around. Pains worse from motion, cold,
Ledum Pains which shift rapidly and spread centrally; associated with great
stiffness. Better from cold. Worse from heat, movement, after sitting still
for a while, least pressure.
Nux Vomica Pains which come on after a wetting, or overexertion, especially in
lower part of back; hurts to turn in bed; muscles seem paralyzed; cramps in
calves or soles at night; WORSE dry cold, before rain, first thing in a.m.;
RELIEF when rain actually falling, firm pressure, towards end of day.
Cramps in upper arms and wrists; heavy forearms. Stumbles
easily. Weakness and debility. Pains in limbs at night as if bones were
scraped. Better warmth, after short sleep; worse grief, loss of vital
fluids, talking. Apathetic, despair, homesick. Mental dullness; effects of
grief and mental shock.
Nerve problems start from the fingers or toes and mover along limbs. Arms
and hands numb. Hands weak. Joints give way suddenly. Sharp pains in elbows
and shoulders. Weakness and trembling. Heat between shoulder blades.
Oversensitive, impressionable, clairvoyant, sensitive to dark and
thunderstorms. Wants sympathy. Emotionally open and sensitive person, very sympathetic to
others. Fear of dark. Worse twilight. Craves fruit salt and
chocolate. Nose bleeds. Has numbness of the arms
and hands. The person struggles to hold things with hands. Better massage,
rubbing, cold, open air; worse touch, physical or mental exertion.
Phytolacca decandra Sudden inflammation that spreads to the back. Soreness
and exhaustion. Painful sensation felt in the bones that is worse with
motion or movement. Symptoms are better with rest.
Shooting pains in nape and elsewhere; neck and shoulders 'crack' on
movement. Legs feel heavy in daytime and ache at night. Worse heat, stuffy
room, first movement, evening and first part of night. Better from gentle
movement and from pressure.
Ranunculus bulbosus Helpful with muscle pain and muscle stiffness, especially when the neck and
back muscles are involved. Stabbing pains and soreness may be felt
near the spine. Crawling and tingling in fingers; muscular pain along
lower margin of the shoulder blade; sharp pains in right forearm while
writing. Skin problems; shingles with bluish eruptions. Burning, itching
pains. Palms itching. Better standing, sitting bent forward; worse open air,
damp, cold rainy and stormy weather. Irritability with pains, anxious, fears
ghosts so can’t be alone; desires to die; quarrelsome.
Pains are much worse for changes in the weather,
especially if there is an impending storm or thunderstorm. This remedy is
very similar to Rhus tox.
Rhus toxicodendron This remedy was studied and was shown to be very effective in a double blind
placebo-controlled trial of fibromyalgia.One of the
most useful remedies in this condition; pains brought on by over-exertion or
exposure to cold and wet; back pain is relieved by bending body backwards;
finger tips feel numb on grasping objects; pains and stiffness worse after
rest. Better by continued movement; extreme restlessness of mind and body. Used
pain and stiffness which is worse after being
still or sitting. Better for moving, gentle motion. Worse after too much physical
exertions. Worse in cold, damp weather. Pain is better by warmth and
moderate exercise, gentle pressure or massage and stretching.
Ruta graveolens Deep pain sensation in tendons, joints and bones. Bruised feeling. Marked stiffness
that is not better
with gentle movement. Tendons are painful or places where tendons meet
bone such as heels and elbows. Feelings of fear, anxiety or paranoia. Pains are
worse for cold, damp weather. The pain is not improved as much from warmth.
Also very similar to Rhus tox except
that it effects the tendons and ligaments instead of the muscle tissues.
Gelsemium is very effective for muscular pains with excessive trembling
and fatigue of all limbs. A key symptom for prescription of Gelsemium is
fatigue in limbs with the slightest exertion.
China (Cinchona Officinalis is
the most well indicated among Homeopathic medicines for fibromyalgia with
fatigue and general debility. The person complains of pain in the limbs and
joints with weariness and fatigue even at the slightest touch.
Bryonia and Rhus
Toxicodendron – fibromyalgia with stiffness and pain at slightest pressure
Alba for pain in the limbs and joints, along with marked stiffness so
that every spot feels in pain at the slightest pressure.
Rhus Toxicodendron is very beneficial in
stiffness of joints which gets better with warmth, motion and massage. The
person experiences numbness and prickling of limbs after overwork and
exposure to damp or cold weather.
Colocynth and Nux
Vomica – fibromyalgia with gastric complaints
Colocynthis is the most effective among Homeopathic medicines for
fibromyalgia with agonizing, cutting pain in the abdomen, causing the
person to bend over for relief.
Nux Vomica is one of the most
prominent homeopathic medicines for fibromyalgia alternating between
constipation and diarrhea. The person complains of heaviness and
bloating in the stomach soon after eating.
Kali Phosphoricum and
Anacardium – fibromyalgia with cognitive difficulties
Kali Phosphoricum is for treating
difficulty in concentration. The person usually experiences extreme
lassitude and depression in such cases; the slightest labor may seem
like a huge task to him.
Anacardium is for absent mindedness, impaired memory and diminution
of the senses (smell, sight and hearing).
and Lachesis – fibromyalgia with sleep disturbances
Magnesia Carbonica is for
unrefreshing sleep. The person feels more tired on rising than on
Lachesis is for sleep disturbances.
The key symptom for prescription of Lachesis is that the person feels
sleepy, but cannot sleep.
Sanguinaria – fibromyalgia with headache
Belladonnais amongst the most prescribed with headaches, especially
with much throbbing and heat.
Sanguinaria is for periodical
headaches, with pain in the back of the head.
Hypericum – fibromyalgia with marked numbness andtingling
Phosphorus is the best prescription
for fibromyalgia with numbness of the arms and hands. The person
struggles to hold things with his hands.
Hypericum is for
fibromyalgia with tingling, burning pain and numbness in the whole body.
Crawling sensation in the hands and the feet with severe pain in the
upper and lower limbs.
Rather than taking
synthetic dietary supplements, one natural source is apple cider
vinegar. The recommendation is to make a tart beverage
containing eight (8) ounces distilled water, one tablespoon
raw, organic apple cider vinegar and two teaspoons raw honey.
This beverage should be
consumed three times a day for a multitude of health benefits.
Adding Epsom salt
into this beverage to bowel tolerance has the same effect as a malic
acid and magnesium dietary supplement.
physicians recommend making fresh apple juice with Granny Smith apples
to get the daily dose of malic acid. Freshly juiced, raw, unsweetened
cranberries are also high in malic acid and provide a tart beverage. The
two juices may be blended together for another option.
GABA, glutamine and glycine
These are which are inhibitory
neurotransmitters have been helpful in lowering stress levels by controlling
limbic firing in the brain.
Clinical tests are proving malic acid to be a great asset in the
treatment of fibromyalgia and chronic pain.
In one clinical study, reported in "The Journal of
Nutritional Medicine," 15 patients (aged 32-60) taking a dosage of
200-2400 mg. of maIic acid with 300-600 mg of magnesium for four to
eight weeks, reported significant pain relief within 48 hours. These
positive effects continued to increase over the test period.
fibromyalgia person chooses to take a malic acid and magnesium
supplement, it is suggested that it is best to start with 600 mg malic
acid combined with 150 mg magnesium twice a day. Over time, this can be
increased to as much as 1200 mg malic acid and 300 mg magnesium.
There are confirmed studies that have
found that taking at least 2400mg of malic acid a day will help with
fatigue and the pain associated with fibromyalgia. But you have to start
Manganese and B complex vitamins
These have also been
shown to be deficient in both Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and fibromyalgia