What is Fibromyalgia
According to Dr. Paul St. Amand, an Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, from the Fibromyalgia Treatment Center (FTC) in Marina del Rey, California, Fibromyalgia is a cyclic, genetic, progressive cellular disease in which sufferers do not excrete adequate amounts of phosphate via our kidneys. It affects millions of people regardless of race. This excess phosphate gets stored all over our body such as our bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints and brain. This build up of phosphate causes our muscles to go into spasm 24 hours/day. This presses on our nerves causing pain. It also slows down the production of ATP (adenosine tri-phosphate),our bodies energy molecule,which is needed for everything in our bodies to work properly. It can also leave us with severe muscle fatigue.
There are no diagnostic x-rays or laboratory tests for fibromyalgia. Doctors in Canada diagnose patients with fibromyalgia after eliciting pain from at least eleven out of eighteen “tender points”. Pain threshold levels vary greatly so Dr. St. Amand prefers a method of palpation called mapping. (See mapping quick link.)
Although Fibromyalgia is inherited, injury, infection, surgery and stress may prod susceptible individuals into overt attacks. The FTC has seen patients as young as two years old. Family histories often span three and four generations. Boys and girls are equally affected before puberty, but in adults, females heavily predominate (85%). Forty-five percent of adults remember “growing pains” in childhood that disappeared with the growth spurt of puberty.
Signs and Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
Various combinations from the following list can be anticipated:
Central Nervous System
Fatigue, irritability, nervousness, depression, apathy, listlessness, impaired memory and concentration, anxieties and even suicidal thoughts. Insomnia and frequent awakening due to pain result in non restorative sleep.
Swollen structures press on nerves to produce all types of pains especially morning stiffness. Any muscle, tendon, ligament or fascia in the face, neck, shoulders, back, hips, knees, ankles, feet, arms, legs and chest may participate. They also cause calf/foot cramps, numbness and tingling of the face or extremities. Old injured or operative sites are commonly affected. Fibromyalgia is erroneously considered non-arthritic even though joint pain, swelling, heat and redness are common.
Irritable Bowel (Often called leaky gut, spastic colon or mucous colitis)
Symptoms include nausea (usually transient, repetitive waves), indigestion, gas, bloating, deep pain, cramps, alternating constipation and diarrhea sometimes with mucous stools.
Mostly affecting women 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 spasm, irritation of the labia (vulvitis) or deeper (vestibulitis) that induce painful intercourse (dyspareunia) all without the typical cottage-cheese discharge that accompanies yeast infections. Fibromyalgia is worse premenstrually as are PMS and uterine cramping.
Various rashes may appear with or without itching: Hives, red blotches, itchy bumps or blisters, eczema, seborrheic or neurodermatitis, and rosacea. Skin is dry and nails are brittle or easily peel; hair is of poor quality and often falls out prematurely. Strange sensations (paresthesias) are common such as cold, burning (especially palms, soles and thighs), crawling, electric vibrations, prickling, super-sensitivity to touch, and flushing often with sweating.
Head, Eye, Ear, Nose, and Throat
Headaches (migraines), dizziness, vertigo (spinning) or imbalance; itchy, burning and dry eyes or lids sometimes produce morning sticky or sandy discharges; blurred vision; hayfever or nasal congestion and post-nasal drip; painful, burning or cut-tongue sensation, scalded mouth and abnormal tastes (bad, metallic); intermittent low-pitched sounds or transient ringing in the ears (tinnitus); ear and eyeball pain; sensitivity to light, sounds and odors (perfumes or chemicals).
Weight gain; mild fever; reduced immunity to infection; fluid retention with morning eyelid and hand swelling that gravitates to the legs by evening, stretches tiny tissue nerves to produce restless leg syndrome; adult-onset asthma.
This is a separate entity that may affect thirty percent of female and fifteen percent of male fibromyalgics. Sugar craving, tremors, clamminess, anxiety, panic attacks, heart pounding, headaches and faintness induced by hunger or by eating sugar and starches (carbohydrates) are solid clues for diagnosis. Hypoglycemics must follow a prescribed diet or they will not fully reverse symptoms that strongly overlap those of fibromyalgia.