May 20, 2011
Yes, fibromyalgia is real and it hurts! When I started in medicine 28 years ago, most doctors thought fibromyalgia was a polite way of telling a woman that she was crazy, depressed, or just whiny. Unfortunately, many docs still don’t understand that fibromyalgia is all too real and causes women to be depressed and crazy with pain.
Most patients with fibromyalgia are women. Most are mothers. I believe that fibromyalgia is a disorder caused by sleep deprivation and chronic muscle and soft tissue injury. Imagine that you are a young mother, responsible for your baby 24/7. You awaken frequently during the night to lift your child out of the crib and feed him. You are on high alert as your husband never hears anything. You awaken, bend over the crib, lift the baby, feed the baby, lift the baby and place him in the crib; repeat 1-3 times a night for years! Is it any surprise that your neck and back hurt?
So how does this lead to fibromyalgia. Bodybuilders often do “burnout” routines. When a muscle is used, it burns oxygen. If you force the muscle to use up all of its oxygen and still require it to work, it starts producing lactic acid. Lactic acid causes a burning sensation, thus the term “burnout”. Try an experiment. Make a muscle (contract your biceps) and keep contracting it until it burns. The better shape you are in, the longer this will take. Once your muscle burns, keep contracting it and count to fifteen. Now relax your arm. Is your arm stiff? Most likely! Now rest your arm, giving your body a chance to repair the damage; and, in a short time, all will be normal.
I believe that the root cause of many cases of fibromyalgia is the persistent abuse of the muscles and ligaments of the upper back experienced by mothers while caring for their infants. Sleep disruption, caused by the baby’s needs, prevents adequate healing. Eventually, chronically damaged muscle and soft tissues cause pain; and pain causes further sleep disruption. The vicious cycle starts with child care and is perpetuated by pain long after the child grows up.
To make matters worse, doubting docs cause patients suffering with fibromyalgia to feel like they are nuts! Doctors, like myself, who understand that fibromyalgia is a real entity, often treat patients with S.S.R.I.s and S.N.R. I.s (antidepressants), leaving patients with doubts about our sincerity and wondering if we think they are nuts.
The treatment of fibromyalgia is complex. It often requires neuroactive medications, such as the antidepressants mentioned above, physical therapy, sleep aides, acupuncture, chiropractic, and NUCHA therapy. Every patient with fibromyalgia knows the frustration of failed therapy. Every patient with fibromyalgia is unique, requiring a unique recipe (http://livewellthy.org/search.aspx?q=chef&sc=tcon&dt=a&al=). Finding the recipe that leads to a pain-free existence is often difficult but, with success, highly rewarding.
If you have fibromyalgia, you are not nuts! Never had a baby? Not a female? Other injuries and occupations lead to fibromyalgia! You are not nuts! See your doctor.
May 20, 2011