Fibromyalgia is a poorly understood medical disorder that involves the experience of widespread pain in the muscles, joints, and tissues along with extra-musculoskeletal symptoms of sleep disturbances, memory problems, chronic fatigue, and issues related to mood.
Dealing with chronic pain can drag you down physically and emotionally. It can make your quality of life much less than it should be. Just getting diagnosed properly with fibromyalgia can be the biggest hurdle of them all.
Because fibromyalgia symptoms can mimic other similar chronic illnesses and autoimmune conditions, sometimes getting a diagnosis right away isn’t possible. That’s when you go through the never-ending test to rule out everything else. Sometimes you may even be diagnosed with both fibromyalgia and another condition which makes it even harder to deal with.
But did you know that that are some root causes of fibromyalgia that most people don’t know about or haven’t considered? Some doctors do not understand that fibro can manifest from several causes. They just treat your symptoms without ever trying to get to the root of what brought on the illness in the first place.
If you have fibromyalgia (or think you might), check out the causes below to see if any might apply to you. Then start getting tested for each issue and address each one at a time to see if you can pinpoint the root(s). After all, fibromyalgia is just a word for an illness that describes someone with multiple common core symptoms. It’s not a word that tells how you developed those symptoms in the first place.
So in no particular order, here are some common root causes of fibromyalgia…
Unfortunately, it’s very hard to get away from gluten entirely. It’s found in packaged foods, and cross-contamination can take place when manufacturing. This means that you will find gluten in food products that are seemingly gluten-free. Gluten is associated with several diseases and can show up in all sorts of ways via symptoms you may experience. It may be helpful to get the nutrients and toxins analyzed in your gut. Afterward, you can get food recommendations straight to your app based on the outcome. I love this concept and it is so helpful when you’re dealing with gut issues. If you need help controlling gluten then grab the eBook Going Gluten Free for Beginners.
Hormone Imbalance and Thyroid
You might be experiencing pain in your muscles or joints and not realize that those can be symptoms that you’re dealing with a hormonal imbalance that’s causing inflammation.
When your body has inflammation, it can cause soreness, swelling, fluid buildup and pain. By eliminating the inflammation, you eliminate the pain. If you’re feeling pain anywhere in your body, start by getting your hormone levels checked.
If they’re off balance, bringing them back into balance can make you feel better again. You always want to start by getting those levels checked because unbalanced hormones can lead to an ongoing inflammation – and that can contribute to the development of some diseases.
Nutritional and Vitamin Deficiencies
Fibromyalgia patients are often deficient in magnesium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12 and zinc. In fact, Magnesium can be one of the best supplements to take when you have fibromyalgia or other inflammatory symptoms. It’s so important a whole article dedicated to magnesium will be posted soon so stay tune….
A poor diet, medications, stress, and more can really do a number on your gut flora.
In addition, taking antibiotics kills the good bacteria and can leave our gut in bad shape! Always take a course of probiotics after taking a round of antibiotics. Probiotics can help you maintain the proper balance of healthy intestinal flora, assists with proper intestinal function, support your body’s natural immune system, reduce gas, bloating, and upset stomach, help support absorption of nutrients in the gut, treat IBS, and more.
If you find yourself “crashing” early on or throughout the day, feeling unrested after waking up in the morning, constantly craving sugar, or feeling irritated frequently, you may have adrenal fatigue.
Since the adrenal glands produce important hormones that help respond to stress, it’s essential to keep them in good shape. Stress is a major cause of adrenal fatigue and chronic pain can stress your adrenal glands further.
Heavy Metal Toxicity
Heavy metals are a huge problem and can cause so many symptoms, problems, and diseases it’s hard to know what to do sometimes. Heavy metals are in fish, vaccines, our dental fillings, environment, cooking pots, plastics, and more. If you feel dizzy often, have brain fog, chronic infections, chronic pain, fatigue, multiple sclerosis, depression, and a host of other disturbing ailments, heavy metals could very likely be the cause. At the very least you can bet that the heavy metals we are exposed to each and every day are contributing to our health, and not in a good way. I won’t even get into mold and environmental toxins.
MTHFR is an enzyme required for methylation, an important metabolic process. Some people are not able to absorb and utilize these enzymes the way they should. Those people have a MTHFR mutation. Many people with chronic conditions have these mutations. You will need the B vitamins and folate (not folic acid) to combat this condition.
So there you have it folks. If your doctor has not brought up or asked about any of these causes then you might want to look for a more holistic doctor who understands that more than likely there are several areas of your health that need to be addressed in order to heal. In the interim, you may have some rough spells coping and going through the process of figuring out what’s wrong and getting a proper diagnosis. Please be kind to yourself and take the time to do so.
Pain Medications 101: Know The Risks
There are millions of people in the US taking pain medications for acute and chronic pain. There are several kinds of pain medications including over the counter pain medications, narcotic-like pain medications, and narcotic pain medications. Many do not realize pain medication risks. Even if you only take the medicine occassionally it can still cause harm.
There are risks in taking all of these pain medications and, before you take them, you should know the risks.
Over The Counter Pain Medications
There are two types of over the counter pain remedies: non-NSAID pain relievers and NSAID pain relievers:
- Non-NSAID pain relievers. These include medications like acetaminophen and paracetamol. These medications act to raise the pain threshold so you don’t feel the pain as much. Acetaminophen is marketed as Tylenol. The big risks in taking medications like Tylenol is that they can be damaging to the liver when taken in large doses. Overdoses of Tylenol can result in liver failure and death within days as the liver damage is not reversible.
- NSAID pain relievers. NSAIDs stand for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications. They include things like aspirin, ibuprofen (marketed as Motrin and Advil), and naproxen (marketed as Naprosyn and Aleve). These medications carry the major risk of irritation to the stomach lining and stomach ulcers, especially when taken in excess or taken without food. There are prescription NSAIDs your doctor might prescribe for you that carry the same risks as ibuprofen and naproxen. Some NSAIDs and aspirin can thin your blood resulting in bleeding when you have surgery or sustain some kind of trauma. This is why these medications are not recommended to be taken for at least a week prior to surgery.
Narcotic Like Pain Relievers
The main medication in this category is Ultram (tramadol). While Ultram can be an effective painkiller, it carries the risk of getting hallucinations, agitation, nausea, vomiting, fever, rapid heart rate, seizures, hyperactive reflexes, fainting, loss of coordination, and a red skin rash that can blister.
While Ultram has a less chance of addiction when taking the medication, there is still a slight risk of addiction, particularly in those who suffer from addiction disorders.
Narcotic Pain Relievers
There are several different kinds of narcotic pain relievers, including hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, and combinations of hydrocodone and acetaminophen (marketed as Vicodin), and oxycodone and acetaminophen (marketed as Percocet). Long-acting narcotic pain relievers include OxyContin, which is often taken by people with chronic pain disorders. These carry risks of respiratory depression, constipation, nausea and vomiting, and drowsiness.
These medications carry a high risk of addiction so that people have an increased tolerance for the medication and have a difficult time getting off the medications once started.
Who Shouldn’t Take Narcotic Pain Relievers?
Narcotic pain relievers are highly addictive. They shouldn’t be taken for any length of time in individuals who suffer from alcohol addiction, opioid addiction, or who have addictive personalities.
These people can become addicted to these medications very easily and cannot get off them without experiencing withdrawal symptoms, typically agitation, rapid heart rate, and drug-seeking behaviors.
The elderly should also probably stay away from narcotic pain relievers because they carry an increased risk of constipation, confusion, and delirium, because they don’t tolerate taking these medications very well and the medications can build up in their system fairly rapidly.
It should be noted that, even with the addiction potential, narcotics can and should be used in patients who suffer from a terminal disease. Narcotics should not be withheld from those who are terminal, even if it means they become hooked on taking the medications.
Avoiding The Trap Of Taking Narcotics
If you feel you are at risk for side effects or addiction to narcotic pain relievers or even to Ultram, you should think twice about taking these medications for pain relief. Instead, take a strong nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication, which carries no risk of addiction.
If you must take a narcotic, take them sparingly and use non-medical means of controlling the pain, such as distraction and alternative medicine techniques.
Make sure your doctor knows of your addiction potential so that only a few pills are prescribed at a time and the doctor takes special note of how many you are taken and doesn’t over-prescribe the medications.
Speak with your doctor and consult with him or her about the various medications at your disposal.
Fibromyalgia Treatment: Finding The Right Doctor For Fibromyalgia Management
If you find yourself with the diagnosis of fibromyalgia, you may be disappointed with the doctor you have been seeing for most of your other ailments. Fibromyalgia treatment can be tricky, depending on your symptoms. Not all primary care doctors are well equipped to deal with people who suffer from fibromyalgia pain and you may be dissatisfied with the care you receive.
Your doctor may not understand fibromyalgia very well and may not be familiar with all the different modalities used to treat fibromyalgia and its many symptoms. It is so very important to find a doctor that can you support you in the management of this disease, so if you’re medical professional is not getting your needs met, it is definitely time to find a different doctor, or more than one, if even only for the management of your fibromyalgia.
Types of Doctors you might choose from
There are several ways you can go in choosing a doctor to manage your fibromyalgia pain and other issues if your primary care doctor doesn’t seem adequate or up to the task. Here are some healthcare practitioners you can choose from for fibromyalgia treatment:
- Board Certified Rheumatologist. Board certified rheumatologists practice Western medicine but are perhaps the best Western type doctor to choose from if you suffer from fibromyalgia. They are doctors who deal with all sorts of musculoskeletal disorders from rheumatoid arthritis to other autoimmune disorders to fibromyalgia. They are well trained to take care of people who have fibromyalgia and may be the doctor who ends up diagnosing you with fibromyalgia. Most of their methods involve the use of Western style medications for the relief of fibromyalgia pain. Some will also give you stress relief prescriptions and exercise prescriptions that will help you along with the medications they give you to relieve the pain. Rheumatologists are generally very busy and are hard to get into in a timely fashion. They may also not be able to spend the amount of time with you that you need in order to listen to all your concerns and to educate you on the disease. If you are a strong believer in Western medicine, however, this is the type of doctor you will want to try to get in to see.
- Holistic doctor. A holistic doctor is another type of doctor who often treats those who suffer from fibromyalgia pain. They can be trained in Western medicine and can come from several different kinds of specialties. They may be osteopaths or MDs or have a degree in naturopathic medicine. The good thing about a holistic doctor is that they treat the patient as a whole person and often take into account the physical symptoms, emotional symptoms, lifestyle factors and other factors in your life in the treatment of your disorder. They will spend a lot of time with you, asking you questions about your symptoms, your lifestyle, your spiritual beliefs, your emotional symptoms, and your relationships. Holistic doctors believe that all these things play into the total experience of your disease and will consider all these things when they decide on your treatment. Holistic doctors use a variety of treatments besides Western medications. They may recommend certain exercises, lifestyle changes, homeopathy, acupuncture, herbalism, chiropractic care, and spiritual interventions in order to heal you from your symptoms. Holistic doctors are good doctors for people with fibromyalgia to see because they know about regular and alternative therapies for the disease and will try just about any one of them to help you feel better.
- Psychotherapist. Because people with fibromyalgia often suffer from anxiety and depression, it might be a good idea to seek the advice of a good psychotherapist who will listen to your concerns and help you cope better with your disease. You can see the psychotherapist along with other doctors for fibromyalgia for a true holistic approach to the disease.
- Gastroenterologist. If you have irritable bowel symptoms along with your fibromyalgia pain, you may wish to see a gastroenterologist who specializes in gastrointestinal diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome. They may give you dietary recommendations and may prescribe medications for you that can ease the stomach pain, cramps, and diarrhea so common to fibromyalgia patients who have irritable bowel syndrome. They can’t really help you with the other symptoms of fibromyalgia so they may just be an adjunctive doctor you see just for your irritable bowel symptoms.
Whatever doctor you decide to see remember that there can be many causes of fibromyalgia. Taking a holistic approach to your care and treatment is best. Fibromyalgia is a complex issue that can be managed and even healed. The key is to pinpoint the factors that trigger fibromyalgia and then address them. You may have to address them one by one since many factors can be involved. Rarely is there one specific cause for fibromyalgia. Over time hormonal imbalances, gut health, diet, lifestyle, nutritional deficiencies, viruses such as EBV, and toxic exposure to your body (heavy metals, environmental, mold, etc.) can all play a role in poor health and chronic illnesses such as fibromyalgia. Detoxing is an important part of the healing process. Take the time to understand your body’s needs and be patient. The healing process can be slow. After all, it took years for the issue to come about in the first place.