Laser Light(saber) Your Pain Away

You may have noticed that I read LOTS of reports and research studies – I signed myself up for a huge number of newsletters, hoping that I might read something miraculous and be the first to let you know. Still waiting…

Anyway, I saw that a randomised, single-blind, placebo-controlled study was conducted to evaluate the efficacy of low-energy laser therapy in 40 female patients with fibromyalgia. Patients with fibromyalgia were randomly allocated to active (Ga-As) laser or placebo laser treatment daily for two weeks.

Low energy lasers are widely used to treat a variety of musculoskeletal conditions including fibromyalgia, despite the lack of scientific evidence to support its efficacy.

In the study, both the laser and placebo laser groups were evaluated for the improvement in pain, number of tender points, skinfold tenderness, stiffness, sleep disturbance, fatigue, and muscular spasm. Significant improvements were observed in parameters as pain, muscle spasm, morning stiffness and tender point numbers in favour of laser group after therapy. None of the participants reported any side effects.

This study is not new – this story was published in 2002; however, it did remind me of something that I had forgotten to tell you.

When Mommy came back from her trip, she brought with her a hand-held device called B-Cure Laser. It seems that we have a family friend with polymyalgia in Israel who swears by this machine, so Mommy bought it (not just for me to try, but also for her back pain). The plan was, if it helped me, to buy another one for me.

B-Cure Laser is cutting edge technology in soft laser therapy: a light, portable, rechargeable device, friendly to both caregiver and patient. It is the first portable soft laser device in the world with the healing power equal to that of a full-sized, stationary expensive soft-laser machine used only in hospitals and prestigious care facilities. It cost Mommy the equivalent of $AU600.

Soft laser treatment stimulates the body’s natural healing mechanisms on a cellular and systemic level. The result: every kind of cell receives the energy required for activation of its optimal functioning in the body, thus allowing it to ‘self-heal’ and naturally overcome specific problems, whether it be back pain, inflammation, wounds, or needed skin renewal and rejuvenation.

Soft lasers are used by therapists all over the world, especially for treating acute and chronic musculoskeletal pains, motor problems, swelling, joint cartilage problems, inflammation and injured soft tissues.

I found that it helped immediately after its usage, for example: I would hold it to my shoulder for 8 minutes, but, if I wanted to cover ALL my pain points, it would probably take all day.

Also, at $600, I didn’t feel that it helped enough – $600 = 10 massages, 10 acupuncture sessions or even a holiday to Bali.

Another Yoga Experience

After lots of experimenting and trying out different classes, I think Mommy and I have found our Yoga class – the class we went to yesterday was called Yoga Therapy.

The guy who took the class has lots of letters after his name – Dip Health Ch Grad Dip Psych. He is a clinical hypnothterapist, psychotherapist and yoga instructor. The problems addressed by psychotherapists are psychological in nature and of no specific kind or degree, but rather depend on the specialty of the practitioner. Guess what? My dude (JA) specialises in Chronic fatigue and Fibromyalgia.

Psychotherapy aims to increase the individual’s sense of his/her own well-being. Psychotherapists employ a range of techniques based on experiential relationship building, dialogue, communication and behaviour change that are designed to improve our mental health.

The class itself was incredibly gentle – each movement was explained carefully. There were even instructions on getting up and down from the floor, to ensure we didn’t hurt ourselves. There was a lot of talk about Breath Awareness.

Did you know?

  • Air contains on average 21% oxygen, 68% nitrogen and the remainder is other gases.
  • Breathing oxygenates the blood stream, and releases spent gases
  • Breathing assists in temperature regulation and the release of toxins
  • Breath awareness and conscious breathing allows maximum oxygen absorption
  • Breath awareness assists in controlling emotions and enhances positive thinking.

At the end of the class, there was a lovely meditation – the problem was the more I relaxed (feeling like I was sinking into the ground) the more any pain I had seemed to rise. I was lying on my wonderful, butterfly decorated, purple yoga mat, on my back and the ache in the ache in the back of my head seemed to rise upward and fill my cheekbones. The top of my hands and feet (the highest part of them when lying down) were shooting electricity. I actually had to sit up part-way through. Not sure what that was really – it has never happened before or when I meditate. Any ideas?

JA was incredibly excited, when I spoke to him after the class, and told him I had FM. In fact, we had trouble shutting him up. And Mommy was very excited with the idea that we had found ‘The One’ (you know – that person who is going to cure us?) – definitely a fortuitous meeting. Me? I’m taking it all with a grain of salt – I got excited after the first 10 or so doctors/healers. I shall withhold my future excitement until I see results.

Anyone in/near Rochester or Seattle?

As most of us know, current therapies leave most fibromyalgia patients still living with considerable pain. So it is reassuring to know that there is new and continuing research into our condition, and into ways that may reduce our daily pain.

In a media release from the University of Rochester (NY) Medical centre and the University of Washington School of Medicine (Seattle) have received a $5.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, to evaluate the ability of behaviour-change therapy added to the pain drug tramadol to ease fibromyalgia’s chronic, widespread pain.

The trial will enrol approximately 250 patients in Rochester and Seattle over the next four years, with enrolment likely to begin this (Northern hemisphere) summer. (So, anyone we know in this area?)

“Overall, current treatments for fibromyalgia are only partially effective: No more than half of patients get relief, and the other half stop therapy because they don’t get relief or they don’t like the side effects,” says Robert H. Dworkin, PhD, a professor in the University of Rochester’s Centre for Human Experimental Therapeutics. “Of those patients who do get relief, their pain doesn’t decrease dramatically; it goes down by a third, a half at most, so they are still living with considerable pain.”

And no other studies have looked at the combination of medication and behavioral treatment in any chronic pain condition, he suggests.

This will be a combined effort between Dr. Dworkin and lead investigator Dennis C. Turk, PhD, a professor in the department of anesthesiology and pain research at the University of Washington, who specialises in the study of fibromyalgia.

Drs Turk and Dworkin will study the effects of tramadol  combined with either cognitive-behavioral therapy or health education treatment – both of which work to change the way people think about their condition to ultimately improve the way they act and feel. Their objective? To determine if a drug plus one of the behavioural health treatments could be better than either one alone.

Quality of Life

Past research, and Drs Dworkin and Turks’ own experience studying fibromyalgia, suggest that increasing activity is critical in helping patients get better. Researchers are not only interested in the combo’s influence on pain, but on patients’ ability to carry out the activities of daily life, as well.

“When you are more active and can do the things you want to do – go to the movies with your family, walk around the mall, do housework – it takes your mind off the pain and makes you feel better about your life overall,” says Dr Dworkin.

Major goals will be to measure both physical activity and enhanced sleep quality. “I liken it to a virtuous circle or a positive loop, says Dr Dworkin, “When you are more physically active you sleep better, and when you sleep better you have less pain, and when you have less pain you can do more of the things you love to do.”

Specially Designed Behavioural Treatments

The behavioural health treatments that will be used in the study were designed specifically for fibromyalgia patients, says the University of Rochester’s Prof Ellen Poleshuck, PhD, who will help run the trial. Participants will learn about fibromyalgia and various strategies for improved coping.

The researchers will measure pain reduction using daily pain diaries completed just prior to and at the end of each treatment.

Independent Measurements

Patients will be provided with an ActiGraph, a wrist watch-like device that includes an accelerometer to provide an objective measure of changes in activity level. The device also determines sleep patterns and circadian rhythms so will be used to measure the quality of participants’ sleep as well.

Bring on more research and a cure!


CoQ10 – Not Just For Skin!

When I first was diagnosed with FM, I got online and read some books. Then, I basically did everything that was suggested – including taking a giant handful of supplements each morning.

One of those supplements is CoQ10.

While combing the Net for some ideas on what I might want to write about next, I found a recent study (published 19 April 2012) (I’m getting good at finding these studies, aren’t I?) that suggests that oxidative stress is associated to clinical symptoms in FM (particularly headaches). The researchers examined oxidative stress (the condition in which antioxidant levels are lower than normal) and bioenergetic status in blood mononuclear cells (BMCs) and its association to headache symptoms in FM patients. The effects of CoQ10 supplementation on biochemical markers and clinical improvement were also evaluated.

Decreased CoQ10, catalase (an enzyme that catalyzes the reduction of hydrogen peroxide) and ATP (not sure what that one is) levels in BMCs from FM patients as compared to normal control were found.

From my limited reading and understanding, everybody has these things (called peroxides and free radicals) running around in their blood. ‘Normals’ have sufficient ability to readily detoxify the reactive intermediates or to repair the resulting damage. I’m imagining the old ATARI Space Invaders game (am I showing my age?) where ‘normals’ shoot at the free radicals coming closer to you. Well, using that image, FM sufferers don’t have enough ammunition to fight off the space invaders (and No, I don’t know why).  Oral CoQ10 supplementation restored biochemical parameters and induced a significant improvement in clinical and headache symptoms (that is: the FM patients were able to stop the peroxides and free radical from invading!).

Now before you all go nuts and go out to buy the entire shelf of CoQ10, even the researchers in this study noted that, although the results of this study suggest CoQ10 treatment showed a remarkable improvement in clinical symptoms and headache in FM, CoQ10 supplementation should be examined further in a larger placebo controlled trial, to confirm this observation, as a possible treatment for FM.

If you’d like to see iHerb’s selection of CoQ10 products, click here. Use Coupon Code LHJ194 to get $10 off any first time order over $40 or $5 off any first time order under $40.

Pharmaceutical Finances

The mortar and pestle, one of the internationa...

The mortar and pestle, one of the internationally recognized symbols to represent the pharmacy profession (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you think you’re spending a lot of money on prescription drugs, you’re probably right. In 2008, American patients and insurance companies spent more than $234 billion on prescriptions, up from $40 million in 1990. According to a study by the University of Western Australia’s School of Population Health, spending on medicines was rising rapidly in Australia. This was in line with trends in most other industrialised countries; however, spending in Australia was fourth highest among comparable countries –  spending on publicly subsidised medicines by Australian patients increased from $16 per person in 1971 to $62 (which when adjusted for inflation equals $134) in 2007. Only Finland, Denmark and Poland ranked higher.So, any way for us to save money on this money drain?

5 Good Ways to Save Money on Medicine

1.  Ask About Generic Options

“In most cases, generic drugs can save a great deal of money,” says Corey Sawaya, RPh, a pharmacist in Stow, Ohio. Almost 80% of FDA-approved drugs have generic alternatives that cost an average of four times less than the brand-name versions.

2. Look Into Splitting Higher-Dose Pills

Pill splitting is based on the fact that many pills cost about the same even if they contain twice as much medication. An 80 mg pill is often close in price to a pill with 40 mg of the same drug. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if your medication is safe for pill splitting. If so, ask your doctor to prescribe twice the dosage you really need, so you can split your pills in half.

Be aware, many pills are not safe to split, including time-released drugs, coated pills, and capsules, says Richard Sagall, MD, president and co-founder of NeedyMeds, a non-profit organization in Gloucester, Mass, that provides information about financial assistance programs for prescription drugs.

“The best person to ask whether it’s safe to split a pill is the pharmacist,” he says.

3. Talk Openly With Your Doctor

Your health care provider may not know how much you’re paying for the drugs he or she prescribes. “Patients should talk with their doctors so they can consider less expensive options,” says Sawaya. It also helps to review all your medications with your health care provider from time to time. If you’ve been taking a drug for a long time, it’s possible you no longer need it or could switch to something cheaper.

4. Shop Around

“Prices at pharmacies are fluid,” says Sagall, who recommends negotiating with your pharmacist. If one pharmacy has the best prices in town on all but one of the medications you’re taking, let the pharmacist know and see if she can give you a discount or price match on that one drug. “Many pharmacies want relationships. They want to keep you as a patient, and this is one way they do it,” says Sagall.

5. Look Into Patient Assistance Programs

Many pharmaceutical companies have programs that provide their drugs at deep discounts or even free for people in need. If you have a prescription for a high-cost drug, check out the company’s web site to see if they offer assistance. You can also look up patient assistance programs on the NeedyMeds website , which provides information on almost 6,000 programs.

5 Bad Ways to Try to Cut Drug Costs

1. Do NOT Use a Friend’s Medicine Cabinet

“Taking other people’s medications is a really bad way to save money,” says Sagall. The drugs you find in your friend’s stash may be expired, may be the wrong dose, and may react with something else you’re taking. Plus, taking someone else’s prescriptions is illegal. “There are usually specific reasons why a doctor prescribes pill A and not pill B to their patient,” says Sagall.

2. Do NOT Insist on Brand Name Drugs

In the old days, drug companies sent information to physicians, who then decided what drugs to prescribe to their patients. Now television and magazine ads use images of active grandparents or amorous couples to promote prescription drugs directly to patients. No matter how attractive the models, the advertised drug may not be the best match for your particular condition. And there’s probably a less expensive alternative to the drug advertised on TV.

3. Do NOT Assume Herbal Supplements Are Safe or Adequate

Because they’re natural, it’s easy to equate herbal supplements with a green, leafy salad. In fact, herbal supplements are not regulated like medications, and some could pose a real danger. “Some of the herbals have the same drug interactions and possibility of adverse reactions as prescription medicines,” says Sawaya. “Those things need to be monitored by a doctor.”

4. Do NOT Keep Switching Pharmacies

You might switch pharmacies to get a better deal, but doing so repeatedly undermines the checks and balances meant to protect your safety. The history of your prescriptions creates a profile of your health in a pharmacy’s computer system. Pharmacy computers are programmed to catch errors such as potential drug interactions so the pharmacist can intervene. “If you’re moving around from pharmacy to pharmacy, the computer system is less likely to catch things like that,” says Sawaya.

5. Do NOT Buy Drugs from “Rogue” Internet Pharmacies

Online sales of counterfeit prescription drugs is a booming global business. By operating under the radar, groups posing as legitimate pharmacies get away with selling fake drugs, expired drugs, or the wrong drug in the name of a buck.

Officials are starting to come down hard on counterfeit drug operations. In 2011, the U.S. and 80 other countries launched a worldwide operation targeting rogue Internet pharmacies. Within 10 days, almost 13,500 web sites were shut down and 2.4 million illegal and counterfeit pills from 48 countries were confiscated. This is good news for consumers, but don’t let down your guard too soon. It’s safe to assume rogue pharmacies will be online for some time to come.

(As you might remember, in my financial desperation, I ordered Lyrica from a Canadian pharmaceutical company – so far, all seems to be going well. I checked with my doctor and pharmacist prior to starting the ‘imported’ product and let Mommy know, in case weird things began to happen. They haven’t (YET)!)

Related articles

Website Lets You Shop and Compare Prescription Drugs (

A Prescription for Exercise

Since stopping work and being diagnosed with FM, I have increased my exercise intake (is that the appropriate word?) Each week, I do two hydrotherapy sessions, a tai chi class and I am testing out different yoga/Pilates classes to fill in two other spots. Along with that, I now walk (to the shops, doctors’ appointments, etc) every day. I have done all of this for two reasons – 1) I’m not driving so I have to walk; and 2) my doctors (as well as all the websites) told me to exercise. No-one told me why.

Has anyone told you why we need to exercise? (other than the ‘normal’ health reasons)

Most of us have much more important things on our minds than exercise, like painful tender points, deep muscle pain, and fatigue, so why is exercise important for fibromyalgia?

  • Studies show that exercise helps restore the body’s neuro-chemical balance and triggers a positive emotional state. Not only does regular exercise slow down the heart-racing adrenaline associated with stress, but it also boosts levels of natural endorphins. Endorphins help to reduce anxiety, stress, and depression.
  • Exercise acts as nature’s tranquilizer by helping to boost serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter in the brain that scientists have found to be related to fibromyalgia. While only a small percentage of all serotonin is located in the brain, this neurotransmitter is believed to play a vital role in mediating moods. For those who feel stressed out frequently, exercise will help to desensitize your body to stress, as an increased level of serotonin in the brain is associated with a calming, anxiety-reducing effect. In some cases it’s also associated with drowsiness. A stable serotonin level in the brain is associated with a positive mood state or feeling good over a period of time. Lack of exercise and inactivity can aggravate low serotonin levels.
  • A new study, at the Georgetown University Medical Centre in Washington, D.C., suggests that exercise may improve memory in women with FM. Decreased brain activity, due to aerobic exercise, suggests that the brain is working more efficiently. The researchers suggest that one of the benefits of exercise for fibromyalgia patients is that it may streamline brain functioning. It may help free up brain resources involved in perceiving pain and improve its ability to hold on to new information. The findings may help explain why regular exercise decreases pain and tenderness and improves brain function in people with fibromyalgia. (These findings were presented at a medical conference. They should be considered preliminary as they have not yet undergone the “peer review” process, in which outside experts scrutinize the data prior to publication in a medical journal.)

What Are Other Benefits of Exercise for Those With Fibromyalgia?

Regular exercise benefits people with fibromyalgia by doing the following:

  • burning calories and making weight control easier
  • giving range-of-motion to painful muscles and joints
  • improving a person’s outlook on life
  • improving quality of sleep
  • improving one’s sense of well-being
  • increasing aerobic capacity
  • improving cardiovascular health
  • increasing energy
  • placing the responsibility of healing in the hands of the patient
  • reducing anxiety levels and depression
  • relieving stress associated with a chronic disease
  • stimulating growth hormone secretion
  • stimulating the secretion of endorphins or “happy hormones”
  • strengthening bones
  • strengthening muscles
  • relieving pain

How Can I Get Started Exercising With Fibromyalgia?

If you want to start exercising, it’s important to start slowly. Begin with stretching exercises and gentle, low-impact activity, such as walking, swimming, or bicycling. Muscle soreness is normal when you are just starting an exercise regimen. But if you have any ‘abnormal’ pain, stop and call your doctor. You may have overworked or injured your muscles.

Are There Exercises to Avoid With Fibromyalgia?

There are no particular exercises to avoid if you have fibromyalgia. Aerobic exercise (running, jogging), weight training, water exercise, and flexibility exercises can all help. Golf, tennis, hiking, and other recreational activities are also healthful. If you have other medical problems or if you’re planning more than a moderate-intensity exercise program, discuss your plan with your doctor before you start.

Off to self-help hydrotherapy now…

A Reflex Action

You know that absolutely wonderful thing, that gorgeous men/women who love/lust after/appreciate a woman do, which makes us squirm, sigh, shriek and purr? The thing that we don’t really talk about yet still can’t get enough of? That thing that gives us such a guilty pleasure that we can’t even watch our beautiful partner perform the act?

Well, I had that same sort of guilty pleasure (although not nearly as pleasurable) today.

Mommy and I snuck away to get a massage from one of the Asian massage places that have popped up everywhere recently. Mommy had a sciatica massage and I decided to try some reflexology. WHAT? you say…it doesn’t even compare! Let me tell you that there are a myriad of similarities: latex (in this case, gloves), lubrication, pleasure and guilt, while trying to enjoy the entire process while a little Asian man (really! I am not being racist – it was an Asian man who was shorter than me!) massaged my feet. Comparable to the act I described earlier, I couldn’t actually watch the man performing the massage – it just felt wrong.

Reflexology is a wonderfully relaxing therapy that works on many levels, soothing, calming, balancing and boosting your entire body. Reflexology is based on the principle that certain parts of the body reflect the whole. Reflex points, which relate to all parts of the body, can be found in the feet, hands, face and ears. These points respond to pressure, stimulating the body’s own natural healing process. The body starts progressively clearing blockages, re-establishing energy flows and balancing itself, resulting in better health. There are many different styles and approaches used in reflexology, however the basic principle is constant. Subtle yet powerful, reflexology is becoming increasingly popular in the world of complementary therapies.

As a therapy, reflexology is not invasive – only the feet, and/or hands and ears are worked (we only did my feet). It is deeply relaxing yet surprisingly energizing – all part of its balancing capacity. You may feel you are being pampered during a reflexology session but do not underestimate the powerful effects this treatment can have on all of your body systems.

All body systems benefit from reflexology but you immediately notice the effect on your circulation, nervous and lymphatic systems in particular. My feet are tingling – and not the yucky FM pins and needles feeling, it’s my blood coursing through all the bits that feel like they normally get detoured.

Reflexology can address all of our particular needs: painful, congested, sluggish or overactive states within the body can be balanced and normalised. A Chinese survey of 8,096 case studies noted a 94% effective or significantly effective rate.

Stress and Anxiety

Lessening of stress and anxiety is demonstrated in twenty-nine reflexology studies with study participants including healthy individuals, senior citizens, women and cancer patients. The stimulation of reflexology’s pressure techniques creates change in the body’s basic level of tension as demonstrated by research showing that reflexology relaxes the body using a variety of measurements: brain waves (EEG), blood pressure, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, pulse rate, and anxiety.

Lessening of Pain

Reduction of pain is a significant result of reflexology work. The lessening of pain in response to reflexology is documented in thirty-six studies including individuals of all ages and health states: birthing mothers, menstruating women, phantom limb pain sufferers, lower back pain sufferers, cancer patients, kidney stone patients, senior citizens and individuals with pain resulting from surgery. Such results find explanation is what researcher Dr Nancy Stephenson considers as an effect on the neuromatrix of the brain, an expansion of the Fate Control Theory of Pain. According to Wikipedia: Gate control theory asserts that activation of nerves which do not transmit pain signals, called nonnociceptive fibers, can interfere with signals from pain fibres, thereby inhibiting pain. Stimulating nerves that sense touch, heat, cold and pressure – as does reflexology – overcomes the action of the pain nerves. (YIPPEE!!!!)

Cancer Care

Twenty-four studies conducted by nurses in ten countries show that reflexology helps with each stage of the cancer experience: following chemotherapy, post-operatively, management of symptoms and during palliative/hospice care. Research demonstrates that cancer patients who receive reflexology work show significant improvements in physical and emotional symptoms: lessened pain, anxiety, depression and stress; reduced nausea and vomiting; lowered fatigue and improved quality of life.

Thousands of documented case studies from around the world have demonstrated benefits for:

  • PMT
  • Migraine
  • Sinus
  • Colic
  • Menopause
  • Constipation/Diarrhoea
  • Back Pain
  • Neck Pain
  • Sciatica
  • Shoulder Pain
  • Asthma
  • Stroke
  • Menstrual Irregularities

As my reflexology massage was not the ‘official’ kind, I had a half hour session. If you attend a ‘real’ session, it will usually last about an hour depending on your age and state of health. First sessions tend to be longer as the practitioner needs to take a case history prior to any treatment (Umm, we missed that bit, too!)

The exact number of sessions required depends upon several factors including the condition being addressed and the healing response of the individual. A minimum of 3-4 sessions are usually recommended, however chronic conditions may take longer to respond.

As blockages clear and the body reaches a state of balance, the sessions would be cut back to fortnightly, monthly or whenever the client feels the need. It is generally recommended that sessions should be at least a few days apart to allow the body time to adjust to the changes that are taking place as toxins released from congested systems are processed and eliminated.

So, maybe all I had was a foot and calf massage but it still feels amazing! Perhaps our partners have a new wonderful thing to do for us?

Most Doctors Don’t Get It. I Do!

Reblogged from Dr Rodger Murphree

Fibromyalgia is Real

Because you have an illness that’s hard to “prove,” loved ones may secretly convict you of hypochondria or laziness. You may be told, “it’s all in your head.” You may be urged to exercise or lose weight or get more rest. Physicians can be worse. If they believe the condition exists at all — and some don’t — their first impulse is to mask the symptoms with prescription drugs. Patients often end up on a medical merry-go-round, seeing doctor after doctor after doctor, trying drug after drug month after month, year after year, with little to no relief. Patients end up more confused and disoriented than ever, often concluding, “Maybe I am crazy, after all.”

I understand!

For most of the world, it’s a common little phrase. But for people who have fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome (or both), it’s amazingly powerful, not to mention rare. The traditional drugs of choice for fibromyalgia, antidepressants (Cymbalta, and Savella), anticonvulsant medications (Lyrica), muscle relaxants, tranquilizers, and pain medications may provide short-term relief but their results are often fleeting and their side effects usually create more symptoms. It’s not unusual for my fibro patients to be taking twelve or more prescription drugs, many of which contribute to “fibro fog,” anxiety, depression, weight gain, and overall fatigue. I’m not against using drugs. But more and more drugs aren’t the answer for fibromyalgia.

Traditional medicine alone offers little long-term relief for fibromyalgia sufferers.

But don’t lose hope.

Dr Rodger Murphree is the founder and past clinic director for a large integrated medical practice located in Birmingham, Alabama. The practice was staffed with board-certified medical doctors, chiropractors, acupuncturists, and nutritionists who combined traditional and alternative medicine. The clinic provided cutting-edge treatments for acute and chronic illnesses. He has specialized in difficult-to-treat patients for the last 10 years. He is a graduate of the University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB) and is a board certified chiropractic physician.

Dr. Murphree has written 5 books for patients and doctors including Treating and Beating Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Heart Disease: What Your Doctor Won’t Tell You, and Treating and Beating Anxiety and Depression With Orthomolecular Medicine, and Treating and Beating Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: A Patient’s Manual (which is available as a downloadable FREE e-book online (For Kindle, iPad, and other e-Readers). I don’t know if there are any catches as I don’t have an e-Reader, but you might want to have a look – on the left hand side of the page)

In 2002, Dr Murphree separated from his medical clinic so that he could open his own practice in Birmingham, Alabama. He maintains a busy practice focusing on fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, cardiovascular disease, mood disorders, and other difficult-to-treat illnesses. He consults with other physicians, lectures throughout the United States giving educational seminars to patients and healthcare professionals, is a regular columnist for numerous publications, and routinely appears on national radio broadcasts.

Dr Murphree presented a seminar to doctors in Pittsburgh, which was recorded in 9 parts. Although the seminar was delivered to medical professionals, anyone with, or just curious about, FM can follow it:

Part 1

Parts 2-9

Dr. Murphree is a frequent guest on local and national radio and television programs including NBC, Fox, and ABC. He writes for several professional and public health related publications. His articles have appeared in The Washington Post as well as peer-reviewed professional journals, including, Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients, Chiropractic Economics, Alternative Fibromyalgia News Magazine, The American Chiropractor, and Nutri-News.

Dr. Murphree conducts doctor’s continuing education seminars throughout North America helping doctors become proficient in nutritional medicine. Dr. Murphree’s books are available at most books stores and

For anyone in the area, Dr Murphree’s new clinic is located at 2700 Rogers Drive, suite 100 Birmingham AL. 35209 (205) 879-2383. I expect a report back for the rest of us (please!)

From the Bottom Up

Every morning, I wake up and the bones in my feet have moved. When I stand up, it feels like the bones are moving back into place. This phenomenon happens each time my feet have remained still for 15 minutes or more. What triggers our foot pain?  Who knows?  It’s not likely to be an over-reaction to injury, since it typically strikes both feet at the same time.  It doesn’t seem to result from tired feet, either. Theoretically, it could ensue from aggravated myofascial trigger points in the legs, sciatic nerve problems, or a tight iliotibial band (ITB), and then amplified by the hyper-excitable pain regions in our fibromyalgic-addled brains.

Fibromyalgia treatment should extend from the top of your head to the tips of your toes — literally. Although feet are not the location most likely to experience fibromyalgia pain, in a recent paper published in the journal Arthritis Research and Therapy, about half of the 202 patients with fibromyalgia studied reported foot problems.

What works for foot pain?  The first thing I do in the morning is grab my extra fluffy bed socks – it’s not a perfect solution (far from it!) but it helps. If foot pain is caused by trigger points, sciatica or the ITB, acupuncture or back-and-leg massage could help relieve it. Some people swear by a pair of memory foam slippers, covered in ultra-soft terry cloth, or a very gentle foot massage with soothing lotion.

You’ve probably been referred to rheumatologists, or chiropractors to treat fibromyalgia; an acupuncturist probably got a couple of visits, and you might have talked things out with a psychologist along the way, too. But what about a podiatrist? The last time you went to a podiatrist, it was almost assuredly because you wanted to treat your feet, not because you wanted to treat your fibromyalgia…right?

According to Dr. Howard G. Groshell, Jr., a podiatrist who has specialized in the foot and its related ailments, for nearly half a century, with a mysterious condition, like fibromyalgia, that encompasses numerous symptoms which illogically coincide, the medical approach in the West has hit a brick wall. Dr. Howard G. Groshell, Jr. has practiced podiatric medicine since 1960, taking the knowledge he learned in traditional medicine and combining it as he detoured toward the philosophy of Eastern medicine. One of the earliest doctors to combine the two approaches, Dr. Groshell is also the first published author to give a definitive explanation which identifies one of the main causes of fibromyalgia as well as a treatment protocol which examines and corrects energy imbalances in the foot. In the case of fibromyalgia, says Dr Groshell says, Western medicine will never be the answer for long-term relief and healing.

Fibromyalgia Pain Explained: Correcting the Two Levels of Fibromyalgia Pain – reblogged from, posted by Dr. Groshell on September 18th, 2010.

The source of confusion over what causes fibromyalgia pain has become the byproduct of one of Western Medicine’s greatest flaws: the proclivity to target the symptoms of a condition or disease, using prescription medication, opposed to trying to correct the root problem of the condition itself.

Fibromyalgia is a condition that is categorized by a myriad of pain symptoms, but rarely do you see any rational explanation for what causes fibromyalgia pain, itself…

There are many causes for pain, and too voluminous to list, but if we did make a list, I am sure many causes would be omitted.  The core of my theories for the pain in Fibromyalgia relates to the causes of the first level of pain.  Our findings are that in Fibromyalgia, there are generally two levels of pain.  The first level of pain is caused by internal and external forces that affect our body’s overall energy fields.  Pain at the first level is called Latent Pain.

Latent pain can be caused by multiple environmental and physical factors that can lower the body’s energy fields.  There are many, many, many causes.  My consistent findings are that poor foot biomechanics cause a majority of latent pain in the body.

Latent pain is that pain that is present but not recognized until the physical area is palpated or pressed.  At that time, the pain will not be perceived until trigger points are pressed (light, moderate, severe on a scale of 1-10).  Latent pain found in multiple common trigger points in the body should always be a part of a general physical exam. Why is that?

Latent pain is a symptom only.  It lets you know that there is a general energy decrease or blockage to multiple body systems.  When there are energy field blockages in the body, all body systems can be affected.  Hence, energy field blockages to body systems can be the cause of multiple body symptoms.  If these energy field blockages are not recognized, we can only treat symptoms.  That is Western medicine’s approach, in general.  If this direction in medicine continues, we can only surmise that our best doctors will never, ever be more than half right.  If you can only treat symptoms and not recognize the cause, you can never use the term cure (which is almost impossible to use, as it is).

My findings are all new to medical literature.  They are consistent with the laws of nature. Poor or faulty foot biomechanics cause weakened neurotransmitter signals to be sent to the Central Nervous System.  This causes bodily energy field weaknesses or blockages to all systems in general down to the cellular levels.  Our fibromyalgia treatment protocol is directed to realign and strengthen foot biomechanical weaknesses.  Our treatment clears blocked energy fields and pain many times within minutes.

All future medical research in body kinetic chain balance and energy field balance needs to use our findings as its physical basis.  When you are consistent with the laws of nature, you cannot be disputed.

If the patient or doctor doesn’t recognize this new principle in medicine, nothing can change.  The patient will stay where they are.  The doctor will continue to be only half right.  Western medicine will prevail, which ultimately leaves pain as the final winner.

Finally, a connection between chronic foot pain and the myriad of symptoms relating to fibromyalgia.

Treat Your Pain

Many experts believe the best treatment for fibromyalgia is a multifaceted approach that combines medication with lifestyle changes and alternative treatments. And, it looks like Mommy and I have been left alone to learn how to manage/treat/cope/handle/survive (choose the most appropriate verb) my fibromyalgia. Having read lots of your stories and received plenty of advice, I am working on my own treatment plan – do I have a choice?

But what about if you’re new to all of this? Where do you even start?

A treatment plan gives structure to getting from here to there. Be realistic and (yes, you’re already probably sick of hearing this already) small steps! A treatment plan is different from devising goals because of its flexibility and internal exploration. In most clinical settings, a treatment plan review is done quarterly or even monthly. After each review, the plan is rewritten to meet current needs.

Start With a Diagnosis

There are no lab tests for fibromyalgia. Doctors diagnose it by considering criteria such as how long you’ve had pain and how widespread it is, and by ruling out other causes. This can be a long and complicated process because the symptoms associated with fibromyalgia can be caused by other conditions. So it’s best to see a doctor who is familiar with fibromyalgia – which can be easier said than done, sometimes!

Learn About Fibromyalgia Medications – You are YOUR Best Advocate!

Once you’ve been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, your doctor will talk to you about treatment options. Several types of medicines are used to help manage fibromyalgia symptoms such as pain and fatigue.

Three medications are FDA-approved to treat fibromyalgia:

  • Cymbalta (duloxetine): a type of antidepressant called a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI). Researchers aren’t sure how Cymbalta works in fibromyalgia, but they think that increasing levels of serotonin and norepinephrine help control and reduce feelings of pain.
  • Lyrica (pregabalin): Lyrica is a nerve pain and epilepsy drug. In people with fibromyalgia, it may help calm down overly sensitive nerve cells that send pain signals throughout the body. It has been effective in treating fibro pain.
  • Savella (milnacipran): Savella is also an SNRI. While researchers aren’t exactly sure how it works, studies have shown that it helps relieve pain and reduce fatigue in people with fibromyalgia.

Antidepressants are also sometimes prescribed to help people manage fibromyalgia symptoms:

  • Tricyclic antidepressants. By helping increase levels of the brain chemicals serotonin and norepinephrine, these medications may help relax painful muscles and enhance the body’s natural painkillers.
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Your doctor may prescribe one of these types of antidepressants by itself or in combination with a tricyclic antidepressant. SSRIs prevent serotonin from being reabsorbed in the brain. This may help ease pain and fatigue.

These medications are also sometimes prescribed for fibromyalgia:

  • Local anesthetics. Injected into especially tender areas, anesthetics can provide some temporary relief, usually for no longer than three months.
  • Anticonvulsants or seizure medications such as Neurontin are effective for reducing pain and anxiety. It is unclear how these medications work to relieve the symptoms in fibromyalgia.
  • Muscle Relaxants are occasionally prescribed to help alleviate pain associate with muscle strain in those with fibromyalgia.

Stay Active

Exercise is an important part of managing fibromyalgia symptoms. Staying physically active can relieve pain, stress, and anxiety.

The key is to start slowly. Begin with stretching and low-impact activities, such as walking, swimming or other water exercises, or bicycling. Low-impact aerobic exercises such as yoga, tai chi, or Pilates can also be helpful. Prior to starting any exercise routine, or if you want to increase the intensity of your exercise, talk with your doctor.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy can help you get control of your illness by focusing on what you can do to improve your situation, rather than on your chronic symptoms.

A physical therapist can show you how to get temporary relief from fibromyalgia pain and stiffness, get stronger, and improve your range of motion. And she can help you make little changes, such as practicing good posture, that help prevent painful flare-ups.

Alternative Therapies

A number of popular fibromyalgia treatments fall outside the realm of mainstream medicine. In general, there hasn’t been extensive research on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), but anecdotal evidence suggests that some may work. Always talk with your doctor before starting any alternative treatment.

Popular alternative treatments include:

  • Acupuncture. This ancient healing practice aims to increase blood flow and production of natural painkillers with thin needles inserted into the skin at strategic points on the body. Some studies report that acupuncture may help ease pain, anxiety, and fatigue.
  • Massage therapy. This may help reduce muscle tension, ease pain in both muscles and soft tissue,improve range of motion, and boost production of natural painkillers.
  • Chiropractic treatment. Based on spinal adjustments to reduce pain, this popular therapy may help relieve fibromyalgia symptoms.
  • Supplements. A number of dietary and other supplements are touted as treatments aimed at relieving fibromyalgia symptoms. Some of the most popular for fibromyalgia include magnesium, melatonin, 5-HTP, and SAMe, which may affect serotonin levels. However, results of studies on these supplements are mixed. Be sure to talk with your doctor before taking any supplements. Some may have side effects and could react badly with medication you are taking.
  • Herbs. As with supplements, scientific evidence for the effectiveness of herbs is mixed. A few studies have shown that St. John’s wort can be as effective as certain prescription medication for treating mild depression.

This is just a start – and you will probably need to tweak your plan as you go along, throwing out activities and treatments that don’t work for you, while grasping the positives with both hands. Remember, it may take a while to get where you want to be – it is all about experimentation (and just because something works for me does not mean it will work for you). Lastly, try not to get discouraged (Ha!) but we’re all here to support you.