Is it Giving Up or Acceptance?

imagesA couple of weeks ago, I wrote that I haven’t reached the acceptance stage on the ‘grief scale’ so I don’t think I am qualified (am I ever?) to write about the topic of ACCEPTANCE however I read the following post by Jen Reynolds of FibroTV:

Acceptancesliderlogo

FibrotvartworkI think one of the most difficult issues to deal with when you are diagnosed with a chronic illness is acceptance. For the first couple years I was angry, in denial, and did everything I wanted to and paid big time every time I did.  I was very young (18) when I was diagnosed and I just wanted to do everything my friends were doing. It was almost like I had to prove to them and myself I was not going to change and would even push harder than a healthy person. I was working full-time  taking care of my boyfriend’s 2 kids 3 to 4 days out of the week, keeping up a 3 bedroom house,  and keeping a very hectic social calendar. This is when I started taking a lot of medication to cover up the symptoms of the poor choices I made that affected my health and began to decline rapidly.

There is almost a mourning process when you get diagnosed. On one hand I was happy they figured out what was wrong but on the other, all I wanted was to be normal again. I held on to a lot of anger because I wanted my life back the way it was. I would try to stay busy every second of the day because once I stopped the pain would be unrelenting and I would think about it more if I did not keep busy. I felt that accepting I was ill was giving in or giving up. What I later realized is that acceptance was key to begin my journey to wellness.

Giving up means that you feel hopeless and that nothing that you do can change the situation so you let yourself go. I ended up doing this for about 12 years. At one point I was on 12 medications and went from 97 pounds to almost 200 pounds in a year. I ate what I wanted because I had the attitude that if I was going to be like this for the rest of my life I should at least be able to enjoy what I eat. I did not know that the food I was eating was making me have more pain and more fatigue. I just did not connect food to pain because it made me feel good to eat it!  I ate fast food at least once a day and I loved having a donut for breakfast because it was cheap and fast before I went to work. My breakfast consisted of a donut or two, a Dr Pepper, two Vicodin  and a Soma. No wonder why I felt so bad! Everything I put into my body when I first woke up had 0 nutrition value and was toxic. I was basically in denial about my health and denied any personal responsibility for taking charge of it and taking care of my body. I would tell myself, ”I did not ask to be sick it is not my fault!” It was not my fault I got sick that is true, but it was my fault for treated my body the way I was and I continued to decline health wise because of it!

Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.

~Lao Tzu

I eventually accepted that I had fibromyalgia and started to work on my health. It was actually very empowering to accept that I had fibromyalgia and that I needed to take care of myself physically/mentally/and spiritually. I felt like I had at least some control of my body again.  I started not “overdoing it.” I dropped the process foods with the exception of going out to eat once a week and I started working on my mind and spirit. Once I started doing these things I started seeing small improvements in my health. At times it was very frustrating because the results were so small and they were slow but every small success adds up! It was much easier popping a pill and having that little relief for a short period of time! I saw quick results that way but I developed rebound pain that was even worse than the fibromyalgia and it just was a vicious cycle for me so I made the very personal decision (with the help of my doctor) to go off the medications. Once I got off all the meds (which took about a year) I could not believe the difference in my pain levels.

No matter how sick you are and what stage you are with your acceptance of your chronic condition there are things you can do to improve your health that will decrease pain and help you live a more full and productive life. For each person it will be different depending on what they have and what the underlying cause is for their condition. There is always an underlying cause of a health condition and unfortunately Western medicine never tries to figure it out and gives medications to cover up symptoms. It is just the way Doctors are trained here. They are trained to diagnose and prescribe medications accordingly. We can see with the rapid increase of chronic illness this is not working.  We are in a Nation that supports sick care – there is no “health” in healthcare right now. It is going to be up to YOU to find the underlying cause. The best way to do that is to look back to when you first became ill and what happened during that time. Good Nutrition is always a positive for the body and will make you feel better. Also many conditions are caused from food intolerance’s to ether wheat, dairy, and chemicals in foods that are not supposed to be in the body. If you do have a intolerance to one of these things it is a good thing because that can be resolved! I highly recommend that everyone get tested for food allergies and intolerance’s because it is such an easy fix. BUT we are not just physical beings, so if there are any unresolved issues from your past that cause unresolved anger and resentment that is something that must be dealt with in order to see your symptoms decrease.

Life is a journey and the choices you make every day affect the quality of your life. No one can make positive changes for you, that is something you have to do for yourself. You may always have some symptoms but you can live well-being chronically ill. It will take some lifestyle changes and change is very hard. Us humans are stubborn and resist change, but without change everything will stay the same. If something is not working move forward to the next thing until you find what works best for you. Don’t give up! Accept and move forward making positive healthy choices for yourself. You deserve it!

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Myth-Understood

I read this blog post from The Invisible F and was really impressed by the way the information was presented. I just HAD to re-blog:

nessie2Six Common Fibromyalgia Myths

WHICH OF THE FOLLOWING IS TRUE?

(A) NESSIE IS REAL

(B) FIBROMYALGIA IS REAL

*

Alarming doesn’t quite sum up some of the myths  people have about fibromyalgia – a condition that affects possibly 3-6 % of the world’s population.

I assure you, it is real. The pain is real. The debilitating chronic exhaustion is real. The insomnia is real. So is every other symptom that makes it a dreaded illness to contend with.

What is also real is the ignorance that people show towards it and us – the sufferers. Here are some of the common myths that people have about FMS.

Myth 1: It’s all in your mind.

Truth: Really? When people perpetuate these misconceptions they add to the stigma of  fibromyalgia as a figment of our imagination. We are not hypochondriacs. 20 years from now when science and medicine expose more about this baffling condition,  you’ll have to bite your tongue. Don’t be part of the problem, please.

Myth 2: You can cure yourself with…wait…don’t tell me, the acai berry! No wait! what was the  latest quick fix being advertised online?

Truth: There is no such thing as a quick fix. Most sufferers will tell you they’ve tried any and  everything, desperate for a solution, as well as spending years to and from specialist doctors, doing all manner of medical tests.

Myth 3: Some good ole exercise will fix yuh up!

Truth: This is one of those times when I have to once again go ‘really?’ I’m not saying  exercise doesn’t help but the notion that some doctors and people have that regular exercise will sort our problems is wrong. Most sufferers, including myself, CANNOT  manage proper exercise.

On a very good day, if I push myself I can manage 9  minutes of graded exercise with a break in between. Then I pay for it afterwards. Sometimes we can be in bed, sore and aching for says after exercise. Every sufferer is different of course. What I will say is routine stretching and physical movement (i.e. walking the dog or rushing to work) sometimes helps in decreasing the severity of  muscle pains. It doesn’t in any way affect my debilitating exhaustion as the doctor promised.

Myth 4: It’s another excuse for laziness

Truth: Firstly, let me say shame to all those who beguile the social welfare system by abusing the invisibility of fibromyalgia and other chronic pain illnesses. Such actions   are ignominious and hurt the REAL sufferers.

Secondly, to the sceptics, we are NOT lazy. Just because we look well it doesn’t mean we are not in pain or badly exhausted or dizzy or hurting from one of our myriad of symptoms. We might look normal but our bodies are functioning with defects and abnormalities in our  central nervous system. Take it for granted that the simplest of activities tire us immensely and can encourage flare ups. For me sometimes it is having a shower,  combing my hair or walking up a flight of stairs. Many of us fix steely facades on and we brave the day. We take care of families, we force our bodies to work…because we have to.  Our friends who cannot manage this and depend on social welfare, are no less courageous than we are. So judge us only if you can walk a mile in our shoes  damn it.

Myth 5: You just need to lose weight

Truth: If I got one pence for every time a fibromyalgia sufferer has complained about being  told this, I’d be well on my way. Certainly, as with any condition, having a healthy  weight contributes to the overall well-being of the individual. But to suggest to any    sufferer that their muscle pains and slew of other symptoms like migraines, irritable  bowel syndrome, insomnia and exhaustion would be remedied solely by weight loss, well… it is ludicrous.

Myth 6: You can live a normal life like everyone else

Truth: I wouldn’t call it a normal life, whatever normal is anyway. We TRY to live but with great difficulty. TRYING to live with chronic pain and unbearable exhaustion,  migraines, cognitive impairments etc makes it incredibly hard to focus on THE NOW.  And what is living if one cannot live in the present? And enjoy the beauty of now? Have you tried to think clearly or creatively when you have a bad migraine or pain? Well multiply that and imagine having to live with it everyday. We contend with something like this and I cannot call this normal. Also, please note comparing  other’s ailments to ours doesn’t reduce our suffering in any way. It serves no purpose.

What other myths have you heard or had to debunk? Tell us so we can clear it up for them.

Gentle hugs :)

GUILTY as charged!

This article was pointed out to me. I thought it might be useful for some of you:

Seven Strategies for Reducing Guilt

By Bruce Campbell

Guilt is a common reaction to CFS and FM. Some people blame themselves for getting CFS or FM, thinking they might have avoided becoming ill if they had lived differently. Other people feel guilty about no longer contributing as they used to, while others lament that they aren’t the spouse or parent they wanted to be.

If you experience guilt associated with CFS or FM, what can you do to ease the burden it imposes? Here are seven strategies used by people in our program.

Adjust Your Expectations

Guilt is often triggered by perfectionism, holding ourselves to standards that don’t fit our new capabilities. Rather than adjusting our standards to meet our new limits, we may measure our performance against either the person we used to be or the person we had hoped to be. We may say things like “I have to do things perfectly” or “I have to be the best at everything” or “My kids deserve everything from me that other children get.”

You can reduce guilt by adjusting your expectations so that they match your new level of functioning. How do you do that? One place to start is by doing a reality check on your expectations. On the left side of a piece of paper, list all those things you no longer do but think you should do, for example, fix elaborate meals, drive kids to their activities or earn a living. On the right side, write your judgment of whether the expectation is realistic.

 Reframe (Change Self-Talk)

Part of the process of adjustment is changing our internal dialogue or self-talk, so that it supports our efforts to live well with illness rather than generating guilt. One person in our program says that she used to chastise herself for taking a nap. Her self talk was “you are weak and lazy for having to rest.” Now, when she goes to take a nap she tells herself, “I am helping myself to be healthy. I am saving energy to spend time with my husband or to baby sit my grandchildren.”

Similarly, when feeling tired, you can say “This fatigue is not my fault; it came with CFS. So I don’t need to feel guilty about not being able to do everything I used to.” Or: “I didn’t ask for FM, so why should I feel shame when it prevents me from doing things.”

You can change your habitual ways of thinking about yourself to make them more accurate and more friendly. For step-by-step directions, see the article Taming Stressful Thoughts.

When Feeling Guilty, Shift Your Attention

Even if feeling guilty is inevitable, we can control how we respond when feelings of guilt arise. One person in our program said that when she feels guilty, she asks herself, “Is this feeling productive?” In some cases, the answer will be “Yes.” Guilt can draw our attention to ways in which we have failed to live up to our standards and can motivate us to act differently. (See next strategy.)

If the feeling is not productive, however, it may be better to respond to guilt by turning our attention elsewhere. As another person wrote, “It’s better not to go some places in your head, so I’ve learned how to control my own thoughts.” Another said that when she is caught up in feelings of guilt, she tells herself things like ‘this isn’t my fault’ or ‘these feelings will pass as long as I don’t allow myself to act on them’.”

If You’re Wrong, Apologize and Make Amends

Guilt can be helpful if it motivates you to take better care of yourself in the future and to treat those around you with more care. One person said that if she does something to hurt her husband or her children, like lashing out at them verbally, she apologizes.

If being undependable bothers you, you can use guilt over canceling out on commitments as an impetus to be more consistent in pacing. Another person said, “I was so embarrassed by canceling out on people that I promised myself I would do better. That commitment motivated me to be more consistent in pacing and to become a more dependable person.”

Educate Others (Within Limits)

In addition to adjusting your expectations for yourself, others expectations of you will have to change as well. People in our groups have suggested several strategies for doing this. One is to educate people about CFS and FM, emphasizing that they are long-term conditions that impose significant limits and require adjustments of the person who is ill and those around her. One person in our program gave each member of her family a booklet on CFS from the CFIDS Association and asked them to read it as their birthday present to her one year. The process of educating family and friends is usually a gradual one, often taking several years.

Learn Assertiveness

Another strategy for reducing guilt is to be assertive, standing up for yourself by stating what you will and won’t do. A person in our program says that her family now accepts it when she says “I am sorry I can’t do that.” She tells about a family outing she and her husband went on with their adult children. At the end, her husband invited the children over to their house. “In the past,” the woman says, “I would have gone along with it, seething inside at myself for not saying anything and at them for not knowing I couldn’t do it.”

Instead, she told everyone that she needed to rest and she suggested that her husband spend the evening at one of the children’s homes. So that’s what the family did. The woman took a nap at home while the rest of the family went to a daughter’s house to watch a movie.

Practice Relationship Triage

A final strategy is to reevaluate your relationships, practicing what we call relationship triage: making explicit decisions about whom to include in your life, concentrating on the more valuable or necessary relationships and letting others go. You may decide that some people will never understand your condition or accept that you are ill. In some cases, you might choose to end a relationship. For relationships you decide are necessary, you might limit the frequency of contact.

Grow Up!

 

I found this inspiring. It is Leah Tyler‘s blogpost from Chronicles of Fibromyalgia (published Thursday August 9th):

The other day I was doing dishes and thinking about the 75 million steps in life I have taken to bring the Fibro dragon down. I remembered the scared frightened girl who got sick with something nobody knew much about. I thought about the years of misery, just plain misery, I endured as I searched for the steps to reduce the impact Fibromyalgia had on my life. And then I started laughing. Because I remembered that scared frightened girl had a lot of anger, and a fair amount was directed at my parents. They didn’t do anything wrong to deserve it per say, but I still shot blame at them. If Fibromyalgia is genetic or the result of an overdriven personality it was their fault I got sick, not mine. I mean they made me and they raise me so why wouldn’t it be? While my bank accounts fell deeper into the red I decided they should pay my medical bills because they had done something, albeit unwittingly, to cause this horrible illness to invade my life. It wasn’t my fault, it was theirs.
Flash forward five years and that thought pattern is precisely why I was standing in my kitchen laughing my head off. Boy you sure have grown up, I thought to myself. Because in the years between blaming the world and getting Fibromyalgia to a manageable place I did precisely that, grew up. It’s what allowed me to get control of my life, educate myself and figure out what was going on inside my body. Take action and seek success no matter the sacrifice. Insist on results regardless of how much hard work it took. Oh yes I wanted to give up many times. Still do, on any given day depending on how that day happens to be going. But now the thought of crediting my parents for my problems and expecting them to fix them seems simply preposterous.
Ultimately taking full responsibility for my circumstances, no matter the source or cause, is what’s allowed me to prevail and keep going. And still to this day as challenges arise it is picking up that bag of blame and hurling it as far away as possible that forces forward progress. Who on earth cares whose fault it is? What matters is what I do with the difficulties that land in my lap. I can find plenty of people to blame everything on, but what good is that? For me it only incites panic and bitterness. No, I much prefer to take control and deal with things on my terms as I see fit. Life is never short of challenges. From the perspective I have today I believe they are part of what keep us growing, improving and thriving in life. It took serious health problems of epic proportions to break me down and build me back up to this point of view, though. That and the values instilled in me by my parents.

 

Fluid Ink, the Phantom Scribbler, and Smudj

 

Rainer Galea is a cartoonist/illustrator who became seriously ill with Fibromyalgia (FM) after completing her Masters. The illness completely decimated her physically and psychologically. In a bid to deal with the onslaught of symptoms, she took to her art to encapsulate the pain of FM.

She has been asked to write her experience of the syndrome to educate people on the disease by chronic pain researchers and educators. Rainer’s art looks at the psychological/philosophical workings of the human psyche. Her cartoons have been published world wide in the education of human and animal rights. More of her work can be seen at Fluid Ink.

Here’s Rainer’s article (via BodyinMind.org):

Fluid Ink, the Phantom Scribbler and Smudj

Genesis: To cut a very long story short, Smudj was born from a very dark period in my life. So dark that not a pin prick of light could be seen. I was on the knife edge of suicidal, wanting to be sliced into oblivion.

Close to a year before Smudj smeared its way on my page, my body had developed an autoimmune syndrome called Fibromyalgia. It fell upon me over a two week period. One day I was a healthy 30 year old, the next day my body was being torn apart by pain so severe and barbaric that no words have the courage to encapsulate the true horror of it.

The pain was uncompromising, merciless and relentless. It was primordial, raw and naked. Never had I felt this depth of physical pain before. It sliced through my neck, shoulders, back legs, arms. Everywhere. I could not walk for 4 months. I could not dress myself. I could not hold a book or even a pencil. My mother had to spoon feed me because it was too painful to hold eating utensils.

My central nervous system was so over active that the slightest touch would send electrical signals screaming throughout my body. I could only bear to have a shower once a week: each droplet of water was akin to a needle piercing my skin. There was no rest anywhere, at anytime. Due to the pain I could not sleep more than a couple of hours a night. Without sleep the body cannot dream and to compensate the brain will dream while one is awake. My brain was drenched in images that tried to make sense of a body that had become a torture chamber. While awake I could see termites burrowing into my skin and eating my muscles. I knew I was hallucinating, but it did not stop me from surrounding my bed with crackers and frozen chops in the hope that the “termites” would eat these offerings instead of me.

For three years this severe pain went on, but by the end of the first year, all I could think about was escaping the pain. I lost my career, my relationship and the majority of my friends abandoned me: even my beloved dog had to be put down because of cancer. No one in my family could stand being in the room with me for long periods because they felt too impotent to do anything. Time evaporated not into weeks, or days, or hours, or minutes. I was only existing from one eternal moment to the next. My body felt as if it was being mutilated by an invisible madman and all I could do was lie in bed trying not to move for fear that my body would be jolted with burning, electric shocks: nerve pain was rampaging through every fibre of self. No one in the medical profession knew what was wrong with me and no one could stop what was happening. I came to intimately know there are worse things then death and I was being hollowed out by it physically, mentally and spiritually. In order to leech these toxic thoughts coursing through me, I instinctively began to draw them out.

Smudj was born. Smudj was me.

I was being smudged out of the world. My will to live blurred. Reality as I knew it disappeared and it would never be the same again. And in this crack of knowing, the dark, inky shadow of pain and depression began to swallow me whole.

I would like to say part of my recovery included a montage of me in slow motion with inspirational music overlayed on my images. But, in reality, it was (is) slow, frustrating, painful, and at times, just plain scary. It was (is) day in, day out of physio, stretching, massages, initiated by never ending cycles of pain and sleeplessness. I researched, trialed and screwed up different techniques and dietary frameworks until I got it right for my body. It is physically, psychologically, socially and financially draining.

People with chronic pain do not just go through one stage of grief, we go through multiple deaths coming, without reprieve, from all directions, as relationships with dreams, people, self and the world around us change and explode. The person I knew as “me” was altered, bucked from her self controlled trajectory in both minute and monumental ways. My psychology contracted, stagnated and then started to expand, metamorphosing into another of which I am still trying to understand. I had undergone a psychic death and continue a psychic rebirth, and, as with all births, the labor pains are hard and arduous.

To those who are dealing with chronic pain, I know you are struggling. I know at times you feel hopeless. I know you feel deserted and betrayed by body, the medical community, people you know and circumstance in general. Like you, I have been in the darkest and most painful of places, both physically and psychological. I was told that there was no hope, no cure, to just get use to this being your inverted life, and for awhile, I excepted their words as my reality until my own voice started to internally object and remind me of what I was capable of, of what I had already achieved. Very angrily it started saying:

Get up. Get researching. Get moving. Get asking questions. Stop accepting an outcome by people who have no freaking clue what they are talking about and who have not the freaking idea of who you are.

I have improved radically since the first few years of fibro. I can walk, dress, feed myself, I can hold a book, wield a pencil, put my thoughts on paper and clothe them in ink and colour. My goal of becoming a renowned cartoonist still spins with fever in my veins. I have wrestled my legs back and for the most part look “healthy”, but I still deal with the sensation of burning, numbing, aching pain, but nothing in comparison to the hell hole I endured. I have crawled, dragged, screamed and raged my self into Life again, and although I am still wanting for further healing, I no longer see a tunnel without end.

There is Light. There is Belief. And Hope, that most fundamental strength of all human emotions, stands up anew, shakes off the cobwebs and walks through my world once more.

 

Understanding the Pain

I really liked this metaphor for understanding our pain, so I thought I would partially reblog (also I feel like crap, so I’m kinda cheating):

Understanding the Pain Response of Fibromyalgia

By Adrienne Dellwo, About.com Guide

When you’re trying to understand how pain works in someone with fibromyalgia, it can help to step away from the medical jargon and compare it to something most of us are already familiar with. To me, it really helps to think about a computer network. (Don’t worry – you don’t have to understand a lot about computers to get this!)

Computer Network Malfunction

Picture the computer network at a large company, with a bunch of computers all connected to a server, and an IT department full of guys who keep it all running.

Problem #1: Now imagine there’s a glitch in the system and things just aren’t running right. The computers start popping up with erroneous warning messages, so everyone starts emailing IT about them.

Problem #2: The glitch causes all of those emails to be sent in triplicate.

Problem #3: The IT department is woefully under staffed today, with 2 guys present instead of the usual 6. They were already working hard to keep the system running when suddenly they were swamped with emails and there’s no way they can keep up on them. Now the email system is on the verge of crashing because of the sudden spike.

You can imagine the chaos and confusion that would result, as well as the drop in everyone’s ability to actually get their jobs done.

Nervous System Malfunction

Now let’s look at how this applies to what’s going on in your body.

The computer network is your nervous system. The server is your brain, and the computers represent cells. The IT guys? They’re playing the role of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which helps your brain process pain signals.

In Problem #1: The cells inaccurately interpret different kinds of stimuli as pain (erroneous warning messages.)

In Problem #2: They send pain signals to your brain (emails,) but because they have high levels of an enzyme called substance P, they send up to triple the number of signals they should send.

In Problem #3: Your brain is working hard to keep your body running, when suddenly it’s bombarded by pain signals emails. It doesn’t have enough serotonin to process the messages that are coming in, and the pain distracts resources from other areas.

Just as in a company, this dysfunction causes myriad problems in your body and your life and makes it hard for you to function.

Hypervigilant for Another Reason?

A couple of months ago, I re-blogged a post about Misophonia – a term used to describe the severe reaction that some people have to sounds. Many of us associated with this condition. I am sorry to say that a recent study (published 11 April 2012) did not provide evidence for a behavioural or neuronal manifestation of hypervigilance in patients with FM.

As hypervigilance, as an abnormal increase of attention to external stimuli, has been implicated in chronic pain states, the researchers assumed both attentional performance and pain-induced gamma oscillations to be altered in patients with FM.

The study recorded electroencephalography from ‘normals’ and FM sufferers during an attention demanding visual reaction time task. In 50% of the trials, painful laser stimuli were also applied. The results of self-assessment questionnaires confirm that patients with FM consider themselves hypervigilant towards pain as compared to ‘normals’. However, the experimental findings indicated that the effects of painful stimuli on attentional performance and neuronal gamma oscillations did not differ between both groups.

Yes, there was a significant correlation between the pain-induced modulation of visual gamma oscillations and the pain-induced modulation of reaction times; however, this relationship did not differ between groups either. These findings confirm a close relationship between gamma oscillations and the variable attentional effects of pain, which appear to be comparable in health and disease.

So, still no new answers.

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 – www.fibroexpert.com 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 Amazon.com.

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!)

So It’s Not Called Fibromyalgia Anymore…

Excerpt:

…then (he) said ok, here’s the deal: it’s not called Fibromyalgia anymore. Great, I said, what’s it called? He said right now, the best way to describe it is an unnamed Central Nervous System Disorder. It’s a very exciting time to have it, he said, because everything is changing… right down to the name.

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Morning Stiffness in Fibromyalgia

Re-blogged from Kristin Thorson, Editor, Fibromyalgia Network  (Posted: March 27, 2012)

 

 

“When clinicians are asked which symptoms are the most debilitating in patients with fibromyalgia, the most common responses include pain, fatigue, and sleep disturbances,” states lead author of a recent study by Robert Bennett, M.D., of Oregon Health and Science University in Portland.[1] He also adds patients report stiffness as an important symptom. And who wouldn’t complain about waking up each morning to a body that feels in the final stages of rigor mortis?

Indeed, 90 percent of the fibromyalgia patients in the Fibromyalgia Network’s recent survey of Fibro Over Time endorsed significant problems with morning stiffness (see our Winter 2012 Journal). But what do most doctors think of your stiffness? Bennett says they “generally regard it as a minor symptom” or a sign of inflammation unrelated to the fibromyalgia.

When doctors think of stiffness, they conjure up rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammation-related joint diseases that make it harder for these patients to get going in the morning. Yet studies in fibromyalgia patients show stiffness is usually worse in the morning and Bennett points out, “morning stiffness has been rated as more severe in fibromyalgia than rheumatoid arthritis.” He says people with both conditions have worse stiffness than those with fibro alone. But why would fibromyalgia patients be troubled by stiffness?

As people age, they get arthritis, become less active, and expect a little morning stiffness. However, this does not explain why 25- or 45-year old fibromyalgia patients showed signs of joint stiffness on a test involving the ankle.[2] A detailed report was provided in our February 2011 eNews Alert, but suffice it to say, fibro patients showed twice as much stiffness as age-matched healthy controls.

Stiffness sometimes correlates with pain, and since Cymbalta is FDA-approved to treat the pain of fibromyalgia, Bennett and colleagues thought it might relieve the symptom of stiffness. The study was supported by Eli Lilly, the maker of Cymbalta, to see if the drug could help with this symptom. Stiffness did improve, but only by a tiny amount of 10 percent. This compares closely to the 13 percent benefit found in the trials of Lyrica.

If the pain of fibro was solely related to the stiffness, the FDA-approved drugs should be able to produce significant improvement in this symptom. Yet they don’t.

Fibromyalgia is a rather “messy” multi-system condition. There is the central nervous system component involved in processing pain, an area all three FDA-approved drugs work on (Cymbalta, Lyrica and Savella). People with fibro also have trigger points or knots in their muscles, which cause serious pain and restrictive movement.[3] In addition, one has to remember the circulatory system, and fibromyalgia patients have increased arterial stiffness (see Winter 2012 Journal).[4]

Your arteries should be flexible, but studies show a reduction of the elastic-like qualities in fibro patients compared to age-matched controls. An overly active sympathetic nervous system is thought to be partly to blame.

Therapies to relax your sympathetic nerves, such as a hot shower and many other approaches, often ease morning stiffness. Even one of the three FDA-approved drugs may help, but just don’t expect too much from them.

 


[1] Bennett R, et al. Clin Ther [epub ahead of print] Mar 13, 2012

[2] Dierick F, et al. Eur J Appl Physiol 111:2163-71, 2011

[3] Ge HY, et al. Arthritis Res Ther 13(2):R48, Mar 22, 2011

[4] Cho KI, et al. Clin Rheumatol 30:647-54, 2011