fibromyalgiaFeeling exhausted day after day? At bed time your mind is working overtime, no switch to turn it off; you eventually fall asleep but wake up repeatedly...The alarm sounds and you realise that the dismal cycle of dragging days start all over again. Yet another day with constantly tender and aching muscles over your entire body. Sounds familiar..? Let's have an "up close and personal" interview with Mr. Fibromyalgia.

There is a tremendous overlap between Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). The only difference in diagnostic criteria: Fibromyalgia presents with musculoskeletal pain and near-constant fatigue whereas CFS presents with fatigue only.

Diagnosis will be based on the following major criteria:
• Generalized stiffness and aches of at least 3 anatomical sites for at least 3 months,
• Six or more typical, reproducible tender points,
• Exclusion of other disorders with similar symptoms.

And Minor Criteria will include
• Tingling and numbing sensations
• Joint swelling
• Chronic headaches
• Fatigue
• Sleep disturbances
• Irritable Bowel Syndrome
• Psychological- and neurological complaints

It is believed that a malfunction of the Hypothalamus (master endocrine gland in the brain) might be related to the deprivation of deep sleep. The Hypothalamus shortens muscles which results in a state where muscles become chronically tense and tender. It triples your body's level of substance P (chemical responsible for sensitivity to pain) thus causing your muscles to hurt. It may cause pandemonium and havoc where hormones, digestion, immune system and neurotransmitters are concerned. One or more of dozens of possible symptoms may be triggered.

Fibromyalgia and Thyroid problems often go together. Request a TSH blood test. A lower TSH level is necessary if there are high amounts of Anti-thyroid antibodies present. Your practitioners will advice you on the treatment regime to follow.

Detoxify your body and enjoy more energy: Pure water and air, Liver detoxification, Plant-based digestive enzymes, Infra-red sauna and a pre-pro-biotic combination (prevent yeast overgrowth, good bacteria back into system).

Massage: reduce muscle tension and ease pain in muscles and soft tissue, improves circulation, enhance mood and boost production of natural pain killer and serotonin.

Acupuncture: Release fatigue and anxiety by rebalancing the flow of energy. It increases blood flow and produces natural pain killers.

Moist heat pads may temporarily ease pain and stiffness. Consider taking a warm shower. Cold packs reduce deep muscle pain.

Elimination Challenge Diet: Stop eating certain foods, for a period of six weeks, that you might be sensitive to or that might cause constipation, bloating, fatigue, headaches etc. Add it back to your diet and note how you feel. If symptoms re occur, eliminate foods. Our aim is to improve IBS symptoms and reduce pain as well as fatigue. Eliminate dairy products and gluten. Consult a Nutritionist / Dietician / Naturopath to ensure that essential nutrients are not lost.

• 5-HTP (Hydroxytryptophan) is the building block for the brain chemical serotonin. It assists in easing anxiety, insomnia, fibromyalgia pain and morning stiffness. HTP used to be associated with Eosinophilla-myalgia Syndrome (EMS) but contaminant in some products caused the EMS episodes. Check with your health care professional for any contra indications.
• Melatonin – Hormone used in supplements to improve sleep.
• Magnesium – Low levels of this element may be linked to fibromyalgia.
• S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine (SAMe) An Amino acid derivate may boost levels of serotonin and dopamine resulting in improving mood and sleep.
• Vit D – 10 min / day between 10am – 2pm as deficiency is linked to mood (depression).

Botanical Medicine under the supervision of a registered Phytotherapist:

• Hypericum perforatum – Muscle relaxer
• Valeriana officinalis – Regulate sleep pattern, ease insomnia and anxiety
• Eleutherococcus senticosus – Boost energy, assist body in dealing with stress (adaptogen), fight fatigue
• Grape seed extract – inhibits inflammatory response (procyanidins) and great anti oxidant.

My protocol includes, but not limited to, combined therapy with 5-HTP, Hypericum perforatum and Magnesium. Start of by increasing dietary intake of magnesium: Legumes, seeds, nuts, whole grains and green leafy veggies. Keep mobile, enjoy sunny days and invest in a good massage therapist.

Remember... simple maths : Health = Wealth!