Archive for May 2013

Guidelines for Successful Fibromyalgia Treatment

As this article points out, there are numerous body systems affected by this disease and the treatments mentioned seem to have usually been tried previously without much benefit to the patient or their quality of life. It is important to get primary care physicians involved with treatment of this disorder since we are the ones most often to see them first and treat them initially. Here in Phoenix, AZ at the AZ Fibromyalgia and Arthritis Pain Relief Centers, we are getting substantial results in as little as 30 days solely treating patients with holistic methods and without the use of pharmaceutical drugs. After 30 days patients have substantial pain reduction as well as improved quality of life, as measured by the questionnaire patients fill out. These improvements are their own assessment of 8 different categories, which we use to track their progress. In order to treat patients with fibromyalgia correctly, the underlying dysfunctions affecting pain pathways, inflammation, nutritional deficits, chronic infections, neuroendocrine and immune systems need to be corrected. All this is achievable, but only if all the underlying problems are addressed. It is important to remember that an individualized, whole body approach should be taken to address all the patients concerns to effectively correct the underlying disorder that is fibromyalgia.

-Dr. Seth Black, NMD

Fibromyalgia Treatment: New Canadian Guidelines

Article via Medical News Today.

Physicians from the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) and the University of Calgary have published a review article in the CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) to help family doctors diagnose and treat fibromyalgia. The article represents the first time researchers have published Canadian guidelines to help manage the condition.

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that affects the central nervous system causing pain throughout the body. It is often accompanied by fatigue, depression and sleep problems. It affects mostly women and their multiple symptoms often go years without a proper diagnosis and treatment.

“One million Canadians have fibromyalgia and the time has come to take their suffering seriously. This is a real condition that greatly impacts patients and their families. Finally there are national guidelines to help diagnose and treat this syndrome,” says Dr. John Pereira, a study co-author from the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Medicine and a physician at the Calgary Chronic Pain Centre.

Fibromyalgia is usually diagnosed by rheumatologists but due to the high prevalence of the disease many patients are not able to seek advice from a specialist. Therefore, primary care physicians are best positioned to take over this role, as recommended by the 2012 Canadian Fibromyalgia Guidelines. In the review, the authors provide evidence-based tools for primary care physicians to make the diagnosis and manage the condition long-term.

“We are the first ones to develop guidelines that look at diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of fibromyalgia,” says Dr. Mary-Ann Fitzcharles, corresponding author from the Research Institute of the MUHC and MUHC’s rheumatologist. “Currently, there is no cure for fibromyalgia but the guidelines set out the most appropriate management strategy.”

Authors recommend non-pharmaceutical interventions such as exercise, relaxation techniques, cognitive behavioral therapy as well as medications tailored to the individual patient. The main treatment goal is to improve quality of life by alleviating the most troublesome symptom(s), with pain recognized as the most common and serious.

The authors also urge more research into the effects of early diagnosis and treatment as well as other treatment options.

Sleep Problems Linked to Fibromyalgia Risk in Women

Dr. Seth Black here…

It is true that sleep is a definite problem for those who suffer with fibromyalgia. In my opinion, sleep is not a risk factor, but a part of the entire picture of those who have or are already developing a neurohormonal imbalance which may lead to fibromyalgia over time. As most of us know, melatonin is viewed as the sleep modulator, and those with fibromyalgia have less melatonin. When you get to the bottom of their clinical picture, they are not able to efficiently bio-transform the precursors (tryptophan and serotonin) to melatonin and therefore sleep suffers. Over long periods of time this becomes more profound and may cause further neuroendocrine dysfunction. We must fix the reason those with fibromyalgia are not making melatonin and not just use Rx medications to cover up problems that exist, when in most cases can be fixed relatively easily. This can all be done with natural remedies and supplements aimed at supporting those pathways.