Fibromyalgia: Everything You've Always Wanted to Know

Fibromyalgia: Everything You’ve Always Wanted to Know

Fibromyalgia, meaning muscle and connective tissue pain (also referred to as FM or FMS), is a disorder classified by the presence of chronic widespread pain and a heightened and painful response to gentle touch (tactile allodynia).

Daily variations are interwoven in combinations from the following list of the most common symptoms.

Central Nervous System – Fatigue, irritability, nervousness, depression, apathy, listlessness, impaired memory and concentration, anxieties, suicidal thoughts, insomnia, frequent awakening from pain resulting in non-restorative sleep

Musculoskeletal – Pain and generalized morning stiffness in muscles, tendons, ligaments, and fascia arise from the shoulders, neck, upper and lower back, hips, knees, inner and outer elbows, wrists, and chest. Injured or old operative sites are often most affected.

Fibromyalgia is described as non-articular disease, but those with the illness know better. Joint pains — with or without swelling — redness, and heat are frequent.

Irritable Bowel — often called leaky gut, spastic colon, or mucous colitis – Nausea – often brief, repetitive waves; indigestion, gas, bloating, cramps, constipation alternating with diarrhea and sometimes mucus in the stools

Genitourinary – Pungent urine, frequent urination, bladder spasms, burning urination (dysuria) with or without repeated bladder infections, interstitial cystitis, vulvar pain syndrome (vulvodynia), vaginal spasms, irritation of the vaginal lips (vulvitis), irritation of the vaginal opening (vestibulitis), painful intercourse (dyspareunia), “Yeast infection” without the typical discharge, intense PMS and cramping, symptoms worse premenstrual

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Dermatological – Various rashes with or without itching, hives, red blotches, tiny bumps or blisters, Eczema, Seborrhea, Neurodermatitis, brittle poor quality nails, premature loss of hair, feelings of cold or hot skin – especially on the palms and/or soles and thighs, crawling and electric vibrations, prickling, super-sensitive to touch, flushing – sometimes with heavy sweating

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Miscellaneous Symptoms – Headaches – including migraines, dizziness, vertigo (spinning) or imbalance, dry eyes with itching or burning and blurred vision, nasal congestion, post-nasal drip, irritated tongue, abnormal tastes (bad, scalded, or metallic), ringing or swishing sounds, numbness and tingling hands or feet or face, leg or foot cramps, weight gain, low grade fevers, greater susceptibility to infections and allergies, heightened sensitivity to sounds, lights, odors or chemicals, morning eyelid and hand swelling from fluid retention that gravitates to the lower legs where it stretches tissues and causes restless leg syndrome

HYPOGLYCEMIA SYNDROME

This separate entity can be induced or intensified by fibromyalgia. Forty percent of female and 20 percent of male fibromyalgics suffer from fibroglycemia — what we call the combination of both conditions. Symptoms greatly overlap those of fibromyalgia, but sugar craving, accompanied by tremors, sweating, anxiety, panic attacks, heart palpitations, faintness, and frontal headaches — especially if hunger-induced — are solid clues to the diagnosis.

Hyperglycemia must be treated concurrently or the patient will not totally recover despite reversal of fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgics with hypoglycemia must follow a low carbohydrate diet as prescribed or they will not feel better, even when guaifenesin clears the lesions of fibromyalgia. Though not mandatory, fibormyalgics with carbohydrate cravings will get a “jumpstart” with similar dietary modifications for the first 30 days of treatment. Carbohydrates (sugars and starches) release insulin. This hormone not only induces kidney absorption of phosphate, but also drives it into various cells and intensifies symptoms.

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FOODS STRICTLY TO AVOID FOR HYPOGLYCEMICS

Elimination of the following foods prevents the wide fluctuations of blood sugar that allows a surge in energy and lessens bouts of fatigue.

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All alcohol, all caffeine, dried fruits, fruit juice, baked beans, refried beans, lima beans, barley

MEDICATIONS TO AVOID

(A partial list of natural and synthetic salicylates that must be avoided)

Pain products labeled salicylate or salicylic acid such as aspirin, Salsalate, Disalcid, Anacin, Excedrin

Herbal medications such as Ginseng, St. John’s Wort, Gingko Biloba, Saw Palmetto, Blue-Green Algae, Echinacea, or Noni Juice

Vitamin supplements with Alfalfa, Parsley, and E or C if derived from Rose Hips or with Bioflavonoids

Lozenges with Menthol, Mint, Peppermint, or Spearmint

Wart or Callus removers (Sal-Acid plasters)

Many Acne products

Many Dandruff shampoos

Pain creams, balms, and lotions such as Ben Gay, Myoflex, Zostrix (Capsaicin or Capsicum)

Medications such as Alka Seltzer or Urised

COSMETICS AND TOPICAL PRODUCTS TO AVOID

Any that list Salicylic Acid or an oil, gel, or extract with a plant name

Skin cleansers or exfoliants using Salicylic / Betahydroxy Acid(s)

Shampoos, conditioners, or hair sprays with plant derivatives

Bubble baths and lotions with essential oils or plant parts such as aloe, cucumber, lavender, almond or grape seed oils, etc.

Sun screens or tanning lotions with aloe or saslicylate component

Deodorants with Castor Oil

Sticky plant juices or saps that adhere to the skin while gardening or weeding (patients should wear canvas gloves)

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SHAVING AIDS TO AVOID

Shaving creams with plant derivatives such as aloe, mint, or mentholatum

Razors with aloe strips adjacent to the cutting edge (delivers Salicylates through microscopic cuts)

ORAL AGENTS TO AVOID

Mouth washes containing Mint, Wintergreen, or the word Salicylate such as Listerine or Scope

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Toothpaste containing Salicylates, fresh or artificial Mint (usually unlisted)

References:

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