I’ve gotten emails and correspondence from patients who tell me they have an incredibly hard time relaxing due to pain and/or stress. Some wandered aimlessly throughout the house experiencing pain and chronic fatigue while others have mood swings and brain fog.
When I follow up with them I always seem to find one common cause: stress.
Stress, fatigue, sleep problems, headaches, depression and anxiety have been catalysts to a multitude of disorders. Really you can break down stress in to three categories:
- Physical stress - hard work, physical exerction and falls, jolts and jars, vehicle accidents, etc. fall under this category.
- Chemical stress - the obvious are poisons and medications (the average american in on 8-12 meds), medication reactions, junk food, food not right for your type, food sensitivities, food intolerance and food allergies, excessive imbibing of alcohol, heavy metals like those in artificial food coloring (did you know this?), formaldehyde and other chemicals common in the modern day house and the mall environment, etc.
- Emotional stress - job stress, relationship stress, financial stress, illness stress, raising chidren and taking care of elderly parent stress. The list for this one just goes on and on!
Stress leads to a breakdown of various systems and abnormal immune function. If you live with any of these types of stresses and have experienced long-term pain throughout the body, tenderness in your muscles, joints and tendons, it could be due to fibromyalgia and/or thyroid disease.
Fibromyalgia is a syndrome in which the cause is considered unknown in traditional medical care. Fibromylagia is common in women between twenty and fifty, is estimated to affect between 2%-4% of the population with a few possible triggers. There is evidence that genetics plays a role in the development of the cause and there are theories that people with fibromyalgia experience a lower pain threshold due to increased sensitivity in the brain to pain signals. Tender pain areas or ‘Tender Points’ are found in the soft tissue on the knees, shoulders, back of the neck, chest, shins, lower back, hips, shins and elbows. The pain then spreads out from these areas.
Since many many former fibromyalgia suffers have obtained excellent clincal results using the unique approach that Dr. Karl Johnson's Neuro-Metabolic Therapy program provides - the notion of unknown cause is melting away!. Other like-minded doctors around the country using a similar approach are noting the same thing; fibromylagia symptoms vanishing. It seems we have a viable answer. Fibromyalgia has many causes.
Fortunately for the fibromyalgia sufferer, using the correct battery of tests that have the correct specificity, sensitivity and accuracy can finally "crack the code" of fibromyalgia causation. The key is we DO NOT treat the fibromyalgia (which is nothing but a label), but rather treat the person and work on correcting the reason(s) why the patient is expressing symptoms that get them labeled with fibromyalgia.
As I wrote earlier, Hashimoto's thyroiditis is an inflammation of the thyroid which causes your body to attack its own tissue and can lead to tissue damage in the thyroid and other tissues. Since the Thyroid controls how your body creates proteins, uses energy and controls how sensitive the body should be to other hormones, it has many common symptoms with fibromyalgia. These include muscular and joint pain, excessive weight gain, hair loss, dry and coarse, skin, menstrual irregularities, infertility and recurrent miscarriage, low blood pressure, high cholesterol and others. As a patient, it would behoove you to determine if you have an underlying thyroid problem that may be contributing to your fibromyalgia symptoms.
Types of Treatments
Since there is no known medical cure, the goal of treatment is often aimed at managing symptoms and relieving pain. Prescription medication and physical exercise are integrated treatment plans to combat the syndrome. Physical therapies, fitness programs and other stress relief methods are initially recommended. If and when patients have trouble, their doctors might move on to other types of treatments. Most of the time these treatments fall short and the fibromyalgia sufferer is left to continue to find some other method to help them.
Some doctors prescribe antidepressants that boost mood, ease pain, and improve sleep because roughly three of every ten people with fibromyalgia also have depression and/or anxiety. These tricyclic antidepressants work by raising the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain. Doctors who go down this route do so because these antidepressants can be prescribed in low doses, the end result being improved the quality of sleep. Tricyclics relax painful muscles and bring out the effects of endorphins. But it can be a double edged sword which may cause dizziness, dry mouth, constipation, dry eyes, and drowsiness.
Dealing with nutritional deficiencies is another smart and healthy way to deal with these symptoms. Nutritious organic diets with low-sugar, no gluten and low-grain will benefit tremendously. Make sure to include exercise and try to not take medication that impedes your metabolism.
Remember that Hashimoto's destroys your thyroid gland and I've found many fibromyalgia and thyroid symptom sufferers are not tested for this condition. By the time the fibromyalgia or thyroid malfunction patient reaches my office their condition has been ongoing for some time - decades in some instances! In these cases we work with your doctor who treats you with effective thyroid hormone therapy (if needed) in order to bring on a natural homeostasis.
Avoid medications if you can since most drugs create a chemical disturbance in your body. Learn about Dr. Karl Johnson's breakthrough fibromylagia and thyroid condition recovery program.