Archive for the ‘Fibromyalgia’ Category

Fibromyalgia rates have increased dramatically over the past 35 years. In fact, the term fibromyalgia was not even invented until 1976. Before the 1950’s, fibromyalgia symptoms were so rare, patients who complained of the chronic muscle pain, fatigue, and brain fog were thought to be psychologically, not physically, ill.

Today however, millions of Americans suffer from fibromyalgia, many of whom go undiagnosed. Fibromyalgia is a neurological disorder of the central nervous system that can cause chronic muscle pain, fatigue, numbness or tingling sensations in hands or feet, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Restless Leg Syndrome, dizziness and the list goes on.

Much of the disruption to the central nervous system has been associated with inflammation. Chronic systemic inflammation has been linked to a variety of diseases including cancer, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and fibromyalgia. The chronic inflammation disrupts the central nervous system and immune system and can cause a variety of symptoms and diseases to develop over time.

One of the major contributors to inflammation today is the over-consumption of Omega-6 fats (which are pro-inflammatory) and the under-consumption of Omega-3 fats (which are anti-inflammatory). There are other major contributors to inflammation including eating too much processed foods, eating fried foods, changes in the fat content of farm-raised animals, overweight and obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle.

That’s why we recommend everyone who has fibromyalgia or fibromyalgia symptoms eat more Omega-3 fats – because they are anti-inflammatory. Most Americans are extremely deficient in these healthy fats and so experience inflammation and immune system dysfunction as a result. Scientists suggest that we should have a ratio of Omega-3 fats to Omega-6 fats in our diet of 1:1 whereas the average American today has a ratio of between 1:15 and 1:45! This massive imbalance causes incredibly systemic inflammation and disease as a result.

You can get more Omega-3 Fats in your diet by eating flax seeds, walnuts, deep-sea fish, or supplementing with flax seed oil or fish oil. It is highly recommended to supplement with Omega-3 fats on a daily basis due to the massive imbalance of these fats in the standard American diet.
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There are many anecdotes of patients with fibromyalgia and fibromyalgia-like symptoms who noted an incredible improvement and reduction in symptoms after consuming more Omega-3 fats. In fact, one can find these stories all over the internet. Although we have not seen any clear studies demonstrating these results, many practitioners have also noticed the same results time and time again in their fibromyalgia patients. Based on these anecdotes and the research showing a link between chronic inflammation and fibromyalgia, we recommend everyone with fibromyalgia begin supplementing with Omega-3 fats and make a conscious choice to increase their dietary intake of these healthy anti-inflammatory fats on a daily basis.

Laser therapy has been used successfully around the world for over 25 years. Cold Laser Therapy or low level laser therapy (LLLT) is a painless, sterile, non-invasive, drug-free treatment which is used to treat a variety of pain syndromes or injuries including fibromyalgia pain. Cold Laser Therapy can be used when the acceleration of healing from injuries is desired or when other conventional therapies have been ineffective for pain management.

Low-level lasers supply energy to the body in the form of non-thermal photons of light. Light is transmitted through the skin’s layers at all wavelengths in the visible range. It is the light waves in the near infrared ranges that penetrate the deepest of all light waves in the visible spectrum. When low level laser light waves penetrate deeply into the skin, they optimize the immune responses of our blood. This has both an anti-inflammatory and an immuno-stimulant effect.

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Unlike surgical lasers, low level therapy does not produce heat or damage tissues. This is why it is also called cold laser therapy. Typically when it is applied, you do not feel anything. Sometimes if the unit is placed directly over a nerve, one might feel a slight tingling sensation.

The possible benefits that one can experience from cold laser therapy include:

  • Relief of acute or chronic pains (pain management)
  • Increased blood flow to muscle spasms
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Promotes faster healing
  • Helps generate new and healthy cells and tissue

The patient usually does not feel anything during the time the laser is “on.” The laser works well when administered to most of the classic fibromyalgia tender points.

Because this laser therapy can be helpful with managing pain, I often use it over the fibromyalgia tender points that seem to be the most bothersome for the patient at the time of my examination. In some patients, pain reduction can be felt immediately. For others, it might take a few hours and for some, it doesn’t work at all.

I have used Cold Laser Therapy in my office now for over six years now on fibromyalgia patients with some very good results. Cold laser is not commonly used in all offices. It would be my recommendation to call healthcare offices (some medical offices might have this therapy) in your area to see if they use this therapy. You might have a better chance of finding this device in a physical therapy, chiropractic or naturopathic office.