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The Fibromyalgia Crisis

Kaneka
 
EuroMedica

Practitioners recognizing their patients’ suffering can offer proven natural solutions for their pain, energy and fatigue problems.

Fibromyalgia is a common and complex chronic pain disorder that affects people physically, mentally and socially. According to the National Fibromyalgia Association, it is a syndrome rather than a disease. Unlike a disease, which is a medical con- dition with a specific cause or causes and recognizable signs and symptoms, a syn- drome is a collection of signs, symptoms and medical problems that tend to occur togeth- er, but is not related to a specific, identifiable cause.

Fibromyalgia is characterized by chronic widespread pain in muscles, ligaments and tendons, multiple tender points, abnormal pain processing, sleep disturbances, fatigue and often, psychological distress. For those with severe symptoms, fibromyalgia can be extremely debilitating and can interfere with basic daily activities. 

Further, according to Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, medical director of the Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Practitioners Network, who has been counseling patients for 38 years, fibromyalgia represents an energy crisis Where people are spending more energy than they are able to make and essentially blow a fuse called the hypothalamus.

“This can result from anything that increases energy demands (e.g. infections or autoimmune diseases such as lupus) or decreases the ability to make energy (e.g. nutritional or hormonal deficiencies),” he said, noting that fibromyalgia reflects a mix of immune hyperfunction, over time leading to immune exhaustion with poor effective- ness. “Two percent of the population has a severe fibromyalgia and another two percent has an intermediate form. This has risen sig- nificantly over the last 10 to 20 years.”

In fact, the prevalence of fibromyalgia is estimated at 2 to 4 percent of the population (95 percent confidence interval [95 percent CI] 1.4, 2.7) for both sexes, 3.4 percent (95 percent CI 2.3, 4.6) for women, and 0.5 per- cent (95 percent CI 0.0, 1.0) for men.1 The prevalence of the syndrome increased with age, with highest values attained between 60 and 79 years (>7.0 percent in women). It is estimated that six to eight million people in the United States suffer from fibromyalgia. Some studies reveal that about 80 percent of patients are women, while others note the female to male incidence ratio at approxi- mately 9:1.2

“Where infections represented the major killers in the 19th century, and heart disease and cancer in the 20th century, the rising epidemic of immune and autoimmune dis- eases (including fibromyalgia, hypersensitivi- ty and lupus) will be the most prominent source of death and disability as we move into the 21st century,” said Dr. Teitelbaum.

Dismissive Diagnosis 

There is no agreed-upon cause of fibromyal- gia. According to Ronit Arginteanu, Esq., COO/regulatory and legal affairs with New Jersey-based Alquemiste LLC, manufacturer of Ateevia Botanica, physical injuries, emo- tional trauma or viral infections may trigger the disorder, but no one trigger has proven to be a cause of primary fibromyalgia. “Many experts believe that fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition brought on by sever- al abnormal body responses to stress. The main symptom of fibromyalgia is wide- spread pain, followed by chronic fatigue,” he said, adding that there is a list of other Potential symptoms a patient could present, such as memory problems (“fibro fog”), headaches, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and others. This, however, presents a prob- lem when it comes to diagnosis.

“A diagnosis of fibromyalgia can be tricky because it isn’t the only condition with wide- spread pain. And patients with other condi- tions also have chronic fatigue,” said Arginteanu. “Moreover, fibromyalgia is hard to diagnose because of the tendency for groups of symptoms to occur together in fibromyalgia patients. But the groups will not be the same for everyone. So not every- one with fibromyalgia will have all the same symptoms.”

Furthering the controversial diagnosis— when it is diagnosed at all—is the fact that so many women are afflicted, according to Dr. Teitelbaum.

“Unfortunately, most doctors still have the abusive perspective that if they do not know what is wrong with the patient, then the person is crazy. This has resulted in more than 80 percent of people with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), and is painful cousin fibromyalgia, being misdiagnosed with things like depression, neuroses or having the illness attributed to their simply being female,” he said.

It has been the experience of Dr. Frank King, founder and president of North Carolina-based King Bio, Inc., which offers more than 160 symptom-specific, practition- er-only homeopathic medicines, that patients are often told that his or her symp- toms are “all in your head,” and prescribed antidepressants, NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) or muscle relaxers.

“It’s unfortunate when a doctor is so hur- ried that if the tests show nothing, then the problem must be the patient’s fault,” he said. “People in pain are desperate for relief. This, unfortunately, may cause them to try prod- ucts that carry harmful negative side effects or that provide no relief at all.”

Dr. Teitelbaum explained that most often [sufferers] turn to OTCs such as Advil or Tylenol, and physicians prescribe Prozac and other antidepressants. “Neither of these work well and all can be toxic (especially the Tylenol, which depletes the key antioxidant glutathione) leading people to search for other options,” he said, adding that with three new pain medications being FDA- approved for fibromyalgia, and the drug companies spending $210 million year advertising these to both the public and physicians, these medications, as well as the Diagnosis of fibromyalgia, have been getting increased publicity. “Though a little bit help- ful, they still represent a modestly effective Band-Aid.”

But as awareness of fibromyalgia has grown, so have the downsides of convention- al treatment options, leading sufferers toward more natural alternatives. “That’s why we can attribute the estimated eight to 10 percent annual growth in natural/holistic pain industry,” said Arginteanu. “People are looking for safer remedies.”

Topical Treatments 

Topical BioMedics Inc. in New York has been supplying Topricin Pain Relief and Healing Cream technology to practitioners and their patients since 1994. The company recog- nized a void in the marketplace as there were few—if any—truly safe and effective OTC pain relief products for the millions of peo- ple suffering in chronic pain, in particular, women, according to Lou Paradise, president and chief of research.

“When women applied Topricin to the common 18 tender points, the vast majority reported pain relief so sufficient that they reduced or eliminated all OTC painkillers. They reported being able to sleep through the night for the first time in years and expe- rienced a return of energy levels,” he said. “Most importantly, the episodes and dura- tion of fibromyalgia events were dramatical- ly reduced or eliminated.”

The three Topricin products contain a unique combination of homeopathic bio- medicines formulated to help the body detoxify the painful area where they are applied and get oxygenated blood back into the cells. This has a soothing effect in the underlying tissue and calms pain by enhancing and maximizing the healing response, Paradise explained. Further, Topricin is the only product in the category that has patents for the treatment of pains associated with neuropathy and fibromyalgia.

Ateevia Botanica PRIME is another topical alternative that can effectively manage pain, thus enabling patients to be more mobile, which can lead to lifestyle choices that increase exercise and decrease depression, without any concern for side effects, according to Arginteanu.

PRIME is comprised of natural botanical ingredients, such as pumpkin (beta carotene and omega-3 and -6 fatty acids), borage (gamma linolenic acid), poke root (Phytolacca decandra), sunflower and saf- flower, that suppress molecules that cause inflammation in joints and other tissues. Aside from the unique combination of ingredients, the company’s production process sets PRIME apart. 

“Our trade-secreted technology has allowed us to magnify the efficacy of Ateevia’s essential extractions. PRIME was tested by a major independent university hospital for effectiveness and safety. Findings of a clinically controlled study show that PRIME helped to decrease inflammation and pain and improve mobility in people complaining of inflammation-based pain by more than 85 percent on average,” said Arginteanu, adding that the product has also earned the Ashley Koff Approved stamp of quality nutrition for optimal health. 

Supplemental Options 

Dr. King with King Bio has found that open- ing the detoxification channels is a key com- ponent to the successful treatment of fibromyalgia. “When the liver, lymph and kidneys are functioning poorly, and toxins and stress are high, it’s no wonder that the body develops a radical alarm system to get our attention,” he said. “[The body] needs help, not to have its alarm disconnected so we aren’t bothered (as some drugs do), but re-set the body bio-energetically.” 

King Bio offers a number of products in its SafeCareRx line that have proven helpful for fibromyalgia, including its detoxes (Liver Detox, Lymph Detox, Blood & Kidney Detox and Heavy Metal Detox) and its Arthritis & Joint Relief, which contains three of the HPUS ingredi- ents [Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States (recognized by the FDA)], sci- entifically tested to be the most significant in helping the greatest numbers of fibromyalgia patients, according to King. 

The ingredients for King Bio’s products were chosen based on 200 years of world- wide homeopathic research as well as Dr. King’s nearly 40 years of clinical experience as a natural doctor. “We use the same potencies in our practi- tioner line that Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, the father of homeopathy, considered the most gentle,” said Dr. King. 

Meanwhile, Wisconsin-based EuroPharma/EuroMedica, Inc. has five products most commonly used by medical professionals for chronic fatigue/fibromyalgia, including CuraPro, Curaphen Professional Pain Formula and Curaphen Extra Strength. 

CuraPro, a single-ingredient product, is a powerful antioxidant that provides support for a healthy inflammation response and celLular signaling path- ways. It features BCM-95 curcumin, which is micronized and blended with turmeric oils to make it much more absorbable—up to 10 times more so— than standard 95 percent curcumin extracts. It has a longer blood retention time as well, which means that it provides more benefits for a longer duration than other forms. According to Cheryl Myers, a member of the company’s Scientific Advisory Board and its head of education and scientific affairs, BCM-95 Curcumin now has 12 published studies, seven of which are human trials. 

Curaphen Professional Pain Formula and Curaphen Extra Strength combine BCM-95 high-absorption curcumin and BosPure boswellia, a specialized boswellia extract that is standardized to contain at least 70 percent boswellic acids and includes only those that greatly increase the effectiveness of the extract, including at least 10 percent AKBA, for pain relief. 

“We have heard tremendous reports from practitioners using Curaphen, as it does not merely address inflammation, but the nat- tokinase component balances fibrinogen, Which tends to build up in muscle tissue of individuals with fibromyalgia,” said Myers, noting that people with fibromyalgia almost always have sleep disorders that prevent proper descent into the deep sleep stages for full muscle relaxation. “This means muscle fibers that are more brittle and more easily broken, leading to excessive fib- rinogen, which in turn contributes to mus- cle pain. The amino acid in Curaphen improves endorphin/encephalin activity in the brain.”

Practitioner Partnering

Dr. Teitelbaum noted that often practition- ers need to work together to provide patients with the best possible path to health. For fibromyalgia sufferers, he sug- gested that it is helpful to have:

• A prescribing physician who can offer the medication for Candida, bio-identical hormones and sleep medications when needed.

• A NAET (Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Techniques) practitioner who can provide a special acupressure technique effective in eliminating sensitivities.

• A chiropractor or other body worker who can physically release the muscles.

• A nutritionist who can guide the patient on how to optimize their diet, especially if certain foods need to be avoided, and who can take the person through an allergy elimination diet to look for sensitivities.

Connecting complementary practitioners has been a major focus of Dr. Teitelbaum’s new Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Practitioners Network, which launched in June 2013. It includes a 10-hour online training for fibromyalgia (as well as other conditions in the future), inclusion in Dr. Teitelbaum’s online practitioner referral list and inclu- sion on his “members only” practitioners Facebook page, where he answers questions. 

“On [the Facebook] page, I teach each of the specialists how to use each other’s expertise, and how to respectfully create a referral network between each other in which each specialist knows that they will be respected and their patients will not be stolen,” he said. “There is no reason why referrals between holistic modalities such as chiropractic, nutrition, acupuncturists and physicians should not be as common as referrals between internists, eye doctors and surgeons.”

References: 

1 Buskila D, Cohen H. (October 2007). “Comorbidity of fibromyalgia and psychiatric disor- ders”. Curr Pain Headache Rep. 11 (5): 333-8. 

2 Bartels EM et al. (2009). “Fibromyalgia, diagnosis and prevalence. Are gender differences explain- able?” Ugeskr Laeger. 171 (49): 3588–92. 

3 Teitelbaum JE et al. “Effective Treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrom and Fibromyalgia—A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Intent to Treat Study.” Journal of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Vol. 8, No. 2, 2001. PP3-28.

S.H.I.N.E. Protocol

In his 30 years of clinical experience treating chronic fatigue syndrome/fibromyalgia syndrome (CFS/FMS), and in his land- mark published research on CFS/FMS published in the Journal of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome3, Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum has found that the S.H.I.N.E. approach is successful in the vast majority of patients. 

“The S.H.I.N.E Protocol was shown in our published placebo-controlled, double-blind study3 to help 91 percent of people with an average 75 percent improvement at three months, and 90 percent increase in quality of life at two years,” said Dr. Teitelbaum.

S. H.I.N.E. identifies five key areas related to the body that, when addressed in combi- nation, provide a blueprint for promoting optimal energy. This includes natural thera- pies for:

Sleep: Get adequate sleep, preferably eight
to nine hours a night. Sleep replenishes the body’s energy and heals its muscles, while inadequate sleep will leave one exhausted and in pain. “Very useful is a mix of six herbs—valerian, passion flower, theanine, hops, wild lettuce and Jamaican dogwood,” said Dr. Teitelbaum, adding that melatonin and lavender oil can also be helpful. 

Hormones: Get tested for hormone defi- ciency and treated if needed, as hormone deficiencies can contribute to CFS/FMS. “Thyroid and adrenal glandulars can be very helpful, as can edamame for estrogen,” he said, noting that the adrenals can also be supported with licorice and vitamins B5 and C. 

Immunity: Get treatment when symp- toms of infections occur. The lack of restora- tive sleep in CFS/FMS leads to dysfunctional immune systems. “Underlying viral, bacterial, bowel, sinus and yeast infections are com- mon and can be a contributing cause or result of CFS/FMS,” said Dr. Teitelbaum. 

Nutrition: To maintain normal health and optimal energy levels, the body needs to be getting a proper balance of nutrition, particularly as nutritional deficiencies can result from CFS/FMS. “Vitamin B12, magnesium, acetyl L-carnitine, glutathione, as well as your basic A, B, C and D vitamins are espe- cially vulnerable to depletion from this,” he said. 

Exercise: Exercise as able, Dr. Teitelbaum cautioned. “People cannot exercise beyond what feels good or they will get post exertional fatigue and crash the next day if they have fibromyalgia.” After 10 weeks on the four previous steps, he said one will be able to slowly increase their exercise, without being wiped out the next day.

¦ Fibromyalgia is a syndrome, not a disease, characterized by chronic widespread pain in muscles, liga- ments and tendons, multiple tender points, abnormal pain processing, sleep disturbances, fatigue and often psychological distress. 

¦ It is estimated that six to eight million people in the United States suffer from fibromyalgia. Some studies reveal that about 80 percent of patients are women, while others note the female to male incidence ratio at approximately 9:1. 

¦ As the downsides of conventional treatment options lead sufferers toward more natural alternatives, the natural/holistic pain industry has experienced approximately eight to 10 percent growth. 

¦ S.H.I.N.E. identifies five key areas—sleep, hormones, immunity, nutrition, exercise—related to the body that, when addressed in combination, provide a blueprint for promoting optimal energy.