by Dr. Craig A. Maxwell
Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition that often gets placed into several categories of disease, depending on the diagnosing physician. This chronic condition has been diagnosed as autoimmune, rheumatic, and neurological because it presents with elements of all three and then some.
The modern medical approach to fibromyalgia focuses primarily on reduction of symptoms but does not take a close enough look at the root cause of fibromyalgia.
Recent evidence has emerged to suggest that fibromyalgia may be the result of insidious damage caused by a chronic infectious disease. If this is the case, a modified treatment plan that focuses on eradicating the infection and boosting the immune system may prove fruitful in helping patients achieve full remission of disease.
True Cause of Fibromyalgia May be Infectious Disease
Many patients with fibromyalgia have lymphocytosis. This is an elevated white blood cell count, which is often indicative of an infection. In fibromyalgia, it generally means that chronic infection has affected the lymphatic system. Lymphocytosis is often caused by a chronic bacterial, viral or fungal infection. In fibromyalgia, lymphocytosis may be due to Lyme disease, chronic candida syndrome, parasitic infection or a virus[1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3798217/].
Over time, the neurotoxins produced by the infection impede and interrupt your natural hormone and neurotransmitter production, resulting in the myriad neurological, gastrointestinal, and metabolic symptoms associated with fibromyalgia.
When a thorough infectious disease work-up is conducted, infections are often found deep in connective tissue, muscle, nervous system, or digestive tract, where they can sometimes be difficult to find.
Physical or Emotional Trauma as a Trigger for Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is almost always precipitated by a physical or emotional trauma of some kind. A car accident, surgery, death of a loved one, abusive relationship, or divorce are examples of such events. If there is already an infection in the body (Lyme, candida, parasites, virus), the trigger event can weaken the immune system and allow the infection to grow out of control and become systemic within the body.
Food and Environmental Toxins Worsen Fibromyalgia Symptoms
If your body is already in a weakened state due to chronic infection, your fibromyalgia symptoms could be exacerbated by certain food and environmental toxins.
- Food Toxins
Chronic infectious conditions such as Lyme disease and chronic candida produce their own neurotoxins, which impair multiple body systems, leading to a host of seemingly-unrelated symptoms that are the hallmark of fibromyalgia.
According to a docket released by the FDA[1. http://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/dailys/02/Aug02/080602/98f-0052-sup0010-vol5.txt], multiple patients with fibromyalgia and similar conditions achieved complete remission simply by removing neurotoxic additives such as aspartame and MSG from their diet.
Many patients with fibromyalgia also noticed a significant decrease in their symptoms when they removed gluten, corn, soy, and food dyes from their diet.
According to a research article published by BMC Gastroenterology[2. http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-230X/13/157], patients who fit the clinical criteria for irritable bowel syndrome and fibromyalgia were placed on a gluten free diet for one year. After this time, subjects experienced a 48-60% improvement in their Physical and Mental Component Summary Scores.
What we eat affects the toxic load and inflammation in our bodies. Eating the wrong foods will likely make fibromyalgia symptoms worse, as it does with most medical conditions.
- Environmental Toxins
Parabens are synthetic endocrine-disrupting chemicals found in cosmetics and cleaning products. Fibromyalgia patients already have a malfunctioning endocrine system. Adding parabens increases the toxic load and worsens symptoms.
Triclosan, an ingredient found in many antibacterial hand sanitizers, has been shown to contribute to immune system malfunction, antibiotic resistance, chronic inflammation, and thyroid disease.
In an article published by Canadian Family Physician[3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20154232], patients with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia are at marked increased risk for suffering with multiple chemical sensitivity.
This means the immune system has a hyperactive response to virtually all synthetic chemicals including perfume, cosmetics, and cleaning products. Leaky gut syndrome is often the cause of multiple chemical sensitivity.
- Heavy Metal Toxicity
Heavy metals such as aluminum, arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury, can lead to heavy metal toxicity with chronic exposure. The symptoms of this condition are so wide and varied, it can be very difficult for standardized tests to pin down.
Insomnia, ataxia, muscle weakness, gastrointestinal malfunction, candida infections, arthritic inflammation, adrenal insufficiency, and chronic fatigue are just a few of the symptoms of heavy metal toxicity.
These symptoms are so similar to fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome it can result in a misdiagnosis.
I recommend all patients who have been given a diagnosis of fibromyalgia be tested for heavy metal poisoning. As heavy metals are quickly absorbed into body organs, blood testing is not accurate (with the exception of cases of acute exposure).
This is why I recommend the Hair Toxic Element Exposure Test by Doctor’s Data. When you order, Direct Labs will send you a test kit in a prepaid envelope. Just collect and send several small clips of hair and a report will then be sent directly to you and the doctor you authorize.
Anti-Depressants Could Make Fibromyalgia Symptoms Worse
Antidepressant therapy is one of the most common conventional medical treatments for fibromyalgia. There are two important reasons why this approach might not be the best choice. For example,
Cymbalta, a popular antidepressant used to treat this condition, can cause side effects like muscle cramping, fatigue, and gastrointestinal distress….all symptoms similar to fibromyalgia.
Furthermore, an antidepressant may appear to work at first, only to fail within a few months. This is because most antidepressants manipulate one or more of the following: serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine levels.
Over a certain period of time, the brain becomes saturated with these neurotransmitters from the effects of the prescription drug. The brain compensates by decreasing the number of receptors that absorb neurotransmitters.
This is what is known as developing a drug tolerance.
The medication is usually increased, or your doctor may advise you to stop taking the drug for a short time and begin again. Or he may suggest taking a new drug altogether, which can upset the already-delicate balance of your nervous system.
Treat Fibromyalgia by Focusing on Infection First
If Lyme disease is detected through lab testing, your doctor will likely treat it with antibiotics. The proper choice of antibiotics for a long enough period of time is sometimes effective. However, extended use of antibiotics almost always leads to an overgrowth of yeast (candida) in the gut. This can lead to leaky gut syndrome and a systemic yeast infection.
This is due to the fact that prescription antibiotics wipe out bacteria indiscriminately, bad or good. Without their natural enemy, the good bacteria, to keep them from multiplying, the yeast will grow.
Here is what I recommend for the natural treatment of fibromyalgia:
1. Identify the Infection
The first and most important step in treating fibromyalgia as an infectious disease is to identify the infection. This means being evaluated for Lyme disease, chronic candida syndrome, parasitic infection, and viruses. Once the bacterial, viral, fungal or parasitic infection has been identified, it will be much easier to eradicate.
The Comprehensive Stool Analysis CSAP x 3 by Doctor’s Data, which you can order and take in the privacy of your home, not only accurately determines whether or not you have chronic yeast, but which strain of yeast it is and which natural remedies are most effective against it!
The stool kit doesn’t stop there. It also records digestive enzyme activity, screens for leaky gut syndrome, measures good bacteria levels, and identifies any parasites.
2. Treat the Infection
- Diamond Nutritional’s Para-Calm
If the results of your test revealed a parasitic infection, I recommend Diamond Nutritional’s Para-Calm. It contains sweet wormwood, olive leaf extract, and black walnut hull, of all of which have anti-parasitic and antimicrobial properties.
- Diamond Nutritional’s Candi-Calm
Persistent candida infection can trigger the onset of fibromyalgia. If tests reveal an overgrowth of yeast, I recommend Diamond Nutritional’s Candi-Calm. It contains a synergistic blend of biotin, zinc, sodium caprylate, zinc undecylenate USP, berberine HCI, cinnamon bark extract, Pau D’Arco, rosemary leaf extract, and German chamomile flower to help eradicate yeast overgrowth at its source.
Many have used this natural product to eliminate excess candida from their system.
3. Re-Establish Healthy Immunity
- Dietary Changes
For those with fibromyalgia, I also recommend a healing, anti-inflammatory diet. This means plenty of organic vegetables, fruit, non-gluten grains, meat, poultry, wild-caught fish, and healthy fats like coconut oil, avocado, butter, and walnuts.
- Stress Reduction
Since trauma is known as a trigger for fibromyalgia development, daily stress reduction is important. Whether this is in the form of reading a book, listening to relaxing music, practicing meditation or doing yoga….get as much R&R as you can.
I can’t stress enough how critical it is to get plenty of sleep when you struggle with any kind of chronic disorder. Those with fibromyalgia need 8-10 hours of sleep each night. If you’re having difficulty sleeping, I recommend adding a magnesium supplement to ease anxiety and restlessness so you achieve a deeper, more restorative state of sleep.
While pain management is important in the treatment of fibromyalgia, it shouldn’t be the only plan of action. Eliminating lingering infection is your first step to a achieving lasting remission.
Don’t struggle with the pain and frustration of fibromyalgia alone. Let Dr. Maxwell help you achieve your best health with a personalized telephone consultation.