New Hope for Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is the migraine syndrome gone haywire. Treatment has to be directed toward controlling the migraine syndrome. Controlling the migraine syndrome can lead to a cure for fibromyalgia! That’s right; I said a cure for fibromyalgia is possible! I have had so many patients have their fibromyalgia resolve that I am optimistic that I can really make a difference in the quality of life. At a minimum, marked improvement should be expected. There are always exceptions in medicine, but they are rare.
Fibromyalgia is traditionally defined as a syndrome which may feature constant pain, fatigue, sleep loss, headache, TMJ, restless legs, anxiety, depression, panic attacks, irritable bowel, bladder symptoms, memory impairment among other complaints over a period of time. Physical exam of a fibromyalgia patient reveals tender points or what we call “trigger points.” There are 18 specific trigger points to be examined. Eleven out of eighteen tender trigger points are required for diagnosis of fibromyalgia. The overall consensus is that the cause of fibromyalgia is unknown. Maybe it is an autoimmune disorder or a strange rheumatological illness. A number of headache specialists, me included, have quite a different idea and solution.
Fibromyalgia is a neurological condition! It is estimated that up to 6% of the population suffers from fibromyalgia. Basically, it is the migraine syndrome gone haywire. The 18 trigger points are, in fact, points of allodynia (painful response to things that are usually painless) in select sites over the body. Allodynia is a hypersensitive response from the brain to the nerves involved. These painful sites, or trigger points, probably result from cell injury and cell death occurring in the periaqueductal gray matter in the brain. This brain tissue normally modulates sensation and tells the rest of the brain that this touch sensation is not painful. As the cells become sick and die, they fail to modulate the sensation, and the sensation is perceived as being painful. This condition worsens over the years and is a progressive phenomenon. A person can tolerate losing some brain cells, but in the long run it takes its toll. Unless measures are taken to reverse the process, impairment and disability get worse. To find out more, go to http://www.migrainesyndrome.net.
About the Author: J. Wes Tanner, MD is a family practice and headache specialist who has been treating people for about 30 years. He has extensive experience in treating migraines and fibromyalgia with excellent success. In Doctor, Why Do I Feel This Way?, Dr. Tanner exposes the secrets and myths about fibromyalgia and the migraine syndrome. To find out more, go to href="http://www.migrainesyndrome.net">http://www.migrainesyndrome.net.