Dr. Chris Heimlich, DC, DACNB Comments:
Fibromyalgia is all in your head!
Now, before you send me an e-mail hate letter, hear me out. It is well documented that fibromyalgia is a neurological problem.
Most rheumatologists and neurologist knows this. But what are they doing for the neurological component of fibromyalgia when treating their patients? Nothing is done to figure out what the dysfunction in the nervous system is, let alone a specific treatment protocol to help correct it. Prescribing anti-seizure medication to calm down the nerves rarely takes away the symptoms associated fibromyalgia and is a shotgun approach. These medications do not address the cause of the neurological problem.
So what is the cause of the neurological problems of patients that are suffering with fibromyalgia symptoms? That is a trick question because there is more than just one cause. No two patients with fibromyalgia are the same. This is one of the hardest concepts for the patient’s, as well as doctors to understand. Although it is more common to have perspective patients call our office and ask what exactly are we going to do for them neurologically, I’ve had rheumatologists call me and ask what it is that we do specifically or what is a supplement that we give patients with fibromyalgia to get success that we do. Of course, the answer is that treatment varies from patient to patient and is based on that individual patient’s needs.
That’s the problem. We’ve all been trained for years to put a label on how someone is feeling and then treat that label the same for everyone. That type of treatment approach will never work for patients suffering with fibromyalgia.
You have to do a functional neurological exam to see what parts of the brain are not working as well as they sure would in order to be able to figure out what parts of the brain are not functioning and communicating at optimal levels. I know this is a new concept for most of the people reading this blog. We are not talking about a hard lesion of the brain like a stroke, an aneurysm or tumor. We are talking about a soft lesion, or parts of the brain simply aren’t functioning and communicating up to optimal levels. Think of the brain as a bunch of muscles. If one muscle is not as tone are strong as the others, it will get out of balance.
Just like anything else, if the brain is out of balance it will not work right. When the brain isn’t working right, then the autonomic nervous system cannot perform optimally. This is the system that controls all of the things that go on our body automatically. It controls our blood pressure, heart rate, gastrointestinal function, and is hardwired into all of her organs. When the system is not functioning correctly, you can get constipation, diarrhea, brain fog, fatigue, heart palpitations, insomnia, and the whole long list of other symptoms. Do those fibromyalgia symptoms sound familiar?
The brain also is hardwired into the peripheral nervous system. This is how information gets from the brain to the rest of the body and how information gets from the restaurant body back to the brain. The brain is not functioning correctly, it doesn’t get information from the muscles, joints abd different receptors throughout the body. This decrease in brain function can also be responsible for why you have the unexplained pain can be occurring throughout your body. It is also why activities or stimulation that is not supposed to cause pain can seem unbearable. Things like walking in a grocery store, picking up your child, sitting in a chair, trying mild exercise, and a ton of other daily activities that other take for granted. This medical term for this is “allodynia”.
Treating patients with the label of fibromyalgia all the same is a recipe for disaster.
If you’re suffering with fibromyalgia symptoms, you need to find a doctor that knows we’ve just talked about. You need to have a thorough functional neurological examination, complete record review including recent lab work, and a doctor that will sit down with you and map out a treatment protocol that is designed specifically for you.