Friday, July 16, 2010
Fibromyalgia & Treating It Properly - Todd W. Austin, D.C. Virden, IL
FIBROMYALGIA & how to treat it!
Fortunately for both my current & future patients, earlier in 2010, I attended a series of ‘Advanced Clinical Nutrition’ seminars by a doctor who has had phenomenal success treating FMS patients like YOU for over a decade now. I now use an adaptation of Dr. Rodger Murphree’s patient protocols for “Treating and Beating Fibromyalgia”. I also carry his book “Treating & Beating Fibromyalgia” as well as the line of nutritional supplements that he developed for his own patients.
Many patients will feel noticeably better in as little as 2 weeks, although it usually takes the better part of 3 months to complete ALL of the nutritional modifications that are needed for a chronic FMS patient to be able to say “My fibromyalgia has officially gone into remission!”.
When it comes to actually treating Fibromyalgia sufferers, as I’ve already discussed in part 1 (FIBROMYALGIA & What Causes It), the medical road usually leads to a dead end. In fact some M.D.’s still don’t even believe that FMS exists! But then again, in a strange sort of way, I guess that could actually be a blessing to have an M.D. that doesn’t believe in prescribing Klonopin (an addictive benzodiazapine) for your FMS (since he or she doesn’t believe in the condition).
Neurontin is pretty close to useless for most FMS patients as well. Elavil does the best of all the prescription meds at offering the most ‘short term’ symptom relief. Unfortunately, most medical FMS patients aren’t placed on Elavil for only a ‘short term’. Even more unfortunate, is the fact that Elavil has as a common side effect, rapid weight gain. Yes, it’s not that uncommon for a FMS patient taking Elavil to gain a whopping 50 lbs or more in a 3 to 6 month period.
What about Lyrica? How does Lyrica work? Or does Lyrica work?
Lyrica is the first prescription medication approved to treat fibromyalgia. Because fibromyalgia patients typically do not respond to conventional painkillers like aspirin, Lyrica affects the brain’s perception of pain. Pfizer’s Lyrica, known generically as pregabalin, binds to receptors in the spinal cord and brain and apparently reduces activity in the central nervous system.
No one knows exactly how Lyrica works. But some say that Lyrica does not work well enough to have warranted its Federal Drug and Food Administration (FDA) approval. According to The New York Times, in clinical trials, patients taking Lyrica reported that their pain fell on average by about 2 points on a 10-point scale, compared with 1 point for patients taking a placebo. About 30 percent of patients said their pain fell by at least half, compared with 15 percent taking placebos.
In 2004, Lyrica was reviewed by the FDA as a remedy for diabetic nerve pain. The reviewers recommended against approving the drug, citing its side effects. Lyrica causes weight gain and edema (swelling), as well as dizziness and sleepiness. According to the New York Times, in 12-week trials, nine percent of patients saw their weight rise more than seven percent, and the weight gain appeared to continue over time.
But in their infinite wisdom, the FDA ignored the advice of Lyrica reviewers and approved it anyway. Then Pfizer asked the FDA to expand the approved uses of Lyrica to include the treatment of fibromyalgia, and the agency later did so. It was a good move for Pfizer. According to the New York Times, worldwide sales of Lyrica reached $1.8 billion in 2007, up 50 percent from 2006. Analysts predict sales will rise an additional 30 percent this year, helped by consumer advertising. During the first nine months of 2007, Pfizer spent $46 million on Lyrica ads alone.
While I welcome anything that will 'help' my fibromyalgia patients, I’m not a big fan of Lyrica. Why? Because it really doesn’t seem to offer any real long-term solution and the side effects are potentially very dangerous.
Regarding finding 11 out of 18 Fibromyalgia trigger points tender, that really is of no concern to me either.
The bottom line is this:
If the patient reports chronic trouble getting or staying asleep as well as chronic diffuse muscle pain (both of these are caused by low serotonin levels), then the patient is most likely a Fibromyalgia sufferer. Not all people with low serotonin levels have fibromyalgia. But for the record, 100% of Fibromyalgics do have low serotonin levels! Until they are finally treated correctly, that is.
Therefore, my protocol for the treatment of FIBROMYALGIA is as follows:
1) Place the patient on 5-HTP. Obviously, I will work with you to determine the proper dosage that is right for you. 5-HTP in combination with other vitamins & minerals is turned into serotonin, the ”happy hormone”.
Serotonin is a hypothalamus neurotransmitter which is necessary for happiness by day and deep restorative sleep by night (through a conversion of serotonin to melatonin). A lack of serotonin causes difficulty in getting to sleep as well as staying asleep. It is often this lack of quality deep restorative sleep that is a big part of the problem for FMS patients. Serotonin levels can easily be raised by supplementing with the essential amino acid, L-tryptophan. The natural sources of L-tryptophan include milk, cheese, meat, ham, peanuts, and cottage cheese. All of these are very high in calories and cholesterol content. As a consequence, in order to keep your serotonin supply at a proper level, you must supplement small amounts of food sources of L-tryptophan with the serotonin production catalysts, calcium, magnesium, and trace element, chromium. Many FMS sufferers also have a genetic glitch in a certain enzymatic pathway that blocks the amino acid tryptophan from being converted into 5-HTP naturally. 5-HTP, a form of tryptophan, is available over-the-counter and works extremely well for most patients.
All FMS patients need to be taking the proper dose of 5-HTP, which we carry at Austin Family Chiropractic.
By the way, deep restorative sleep causes HGH (human growth hormone) to be secreted. HGH aids in repairing damaged muscles. Therefore 5-HTP leads to much better sleep, which in turn leads to increased HGH, which then helps with muscle repair. This is welcome news for any FMS sufferer!
2) Have the patient take digestive enzymes. Some seventy percent of FMS patients, also suffer from IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). Besides, anyone with chronic inflammation will tend to have a leaky gut.
3) Have the patient take an optimal daily allowance multivitamin multimineral supplement along with proper amounts of omega 3 fatty acids.
4) Have the patient go on a gluten-free diet for 3 weeks to check for celiac disease, allergies to gluten or sensitivities to gluten.
5) Have the patient take Adrenal Cortex glandular. This aids in solving the adrenal fatigue issues that typically accompany FMS.
6) Treat the patient with cold laser therapy. Since FMS is a connective tissue disorder, some say that it causes a decrease in cellular energy (ATP). This makes sense. Cold laser therapy, on the other hand, has 40 years of research showing that special laser light photons, when they come in contact with damaged soft tissues, cause an increase in ATP production. This helps cells, tissues, muscles, etc. to heal quicker. Therefore, my FMS patients typically receive cold laser therapy treatments (directed over the area of chief complaint) prior to their chiropractic adjustments. In my opinion, this cold laser therapy prepares the tissues for the adjustment and sets the stage for healing to occur quicker.
7) Have the patient take SAMe. S-Adenosyl-methionine (SAMe) is involved in regulating many of the brain's neurotransmitters. Normally the brain manufactures all the SAMe it needs from the amino acid methionine. However, low protein diets, malabsorption (from either the leaky gut or IBS that usually accompanies FMS) and deficiencies developed from excess methionine use in certain liver detoxification pathways can create a need for SAMe replacement. SAMe has also been shown through several recent, well designed, studies to be one of the best natural antidepressants available.
SAMe helps boost serotonin and norepinephrine levels. It also helps increase the production of dopamine and endorphins. Endorphins are the body’s natural pain blocking chemicals and are fifty times more powerful than morphine.
SAMe has quickly become one of my favorite nutritional supplements. I’m using it more and more in my practice for depression, fatigue, fibromyalgia and other pain disorders.
SAMe and Fibromyalgia
Studies involving FMS (also known as 'Fibromyalgia' or 'Fibromyalgia Syndrome') patients and SAMe have shown dramatic improvements in pain reduction. One study even showed that individuals taking SAMe for a period of 6 weeks had an improvement of 40% in pain reduction and 35% improvement in their depression!
So as you can see, FMS is a rather complex condition, but with the right treatment approach, there is a good chance that we can work together to send your Fibromyalgia into remission too.
Photo caption: Clinical Nutrition pioneer, Dr. Murphree (right) presented Dr. Todd Austin of Austin Family Chiropractic in Virden, IL with his 'Advanced Clinical Nutrition' Certification at a recent seminar at Logan Chiropractic College in Chesterfield, MO. Austin just completed a series of seminars by Dr. Murphree.