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Natural Awakenings Metro Phoenix & Northern Arizona

The Challenge of Understanding Fibromyalgia: Treatment options are unique to each patient, says Dr. Boris Schwartz.

Jun 28, 2015 01:05PM ● By Dr. Boris Schwartz

According to the Mayo Clinic, fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way the brain processes pain signals. Fibromyalgia is a complex disease, and many treatments have been offered, but results are still mediocre from the conventional medicine perspective and many different options to help patients with their issues are available from a natural medicine perspective. Options for treatment from the medical perspective include pharmaceuticals, such as Lyrica, Neurontin, Cymbalta and others. For some patients, drug therapies may provide some relief.

Natural medicine offers multiple approaches to patients suffering from fibromyalgia, and each person is treated differently. Options range from medical foods to Traditional Chinese Medicine and natural injection therapies. Some examples of treatment include encouraging the parasympathetic nervous system activity to predominate (relaxing the patient), putting them on an amino acid regimen affecting their perception of pain (several protocols exist), rebuilding the patients from the inside out utilizing Chinese medicine or injection therapies for pain and inflammation, and/or using special essential fatty acids (EFA) for pain.

But if we believe that fibromyalgia is a brain issue (which it could be), the anti-inflammatory effect of EFA does not work well by itself. Injection therapy provides relief because sometimes myofascial pain will cause discomfort in an area distant from the real pain originator. Adrenal fatigue may or may not play a role in fibromyalgia. Pain by itself will cause fatigue, and stopping the pain will stop the fatigue. Adrenal support may or may not offer benefits.

There are other causes of the chronic pain labeled as fibromyalgia. In lax joint syndrome, ligaments and tissues are stretched beyond physiological limits, causing issues. People with lax joint issues or Ehlers-Danlos syndrome type IV may also experience pain that could be diagnosed as fibromyalgia, but their treatment should be different. There is no known treatment though allopathic medicine can address some symptoms. Naturopathic medicine can help patients suffering from a variety of musculoskeletal issues. Several studies are under way to figure out what could be beneficial for these patients with different forms of pain from fibromyalgia to chronic pain.

Remember that the goal of therapy is to restore normal body function, the ability to rest and to be free from pain.

Dr. Boris Schwartz is a naturopathic physician and the owner of Original Health Institute, in Phoenix. For more information, call 602-788-4333 or visit

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