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 your brain processes pain signals.

Symptoms sometimes begin after a physical trauma, surgery, infection or significant psychological stress. In other cases, symptoms gradually accumulate over time with no single triggering event.

Women are more likely to develop fibromyalgia than are men. Many people who have fibromyalgia also have tension headaches, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety and depression

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia can’t be diagnosed through a simple laboratory test. Your doctor can’t detect it in your blood or see it on an X-ray or an MRI. Instead, fibromyalgia appears to be linked to changes in how the brain and spinal cord process pain signals.

If left untreated, the chronic pain associated with fibromyalgia can lead to permanent changes in the way your body perceives pain resulting in increased sensitivity to stimuli and abnormal pain sensitivity.

Research has shown that patients with fibromyalgia have elevated levels of certain inflammatory substances (cytokines) in the cerebrospinal fluid, suggesting inflammation of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). Using modern PET (positron-emission topography) brain imaging, it has been shown that the central nervous system’s immune cells, called glial cells, are activated and thus give rise to inflammation of the brain.

Unfortunately, most who suffer from this condition are only offered pain medications and drugs that manipulate the chemicals of the brain and nerves that carry pain signals. The problem with this “solution” is that it does not address the root causes that lead to the development of this disorder. Inflammation is a significant common denominator in with fibromyalgia. This inflammation alters normal nerve function, leading to pain and the other symptoms that are common with this condition. This is why you may also suffer with brain fog, insomnia, anxiety, depression, fatigue; etc.

3 Different Systems are involved

These 3 systems are the major regulating systems of the body.  They are the nervous system, immune system and endocrine system (hormones). We know that all 3 are involved in the development of fibromyalgia. The symptoms are due to nervous system dysfunction. The immune system been shown (see research above) to be involved and in creating a negative impact on how the nerves function. Women are much more likely to develop fibromyalgia and autoimmune diseases. Fibromyalgia has not been classified as an autoimmune disease, but hormonal issues are linked to immune system dysregulation and immune-related problems.

This is why it is so important to take a functional medicine approach to fibromyalgia. Traditional medicine is not looking at the immune system or the hormonal systems of the body when it comes to fibromyalgia. They only focus on pain-control. None of the medications that have been approved for the management of fibromyalgia are doing anything to correct the underlying causes of this condition.

The FDA has approved drugs such as these to manage fibromyalgia; the antidepressants duloxetine (Cymbalta) and milnacipran (Savella), plus the anti-seizure medicine pregabalin (Lyrica). But your doctor may prescribe other drugs that aren’t specifically approved for fibromyalgia.

How we can help you

We find that patients with fibromyalgia often have several health issues that contribute to the stress that is being placed on their body resulting in fibromyalgia. At Naperville Integrated Wellness, we believe that most effective approach to treating fibromyalgia is to identify the various imbalances in your body chemistry or nervous system function and gently restore them back to health without the need of pain medication and drugs (which, alter the chemicals of the brain and does not lead to improved body function and recovery.)

While identifying the issues contributing to fibromyalgia it is not uncommon to find:

  • Hormonal imbalances (estrogen, progesterone and testosterone)
  • Adrenal gland problems (adrenal fatigue including cortisol, DHEA and catecholamine imbalances)
  • Thyroid problems (including the autoimmune disease (Hashimoto’s disease) low thyroid hormones or poor thyroid conversion issues).
  • Anemia (and iron regulation problems)
  • High levels of inflammation
  • Food sensitivities or food allergies
  • Key nutrient deficiencies
  • Poor digestive system function
  • Yeast overgrowth in the bowel
  • Bacterial imbalances in the intestines
  • Low blood sugar, high blood sugar or insulin resistance
  • Imbalances of the autonomic nervous system (the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems make up the autonomic nervous system); which contributes to problems with pain, sleep, mood, digestion, etc.
  • Low production of nerve chemicals like serotonin and GABA; these help reduce pain signals in the nervous system.

Through functional medicine techniques we are able to offer advanced diagnostic testing and treatment options that are not widely available to fibromyalgia sufferers. Using these procedures, we are able to collect useful information that can actually be incorporated into a comprehensive treatment plan and ultimately lead to the improvement you have been searching for.

We believe you can get better! Let us help you get your life back. Contact us today!**