Fibromyalgia: scourge of the new millennium

As long as our population continues to ingest processed foods, drink water polluted with chlorine, fluoride and a myriad of other harmful chemicals, breath toxic air, be inoculated with harmful substances, exposed to dental fillings that leak mercury 24/7/365, ingest prescribed drugs with side effects more harmful than the diseases they are purported to cure, we will succumb to a life wrought with degenerative diseases and numerous clinical symptoms. With this scenario in mind, it is not surprising that conventional medicine has coined a new disease of the decade-Fibromyalgia.

Tens years after this disease entered the medical lexicon in 1990, an estimated six million Americans suffer with numerous symptoms. There is no denying that a cluster of clinical symptoms- generalized musculoskeletal pain, stiffness and chronic aching accompanied by reproducible trigger points (tender areas) – defines the latest medical scourge, Fibromyalgia. This malady is considered primary when not linked to other systemic problems such as Lupus (connective tissue disease), cancer, hypothyroidism (under active thyroid), trauma, and various forms of arthritis. Many cases are the result of a traumatic event, such as post surgery or psychological traumas, but many others have no direct etiologic connection. The clinical picture reveals a statistical prevalence for middle-aged Caucasian women (90%) between 30 and 50 years of age and represents 10 to 30 percent of doctor visits associated with rheumatic consultations. Fibromyalgia is rapidly becoming one of the most common chief complaints in doctor’s offices. (Bennett, R.M., “Beyond Fibromyalgia: Ideas on Etiology and Treatment,” Journal of Rheumatology 16 (supple 19): 185, 1989).

Fibromyalgia involves muscle, ligament, and tendon (connective tissue) pain and stiffness, which does not affect the joints. This condition is referred to as a syndrome because it is always accompanied by a set of clinical signs and symptoms that occur together. The principal symptoms associated with Fibromyalgia are:

  • Trigger points or tender areas of at least 11 of 18 specific anatomical sites
  • Chronic aching
  • Stiffness
  • Sleep disturbances (insomnia)
  • Pain (includes headaches)
  • Severe fatigue
  • Anxiety (secondary to pain)
  • Depression (related to changing physical status)
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Gastrointestinal disturbances (diarrhea and abdominal bloating)
  • Subjective soft tissue swelling
  • Cardiovascular problems (dizziness, palpations)
  • Bladder irritation

Making a definitive diagnosis can be difficult since there is no inflammation associated with the disease and laboratory blood tests, X-rays, and tissue biopsies fail to show any pathological findings. A diagnosis is based primarily on the clinical picture of wide spread pain in all four quadrants of the body for at least three months and palpatory findings of 11 or more painful trigger points.

The allopathic or conventional means of treatment involves the use of drugs in an attempt to reduce the pain and improve the quality of sleep. Unfortunately this treatment approach has not been too effective (Nxrregaard J. et al. “A Randomized Control Trial of Citalopram in Treatment of Fibromyalgia”, Pain 61:445-449, 1995).

Other treatment modalities that have been used include trigger point injections with lidocaine, physical therapy, acupuncture, acupressure, biofeedback, osteopathic or chiropractic manipulation, and therapeutic message. The following is a list of drugs commonly used:

Antidepressants: nonaddictive drugs are used to induce deep sleep:

Common drugs used

  1. Amitriptyline
  2. Elavil
  3. Clobenzaprine (Flexeril)
  4. Zanax
  5. Paxil
  6. Klonopine

Side Effects

  1. Dry mouth
  2. Daytime drowsiness
  3. Increased appetite
  4. Constipation

Sleeping Pills:

Common drugs used

  1. Valium
  2. Halcion
  3. Restoril

Side Effects

  1. Impair quality of deep sleep
  2. Can induce addiction

Corticosteroids: prescribed for severe pain

Common drugs used

  1. Prednisone
  2. Cortisone

Side Effects

  1. Thinning of the bones
  2. Impairment of wound healing
  3. Increased risk of bone fracture
  4. Depression of immune system
  5. Decreased absorption of vitamin D
  6. Loss of vitamin C, B-12, folic acid, potassium, calcium, and zinc

Note: When taken in large doses for prolonged periods corticosteroids can cause osteoporosis, diabetes, hypertension, and mental disturbances.

Acetaminophen (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory plus antipyretic [lowers fever])

Common trade names used

  1. Tylenol
  2. Liquiprin
  3. Datril

Side Effects: usually well tolerated when taken in a standard dose of below four grams per 24-hour period.

  1. Decrease in liver function
  2. Irreversible kidney damage

NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory)

Common trade names used

  1. Motrin
  2. Advil
  3. Aspirin
  4. Indocin
  5. Ibuprofen
  6. Excedrin
  7. Midol
  8. Nuprin

Side Effects: Block production of prostaglandin E-2 which causes pain and inflammation and blocks prostaglandins E-1s and E-3s which are the body’s own natural pain suppressors and anti-inflammatory compounds. They include:

  1. Nausea
  2. Indigestion
  3. Constipation
  4. Nervousness
  5. Drowsiness
  6. Ulcers/stomach bleeding
  7. Weight gain
  8. Urinary problems
  9. Cramps
  10. Diarrhea
  11. Sensitivity to sunlight
  12. Confusion
  13. Headache
  14. High blood pressure
  15. Swelling of hands and feet
  16. Sore throat/fever
  17. Anaphylaxis (rare): characterized by difficulty in breathing, swollen tongue, dizziness, faintness, hives, puffy eyelids, fast and irregular heartbeat or pulse, change in face color.
  18. Causes a worsening of arthritic joints

Note: NSAIDs do not cure disease (Hendler, N. and Kolodny, A.L. “Using Medication Wisely in Chronic Pain”, Patient Care, 6:125-139, May 1992.), so the disease process goes unchecked even though the patient feels no pain. Also to be noted was the study by Hodgkinson and Woolf which showed that NSAIDs did not delay the progression of chronic pain diseases (Hodgkinson, R. and Woolf, D. “A Five year Clinical trial of Indomethacin in Osteoarthritis of the Hip Joint.” ACTA Orthopedics Scand. [AU:PLS. Confirm] 50: 169, 1979.)

For the patient suffering with Fibromyalgia, it is important to remember that THERE ARE NO MAGIC CURES! Patients with chronic pain problems invariably have multiple factors that provide the underlying sources for the pain. The journey will help uncover these causative factors and, with proper treatment, help eliminate them.

Good Examination:> As with any medical problem a thorough evaluation must be performed to rule out the myriad of problems that can mimic the symptoms of Fibromyalgia. An extensive examination should also include vibrational medicine (Interro, Voll, Dermatron, and Vega) analysis. Such an approach will help determine the presence of viruses, heavy metals, yeast infections, bacterial infections, and presence of possible chemical toxins that can initiate pain. The presence of a heavy metal like mercury can be the sole cause of severe insomnia. My clinical experience has shown that the mercury, which leaks out of dental fillings, often suppresses thyroid function with the end result of causing insomnia. By chelating the mercury out of the tissues, the thyroid gland can assume normal function and resolve the sleep disturbance. A case in point involved a nurse, Ann who was sleeping no more than 4 hours a night for the last 18 years. Ann was treated by every specialist known to medicine with no results. It wasn’t until Ann had all her mercury fillings removed and underwent mercury detoxification by means of DMPS injections that her insomnia completely disappeared. Ann now sleeps through the entire night like a baby.

Localized or general pain can result from the chicken pox virus being activated along nerve fibers. This pain malady is called shingles and is extremely painful. Heavy metals as well as viruses can migrate along nerve fibers, infiltrate joints and nerve ganglia with excruciating results. Use of herbs, antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and chelating agents can be used to remove the heavy metals from nerve tissue. In addition, use of bio-frequencies can destroy viruses, fungi, bacteria and other parasites that have invaded soft tissues or nerves. A case in point was a patient who suffered excruciating pain for six months as a result of chemotherapy and radiation treatments. It wasn’t until this patient was treated with the specific frequencies for the chicken pox virus and several nutrients which suppressed viral function that she was able to become free of pain.

Emotions whether resulting from a traumatic experience or persistent psychological burdens from work, family or social situations can provide the triggers for pain. Long standing psychological distress will fatigue the adrenal glands, set up reflex subluxation (joint or vertebrae imbalances) patterns that initiate pain. The emotional component of Fibromyalgia must be dealt with if final closure is to become a reality. Use of Bach Flower essences have been useful in modifying emotional sources of dysfunction. Selection of the appropriate flower essence is essential to effect a permanent change. The process is subtle and the essences will not interfere with any medication, food supplement, herb or homeopathic remedy.

Contrary to popular belief, use of fluoride (drinking water, toothpaste, and other sources like medications such as Prozac) will wreak havoc in one’s system. Besides being a known enzyme poison, fluoride causes calcium to be deposited in soft tissue where it does not belong. The fluoride is directly responsible for causing stiffness of joints, soft tissue rigidity, premature aging of the skin, skeletal fluorosis (severe brittleness of bones), painful arthritis, calcification of areas of the brain that deal with sleep (decreasing melatonin production) and behavioral centers. Fibromyalgia patients must avoid consumption of fluoridated drinking water, toothpaste, topical applications, medications with fluoride, and juices made from fluoridated water. Both the American Dental Association and the Academy of General Dentistry have warned its membership that there has been an increase of dental fluorosis both in Canada and the United States. Dental fluorosis involves the appearance of white spots in the tooth enamel. This represents the first clinical sign of fluoride intoxication or poisoning. Besides damaging the teeth, fluoride can cause chronic depression, headaches, and is a known cancer-initiating compound. Fibromyalgia Nutrient Formula: One company (4 Life Research) has dedicated a major portion of its research to putting together nutritional factors that help address the various components of Fibromyalgia. They offer two formulas (available from 4Life Research 888 454-3374 [PIN #92364]. The formula with their ingredients are:

Fibro AMJ Daytime formula: Magnesium is involved with every major energy production and transportfunction in the body. Magnesium supports healthy joints and muscles.

Malic acid is essential in the citric acid cycle (energy production cycle). As it passes through this cycle, it is converted into useable energy (ATP).

Glucosamine and Bovine Cartilage are used in the body to manufacture cartilage components necessary for joint and tissue repair.

Methyl Sulfonyl Methane (MSM) is an important source of dietary sulfur. Sulfur plays an integral part in the proper function of many proteins, hormones, and other substances that are critical in keeping muscles and joints healthy.

Boswellia serrata is a natural anti-inflammatory agent. It has been shown to reduce joint swelling, increase mobility and decrease morning stiffness.

Vitamin B6 is an important co-factor in the production of several important neurotransmitters such as serotonin, gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA) and dopamine.

L-cysteine and cysteine play a critical role in the prevention of skeletal muscle deterioration and fatigue conditions.

Fibro AMJ Night-time Formula: Melatonin is a hormone that assists us in attaining deep levels of sleep.

Melatonin regulates the sleep-wake cycle, helps increase sleep onset, helps maintain sleep through the night and helps us reach deep sleep(REM sleep).

Griffonia simplicifolia (natural source of 5-hydroxytryptophan or 5-HTP) is a plant rich in 5-HTP. 5-HTP has been effective against many conditions of fibromyalgia, including reducing muscle pain, anxiety, and pain intensity. It also has been shown to help induce sleep, improve sleep quality, and reduce fatigue.

Pregnenolone is one of the critical neurosteroids that has the ability to modify EEG sleep in humans. This also suggests one of pregnenolone’s potential benefits as a memory enhancer.

Vitamin B6 is an important co-factor in the production of several important neurotransmitters such as serotonin, gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA) and dopamine.

Creatine is a nutrient naturally found in our bodies. It is made from three amino acids (arginine, glycine and methionine). Creatine is used in our muscles to create energy: The ability to create energy (adenosine triphosphate or ATP) depends upon our supply of it. Creatine restores energy in fatigued muscles.

Kava kava is used for its natural calming effects. Kava helps you relax and promotes a good night’s rest.

Avoid Offending Foods, Fades and Medical Miracles:

Caffeine stimulates the sympathetic part of the autonomic nervous system which causes the muscles to be in a heightened state of tension. Caffeine also acts as a diuretic flushing out minerals through the kidneys. Mineral loss will adversely affect muscle function and result in generalized twitching, spasm and fatigue.

Beef and chicken that are raised on steroids and antibiotics. These drugs will enter your system when ingesting this beef or chicken. Both these drugs will foster the overgrowth of Candida Albicans (yeast). The toxic by-products of yeast can exacerbate and mimic all the clinical symptoms of Fibromyalgia. High Protein diets such as the Atkin’s diet will produce an acid pH in your system. When the acidity level goes beyond the body’s ability to buffer the acids, one’s pain threshold will be lowered. In an acid environment, the normal glucose (blood sugar) gets converted into lactic acid which causes burning pain in spastic muscles, will awaken you in the middle of the night by stimulating your adrenal glands, and lower tissue oxygen levels hastening the degenerative process.

Nutrasweet (aspartame) converts to formic acid, wood alcohol, and formaldehyde (embalming solution) when the temperature rises above 86 degrees F. This artificial substance will cause more pain and migraines than any other substance. In addition, it creates the cravings for carbohydrates and causes weight gain.

Tuna and Swordfish are high in mercury. Ingested elemental mercury is converted by intestinal bacteria into methyl mercury, which is 100 times more toxic than the elemental form. Methyl mercury has a great affinity for nervous tissue and destroys the nerve fibers as it migrates along its pathway.

Flue shots and other inoculations were once touted as medical miracles. These injectable fluids have merthiosol, which is mercury. This cheap fungicide is used as an inexpensive preservative in vaccines. Each time you are inoculated you receive a direct dose of mercury into your system. Researchers inject minute amounts of mercury into laboratory animals when they want to create neurological problems quickly.

Neuro-Occlusal Adjustment: In a previous issue, Neuro-Occlusal Adjustments were alluded to in conjunction with the relationship of the teeth to various organs, vertebrae, muscles, specific areas of the brain, soft tissues and joints. Often minor misalignments of the teeth are sufficient to initiate faulty messages into the nervous system causing chronic pain patterns. Several cases will illustrate this point:

Case 1: B.F. experienced low back pain for 8 years. His problem started when a dentist cemented in a lower right first molar crown. The patient endured his pain and never related the dental procedure to being the cause of his pain. While accompanying his wife on one of her dental appointments to my office, his problem was mentioned. After evaluating his bite relationship, the offending interference on the crown was judiciously removed and his low back pain of 8 years disappeared immediately. This patient has been pain free for one and a half years since the procedure was performed.

Case 2: G.S. suffered left side upper cervical pain for 22 years. Numerous car accidents exacerbated her pain and distress. No amount of chiropractic manipulation was able to reverse the constant pain. A minor neurologic interference was present on the lower right first bicuspid tooth. With an adjustment of only several microns of tooth surface removed, the cervical pain dissipated and full range of motion was restored even after 22 years of suffering.

Case 3: Y.W. had chronic tailbone pain, gall bladder pain and chronic nausea which worsened upon arising. These symptoms persisted for over one year and defied medical/chiropractic treatment. Utilizing a muscle testing technique, two teeth were diagnosed as the offending culprits: lower left canine and first bicuspid teeth. After adjusting the neurologic interferences on these teeth, the patient’s symptoms disappeared.

Autonomic Nervous System Dominance: The Autonomic Nervous System is divided into two parts: Sympathetic and Parasympathetic divisions. The Sympathetic part acts like your gas pedal in your car. When stimulated it revs up the body causing the heart to race, dilates the pupils of the eye, dries the mouth, tenses muscles, and slows digestion. The parasympathetic division functions like the breaks: slows the heart rate, relaxes muscles, increases digestion, increases salivary flow, constricts the pupil of the eye, and generally slows down the body. Chronic pain patients invariably have a sympathetic dominance condition, which is usually accompanied by an acid pH. Traumas such as whiplash injury, surgical scars and/or adhesions and mercury deposited within an autonomic nerve ganglion are a few factors that can trigger and perpetuate pain patterns.

Fibromyalgia Myth: There is no cure

Sir William Osler once stated that a “doctor can only see what he was trained to see.” Traditionally educated doctors are not trained to see the underlying causes that plague the Fibromyalgic patient. That is why most doctors focus on PAIN MANAGEMENT. By masking symptoms with drugs one can only expect containment not cure. Many fibromyalgia sufferers can obtain long-term relief and even effect a cure if treated properly. The difficulty in the Fibromyalgia equation is uncovering the structural, chemical and psychological factors, which make up the many layers of this problem. The following cases are presented to emphasize this point.

Case 1. Lisa D. was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. She suffered the basic symptoms that defined the disease. A thorough evaluation of Lisa determined that she had an under active thyroid gland that was caused by a deficiency of organic iodine. Treatment was instituted by prescribing one organic iodine tablet three times per week. In ten days, all of Lisa’s Fibromyalgia symptoms disappeared and never returned.

Case 2. Christine R. suffered with Fibromyalgia for ten years. In addition to the generalized muscle pain, she also had a severe localized low back pain that resisted all forms of treatment. Careful examination uncovered the presence of mercury in her thyroid gland. Suppression of the thyroid gland is one of the underlying causes for diffuse muscle weakness and spasm, insomnia, severe debilitating fatigue and memory loss. Two treatments of injecting a powerful chelating solution resulted in relieving the severe low back pain and greatly reducing the generalized pain.

Until there is a greater awareness, most Fibromyalgia patients will be condemned to suffer unnecessarily.

Dr. Gerald H. Smith

About The Author

Dr. Gerald H. Smith is certified by the World Organization for Natural Medicine to practice natural medicine globally. He is also a certified dental practitioner. His broad base of post-graduate training in dentistry and natural medicine enabled him to integrate many health care specialties.