There is no disputing we live in crazy, hectic times.
Longer work hours to achieve the same or even less pay, higher fees for simple and necessary needs such as electricity, water, food and heat just so we can live and keep our families safe.
And to add to the mix, there has never been so much pressure to conform and preform as there is in this electronic, fast-paced, immediate-gratification society.
It’s no wonder people are getting sick. Their bodies, minds and even their souls are breaking down or just plain giving up.
What is Fibromyalgia?
Simply put, fibromyalgia is a result of people expending more energy than they have, ultimately resulting in an “energy crisis” of sorts that can reach a critical stage where you actually “blow a fuse” (called the hypothalamus), which then leads to “myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME)” once known as “chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)” or fibromyalgia.
According to Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, physician and bestselling author, in most people, the two conditions (ME/CFS and fibromyalgia) are essentially caused by the same process.
Who’s at Risk?
Fibromyalgia can affect anyone—very young children to people in their 90s. No one is immune. A decade ago, statistics showed that fibromyalgia affected about 2 percent of the adult US population.
Today, those figures have jumped to between 4 and 6 percent worldwide. And as is typical with immune-related illnesses such as lupus, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis for example, over 75 percent of sufferers are women.
Unfortunately, at least 80 percent of people with ME/CFS and fibromyalgia can go for years being misdiagnosed, even being told they are simply depressed, suffer from anxiety, or in some cases, being told they have lupus or even arthritis, not to mention the slew of other maladies they are misdiagnosed with.
The risk of getting fibromyalgia has been shown to be lower in people who exercise more and weigh less, which is ironic, since the average weight gain resulting from this condition is 32 pounds.
And once you have gained this weight, it becomes nearly impossible to lose until you are able to restore your energy levels — metabolism.
Do I Have Fibromyalgia?
According to Dr. Teitelbaum, the test for fibromyalgia is actually quite simple. If you can answer “yes” to the following questions, then you likely have fibromyalgia.
- Do you feel exhausted much of the time?
- Do you have widespread achiness?
- Do you experience “brain fog?”
- Do you suffer from severe insomnia, even though you are utterly exhausted?
- Have you felt these symptoms for more than three months, despite vacationing or resting frequently?
In the early stages of fibromyalgia people typically experience such things as anxiety, stress, and even adrenal exhaustion—a good indication of adrenal exhaustion is if you are irritable when hungry.
When the master control center—the hypothalamus—essentially goes “offline,” all of your bodily systems are affected such as your sleep patterns, your hormonal system, temperature regulation (to the point that 98.6 F degrees may be a fever), how much you sweat, your bowel function, and even your blood pressure.
The pain experienced in cases of fibromyalgia is also caused by this lack of “energy” to your body. Your muscles actually require more energy to relax than to contract, so when your cells in your muscles lack energy, they can get “locked” in the shortened position, which of course, causes pain.
The obvious solution to all of this then is to provide your cells with the necessary energy and the symptoms will go away.
Causes of Fibromyalgia
The bottom line is that fibromyalgia and ME/CFS are triggered by stress.
But anything that either increases your energy requirements or decreases your energy production significantly, will set the stage for developing it.
In the majority of people, it is a combination of minor stresses that compound upon each other or a major stressor that is then intensified by some major physical stress that finally sends you tumbling “over the edge” as they say.
According to Dr. Teitelbaum, often a severe viral infection can trigger ME/CFS and fibromyalgia, even naming the situation, “The drop dead flu.”
1. Common Emotional Triggers
People with fibromyalgia tend to have a similar personality type:
- Overachievers, adrenaline junkies—can’t say no
- Approval seekers (they often seek approval from people who will never give it)
- They respond to fatigue by pushing past it, trying even harder instead of resting
Dr. Teitelbaum says that many women who develop ME/CFS and fibromyalgia have a full-time job while raising their kids.
He says that all too often women (and the rest of society) don’t recognize that raising a child is a full-time job. So, when a woman returns to work after having a child or enters the workplace, she is basically working overtime.
Women need to give themselves more credit for working two full-time jobs and get help in the home as well as finding a way to temper their work stress whenever possible.
2. Common Physical Triggers
The most common triggers in cases of sudden onset ME/CFS and fibromyalgia are injuries, viral or bacterial infections, and pregnancy.
According to Dr. Teitelbaum, for people who experience a more gradual onset, the culprit is typically “hormonal deficiencies (such as thyroid, adrenal, and perimenopause), sleep problems (including restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea, young children, snoring husband, or simply not making time for sleep), nutritional deficiencies with excess sugar intake, and autoimmune disorders such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis are some of the more common triggers.”
If and when people develop ME/CFS and fibromyalgia is often determined by their genetics and their unique ability to handle the stresses in their life. Everyone is different, so how and if they develop ME/CFS and fibromyalgia is situational.
What Can You Do?
ME/CFS and fibromyalgia is not all bad news. There are ways to not only manage it but also treat and eventually cure it.
According to research and Dr. Teitelbaum, over 91 percent of patients do improve with proper treatment with more than 90 percent of these people experiencing a better quality of life.
Emotionally, you have to learn to say “NO” when you simply don’t want to do something that does not feel good or right and just as important, learn to accept the good in your life and say “YES” to the things that feel good.
From a physical standpoint, getting enough sleep is imperative. Have your hormone levels checked and when off balance, seek a physician or naturopath tor help you.
Candida is a killer when it comes to your health in general, but for people with ME/CFS and fibromyalgia, it can keep you stuck in a vicious cycle of never-ending pain and exhaustion. Speak to a health professional about ways to get rid of candida.
Add beneficial nutritional supplements to your diet, and start an exercise program to fit your energy levels and slowly build it up from there.
Dr. Teitelbaum stresses that when any of these are “out of balance,” your ME/CFS or fibromyalgia will only get worse. And when you feel worse, you set yourself up for more stress further emotional and physical complications.
It’s not an easy battle to fight, but once you start seeing improvements, once you have days where you can start to feel what it is like to feel “normal” again, it will all be worth it.
For a free online symptom analysis program, go to: www.endfatigue.com. This free program can actually analyze your symptoms to determine the cause of your ME/CFS and fibromyalgia and even help to set up a personal treatment protocol based on your specific needs.