Friday, December 14, 2018

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FIBROMYALGIA

Fibromyalgia is one of the conditions patients very frequently ask for help with.  

Fibromyalgia is a diagnostic label describing persistent non-specific pain associated with a certain number of trigger points(on the body)  and where the standard medical investigations have failed to reveal a cause. Standard medicine regards fibromyalgia as a bit of a mystery illness and the standard treatment usually includes some of the following: non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, antidepressants and lifestyle modification.

The functional medicine approach looks more deeply and analytically at someone with fibromyalgia. The approach which I have had most success with involves an in-depth assessment of the patient including assessing the mind-body-brain chemistry connection, trying to assess neurotransmitter imbalance, gastrointestinal function and vitamin and mineral deficiencies. It is imperative to assess hormonal status in detail if the patient is female.  Many patients with fibromyalgia suffer from irritable bowel syndrome or chronic fatigue type symptoms and it stands to reason that probably the fibromyalgia, the irritable bowel and the chronic fatigue syndrome are all deeply interconnected and any successful approach must involve a comprehensive treatment approach addressing all these disorders as an interconnected group.  An adjunctive therapy which I have found useful in fibromyalgia is the Myers intravenous cocktail - Dr Alan Gaby MD who probably is the world authority on Dr Myers cocktail - mentions some quite successful outcomes studies (non-double-blind) on the treatment of fibromyalgia with intravenous vitamins and minerals.

Functional medicine, standard 'evidence based medicine' and patient outcome:

Functional medicine is not 'standard medicine' nor is it considered a form of ‘evidence-based’ medicine despite having been introduced in many U.S centres of conventional medicine e.g. the Cleveland Clinic. What I offer to patients 38 years clinical experience, extensive personal study and also what I have learned personally from medical colleagues from around the globe who have devoted their lives to treating patients with unexplained symptoms.  In my experience functional medicine proves very useful much of the time in helping patients for whom pharmaceutical medicine has not worked but I emphasize that I cannot guarantee a favourable outcome.