By Osteopath Oliver Eaton
According to the National Fibromyalgia Association, 3-6% of the world’s population has fibromyalgia syndrome, estimating that somewhere around 300 million people worldwide suffer from the condition.
The NHS estimates that 2-4.5% of people in the UK may have fibromyalgia syndrome – estimating between 1.2 million and 2.8 million people. 75-90% of people with fibromyalgia syndrome are women.
It is a condition that conventional medicine currently has no answer for and sufferers are often prescribed with long lists of symptom-managing medication with often damaging side effects. So here are some things your doctor might not tell you about causes and treatment of fibromyalgia, based on my own personal experience and that of my patients:
Prolonged Virus – if you have previously suffered from a prolonged virus such as glandular fever it can either be a primary cause of fibromyalgia or significantly increase your chances of getting it in the future. A prolonged virus increases the sensitivity of your nervous system, lowering your resilience to stressful situations in the future.
Prolonged Emotional Stress – whether it’s work stress of domestic stress, if it has been constant for a while it can play a large role in an individual developing fibromyalgia. Stress affects a part of the brain called the amygdala. The amygdala is responsible for controlling our stress response. If it becomes overloaded by repeated daily stresses then it can often start to malfunction and lead to conditions such as fibromyalgia and its sister condition chronic fatigue syndrome.
Previous Injury – if a previous injury has failed to heal then the constant output of pain signals to the brain can cause a similar response to the amygdala that I previously spoke about. Pain is one of the most debilitating forms of stress and can rob people of a good night’s sleep. During your sleep your body helps to replenish its own natural store of pain killers and brain chemicals, so once disturbed it can leave an individual susceptible to developing fibromyalgia.
Misalignments – misalignments in the body can cause chronic stress on the muscles and nerves in the body, subsequently causing pain. Misalignments occur from poor posture or repetitive movements to one side of the body.
Gut bacterial overgrowth – bacteria such as candida can overgrow in the gut and can cause many of the symptoms associated with fibromyalgia, including; pain, insomnia, fatigue, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), food sensitivities.
Silent Food Intolerances – The difference between a silent food intolerance and a symptomatic food intolerance is that a silent intolerance causes inflammation in the gut without any evident symptoms such as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). Your gut represents 80% of your immune system so if there are certain foods that are causing inflammation in your gut then this can cause inflammation and pain in other parts of your body. Common silent intolerances are foods containing either gluten or dairy.
Electromagnetic Fields/WIFI – Wifi and phones signals have been shown to cause a considerable amount of stress on particularly sensitive individuals. Leaving your phone switched on next to you on your bedside table can effect the quality of your sleep and can also be a cause of headaches and migraines, a common symptom with Fibromyalgia.
Vegan Diet - there have been many studies proving that a vegan diet can help to reduce the symptoms of Fibromyalgia. A vegan diet involves eliminating from your diet anything that has come from an animal: mainly meat, dairy and eggs. The problem with meat and dairy products these days is that the animals they have come from have been injected with synthetic hormones and antibiotics. These hormones and antibiotics are passed onto humans and can cause inflammation in the body. The University of Kuopio in Finland conducted a study to determine the effect that a vegan diet had on Fibromyalgia sufferers over a 3-month period. The study concluded an overall reduction in pain and joint stiffness, alongside an improvement in sleep quality.
EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) - It’s like an emotional form of acupuncture as it involves tapping on specific acupuncture points in the body whilst speaking certain sentences over yourself. Professor Gunilla Brattberg at Lund University in Sweden performed a study involving 86 women suffering from Fibromyalgia. They undertook an 8 week course of EFT which concluded in an overall reduction in symptoms of the condition.
Anti-Inflammatory Foods - There are many foods available that can help to reduce inflammation in the body including:
- Green leafy vegatables
- Coconut oil
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Oliver Eaton is a qualified and registered Osteopath, Medical Acupuncturist and Musculoskeletal Injection Therapist. He specializes in the treatment of Fibromyalgia with patients all over the UK and Europe. Much of Oliver's specialties were learnt through personal experience; suffering from a series of chronic conditions from which he made a full recovery using the same alternative medicine approaches he uses within his clinics. As one of the leading practitioners in his field on Harley Street, he has built his reputation on achieving results with patients who had previously had no success elsewhere.
Oliver’s approach for treating Fibromyalgia first involves a series of tests to identify the root cause of the condition in an individual. Once the cause has been identified, he then puts together a tailored treatment plan which involves a combination of osteopathy, nutrition, supplementation and cognitive therapy.