Fibromyalgia is a common musculoskeletal disorder, which mostly affects women (in 90% of all cases).
Fibromyalgia pain (described under ” signs and symptoms”) is the main symptom, but sleep disturbance is also common. Among women in post-retirement age the frequency is as high as 7%. In industrialized nations about 2 to 4% of the population at large suffers from this condition (Ref. 1). It is characterized by wide spread pain, by fatigue, a sleep disorder and painful tender spots in various anatomical locations.
When more than 12 out of 18 defined tender spots (thanks to www.themanualtherapist.com for this image) are positive, the diagnosis of primary fibromyalgia can be made.
However, there are also fibromyalgia symptoms that can accompany other rheumatic illnesses and medical diseases, in which case the physician calls this type secondary fibromyalgia. Common medical illnesses that need to be delineated from fibromyalgia are: diabetes mellitus, hypothyroidism, depression, hepatitis, multiple sclerosis, electrolyte disturbances such as hypokalemia etc., or cancer (Ref. 2).
According to Dr. Lichten (Ref. 8) a consistent finding in various publications is the fact that the normal sleep pattern is interrupted. Sleep studies show that there is a specific pattern called alpha-delta sleep, where the deep sleep required for the regeneration of growth hormone is interrupted by wakefulness (measured as alpha sleep waves). EEG recordings further show that REM sleep (sleep stage 3 and 4) is reduced leading to muscle stiffness and pain, inability to concentrate, brain fog and fatigue. This becomes important when treatment of fibromyalgia is considered (see treatment link).
Fibromyalgia belongs to the psychosomatic diseases. With fibromyalgia there is bottled up anger (usually subconscious) and muscle aches and pains occur due to an accumulation of lactic acid in the muscles (Ref. 9). Newer studies have shown that the micrometabolism of fibromyalgia patients may be different with more need for micronutirients than in people without fibromyalgia (Ref.11 and 12). Pyrroloquinoline-quinone (=PQQ) may also be useful for restoring energy (Ref. 13). This will be mentioned under “alternative medicine treatment of fibromyalgia”.
Dr. Platt points out that there is a connection between ADHD (Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and fibromyalgia. Both Ref. 9 and 10 point out that with fibromyalgia there is a brain hormone dysbalance and a hormone dysbalance in the body that is responsible for the multifaceted presentation of symptoms. Many patients are not diagnosed properly or have only been partially treated with regard to this chronic condition. This would also account for some of the bottled-up anger, which in turn leads to more adrenalin production in the adrenal glands with subsequent lactic acid accumulation in the muscles causing more pain. As is discussed further under treatment of fibromyalgia the anti-aging medicine approach addresses the hormone dysbalance based on saliva hormone tests. With fibromyalgia there are often multiple hormone deficiencies that are affecting the thyroid (hypothyroidism), adrenal glands (adrenal insufficiency, regarding DHEA and cortisol production), growth hormone production (growth hormone deficiency of the anterior pituitary gland), and testosterone (testosterone deficiency) and progesterone production (progesterone deficiency). With the combination therapy of conventional medicine the underlying hormone dysbalance is not treated leading to a failure with long-term therapy. This will be discussed further under “treatment of fibromyalgia”.
1. G.Littlejohn Aust Fam Physician 2001 Apr;30(4):327-333.
2. LS Brecher et al. J Am Osteopath Assoc 2001 Apr;101(4 Suppl Pt 2):S12-17.
3. The Merck Manual, 7th edition, by M. H. Beers et al., Whitehouse Station, N.J., 1999. Chapter 59.
4. ABC of rheumatology, second edition, edited by Michael L. Snaith , M.D., BMJ Books, 1999. Chapter 6. Fibromyalgia Syndrome.
5. B Mukerji et al. Angiology 1995 May;46(5):425-430.
6. Ferri: Ferri’s Clinical Advisor: Instant Diagnosis and Treatment, 2004 ed., Copyright © 2004 Mosby, Inc.
7. Rakel: Conn’s Current Therapy 2004, 56th ed., Copyright © 2004 Elsevier
8. Dr. Edward M. Lichten: Textbook of bio-identical hormones. © 2007 Foundation for Anti-Aging Research, Birmingham, Michigan, USA
9. Dr. Michael E. Platt: The Miracle of Bio-Identical Hormones; 2nd edition, © 2007 Clancy Lane Publishing, Rancho Mirage, Ca/USA
10. Dr. Daniel G. Amen: Magnificent Mind at any Age; © 2008 Three Rivers Press, New York, USA
11. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22342824 (April 2012, original from Spain): Fibromyalgia associated with deficiency of Co-Q10.
12. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17109576 (Nov. 2006): “The use of D-ribose in chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia: a pilot study”.
13. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22581337 : “Pyrroloquinoline-quinone and its versatile roles in biological processes.” (June 2012).