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ibromyalgia
 

Understanding and Treating Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia (Part 2)

© Leon Chaitow ND, DO, MRO

Unless there is an underlying awareness of the true nature and causes of such conditions, and until there is a real understanding of the ways in which it is possible to offer encouragement for an abused and over-stretched immune system to begin to restore health, many forms of proffered help (orthodox or alternative) will succeed only in either masking or, at best, moderating the patient’s symptoms.

Understanding Homeostasis: Self-Healing
It is absolutely vital for anyone afflicted with a chronic illness to hold onto the fact that their body is a self-healing mechanism, that since broken bones mend and cuts usually heal, and that since most health disturbances, from infections to digestive disturbances, get better with or without treatment (often faster without !) that, in a healthy state, there must be in operation a constant tendency towards normalisation and balanced function. This is called homeostasis.

Homeostatic functions (which include the immune system) can be overwhelmed by too many tasks and demands, because of (perhaps) any or all of a selection of negative impacts including nutritional deficiencies, accumulated toxic material (environmental pollution, either as food or inhaled, in medication, previous or current use of drugs etc), emotional stress, recurrent or current infections, allergies, modified functional ability due to age or inborn factors or acquired habits involving poor posture, breathing imbalances and/or sleep disturbances and so on and on ...

At a certain point in time the adaptive homeostatic mechanisms break down and frank illness, disease, appears and as homeostasis breaks down, a state of heterostasis emerges.4 At this time the body needs help, treatment, and this can take the form of either:

  • a: Reducing the load which is impacting the body by taking away as many of the undesirable factors as possible, by avoiding allergens, improving posture and breathing, learning stress coping tactics, improving diet, using supplements if called for, helping normalise sleep and circulatory function, introducing a detoxification programme, dealing with infections, and generally trying to keep the pressure off the defence mechanisms while it focuses on the current chronic repair needs.

  • b: Enhancing, improving, modulating defence and repair processes by a variety of means, mainly non-specific (described as constitutional methods, which will be explained further in later articles in this series)

  • c: Treating the symptoms: while making sure that what is being done does not add further to the burden of the defence and repair mechanisms. Meet Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia (FMS) used to be called fibrositis (among many other names) and even now when the word ‘fibromyalgia’ is used in medical writing it is often accompanied by the word ‘fibrositis’. The similarities between Fibromyalgia syndrome, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Irritable Bowel Syndrome are listed below.5,6

In Fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue Syndrome and Irritable Bowel Syndrome the following similarities are found:

AgeYoung Adult
Primary SexFemale
PrevalenceCommon
CauseUnknown
ChronicYes
Laboratory StudiesUsually Normal
PathologyNone
DisablingFrequently
In addition to these similar, indeed identical, factors, all these conditions are also frequently characterised by pain, fatigue, headaches, disturbed sleep patterns, anxiety, depression, numbness and tingling in the arms, hands or feet, bowel disturbances (diarrhoea and/or constipation on their own or alternating) all frequently affected by the weather, by activity and by stress and there are usually many painful and sensitive areas to be found on palpation in all of them. Irritable bowel problems will usually also be associated with palpable painful areas in the abdomen.
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About The Author
A practicing naturopath, osteopath, and acupuncturist in the United Kingdom, with over forty years clinical experience, Chaitow is Editor-in-Chief, of the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies. He regularly lectures in the United States as well as Europe where he instructs......more
 
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