Imagine being so tired that you can’t function. Not like being pooped at the end of a long day at work or exhausted after a big hike, but the kind of tired that prevents working a normal job or the kind of tired that only allows doing a few hours of chores before having to go back to bed from being so wiped out. Normally exercise gives one a bit of energy but not this type of tired – if not careful, exercise just makes it worse.
Now consider having this type of fatigue all the time, for months to years on end without relief, and even rest won’t help. To make matters worse insomnia is usually present as well, so although one may be “dog-tired” they can’t even get a sound night’s sleep. This is the definition of chronic fatigue syndrome and it is called a syndrome because there is not one simple cause for the fatigue.
As if this fatigue was not bad enough, now let’s add pain. A deep, aching kind of pain that moves throughout the body, in the tissues and bones and joints, as well as isolating to 18 specific points about the body. These tender points, called trigger points, are like epicenters of pain and touching them with just enough pressure to blanch your fingernail produces severe pain. The pain syndrome that centers on the tender trigger points is called fibromyalgia.
The first step for most patients is getting a proper diagnosis. Many physicians still doubt the diagnosis of fibromyalgia even exists and rather simply point to depression, pain or insomnia as the main issue.
Fortunately, this is changing and, along with it, more and more patients are getting the correct diagnosis, followed by successful treatment that is rooted in integrative and functional medicine.
Our general treatment goal is to “relieve and restore.” We restore function with natural supplements, nutrition, sleep control, nervous system balance and hormone supplementation. It is critical to relieve the body of energy drains such as stress, allergies, intestinal disorders, infections and heavy metal accumulations.
With fibromyalgia becoming less of a mystery, treatments based on integrative functional medicine are emerging to “lift the veil” of suffering for many with this perplexing syndrome.