Today is Fibromyalgia awareness day in honor of this day my heart goes out to all of those people that suffer everyday with this debilitating disease. I once suffered from Fibromyalgia myself and have since fully recovered.
According to the Mayo Clinic fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues, fibromyalgia can cause debilitating muscle pain and fatigue. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals.
We do know that if you give the body the right environment it can heal itself. I have fully reversed my fibromyalgia using a functional medicine approach. Functional medicine looks to find the root cause of fibromyalgia and other chronic diseases, treating the problem at the root level helps to restore the patient to health. As a functional medicine RN, I have helped many patients including myself recover from fibromyalgia. Below are six root causes of fibromyalgia:
Leaky Gut (SIBO – Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth): This is when your bacteria gets out of balance through the use of antibiotics and a processed food diet rich in sugar. Gluten also can cause SIBO and leaky gut along with other food intolerances. 70% of your immune system is in your gut this needs to be the first step to the healing process. Kick out the bad guys, replace with good bacteria, heal and seal the gut to improve digestion and absorption.
Gluten Intolerance: has been linked to many diseases. Many symptoms are not always digestive in nature. They can range from neurological, (such as pain, brain fog or sleep issues), behavioral issues, fatigue and even depression.
Candida Overgrowth: This is a fungus that becomes overgrown and can live in the intestines. When Candida becomes overproduced it breaks down the wall of the intestinal track and penetrates into your blood steam releasing toxics into your body this can cause symptoms such as foggy brain, fatigue, digestive issues, pain and sweet cravings. Most everyone with fibromyalgia has Candida overgrowth.
Adrenal/Thyroid: Thyroid issues will not show in blood work until the thyroid is in disease. Many people complain of thyroid symptoms but yet are told your blood work is great! When getting blood studies, it is best to get a full thyroid panel not just a TSH, ask your doctor to check six different markers. It is also very important that the doctor uses optimal ranges rather than standard range when assessing thyroid function. In functional medicine we also look at the function of the adrenal glands this is important because once the adrenals are overburdened they will use a biofeedback loop and look for help from the thyroid, often by addressing the adrenals first you can restore thyroid function. Adrenal fatigue is the result of chronic stress and chronic pain is a stress to the adrenal glands. The initial stressor is usually food, candida, mercury, deficiencies and mycotoxins. Patients that are adrenal/thyroid impaired will present with brain fog, pain, inflammation, sleep disturbances and depression.
Nutritional Deficiencies: Many nutritional deficiencies can occur due to leaky gut and malabsorption and this is very common in fibromyalgia patients. Some of the most common deficiencies found are magnesium, vitamin B12 and folate acid and vitamin D.
MTHFR Mutations: This is a genetic test and assesses possible genetic mutations if you have the MTHFR gene you are less likely to detoxify toxins including mercury and lead. The more mutations you have at this gene the higher your requirement for Methyl-B6 and Methyl-B12 and folic acid in order to keep your detox pathways running smoothly and efficiently.
Getting to the root cause is a very important part of treating fibromyalgia. There is no one single root cause to fibromyalgia or chronic disease. Usually it is a combination of several things. However, you do not need to suffer or mask your symptoms with medications. Having reversed my fibromyalgia and others by addressing our underlying issues it is possible to restore your health and vitality!