Fibromyalgia Syndrome vs a Disease..

By on August 22, 2009
Do you have a question about Fibromyalgia Syndrome?

This is a question from a reader about Fibromyalgia Syndrome

Hi! I have been having body pains and my Dr and I thought it was fibromyalgia. I have a vitamin D level of 6 mg/nl that can cause the pains I am told, and the diagnosis is now a Vitamin D deficiency not fibromyalgia. But when I read up on fibromyalgia I was shocked that I have 70 symptoms that are the same as the Early Symptoms of Fibromyalgia!

I have 16 out of 18 tender points. Also, severe eye pain that feels like a ‘headache’ in the eye, burning and painful heels, IBS, seborrhoeic dermatitis, post nasal drip, mucus in my stool, stiff neck, sleep problems, dry eye, short term memory loss, foggy brain, extreme fatigue, ridges on my nails, depression, noise and light sensitivity, sugar and carb cravings, PMS, cold hands and feet, excessive sweating, deep hip pain, fibroids, sore spot on top of my head, morning stiffness all over the body, itchy skin, dry mouth… What does this sound like to you? I also have cervical spondylitis.

Look forward to your reply. Thanks
Mona

________________________________

Hi Mona,

This is a very interesting question that I have been wanting to address for a while. Yes, you have a lot of Symptoms of Fibromyalgia, but what does this really mean? It means that you have a collection of symptoms that doctors have grouped together in order to help classify it. All of these symptoms, when put together, doctors have got together and argued and debated and decided that THESE particular symptoms, when grouped together, will all me considered Symptoms of Fibromyalgia- or better yet Fibromyalgia Syndrome.

Contrast this to someone who comes into the emergency room with lower right sided abdominal pain, weakness, nausea and fever. They have a collection of symptoms that you might call “Right Lower Quadrant Abdominal Pain Syndrome”, but doctors go looking for the cause. Often, they will find the CAUSE, call it the DISEASE of appendicitis and do surgery.

 

If they DON’T find the Disease of Appendicitis or the condition of Constipation or the condition of a ruptured ovarian cyst, then they say that they don’t know what it is and send you home with the instructions to return if you get worse.

They either find a disease or disease process or say that they don’t know why you have it. The terms Fibromyalgia Syndrome, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome etc. have come about because so many people have these ongoing problems that have no answer as to why they are occurring that doctors had to name them SOMETHING.

But when you have lower abdominal pain and they diagnose appendicitis, this is based on the fact that you have symptoms and they have found the cause. When you have Fibromyalgia Syndrome, you get this label because they can’t find a cause! This is a big difference. And this is why your doctor is holding off on the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia in favor of an actual problem that he can find- Vitamin D Deficiency.

 

Whether you get better when your vitamin D deficiency is corrected, depends upon a lot of factors, but what if your doctor never LOOKED for vitamin D deficiency. Then he could not say that you have Vitamin D deficiency, right?

I know that sounds stupid, but bear with me here for a minute. So, doctors like problems that have ONE answer:

Abdominal Pain —> Appendicitis

Arm Pain —> Broken Arm

They do very well with these, but what they do NOT do well with are problems with MORE THAN ONE cause. And that is generally what most ‘chronic’ health problems or syndromes have- MORE than one cause. And what if those causes are things that doctors just don’t look for? How will they ever know WHAT is causing it, if they ‘Decide’ that it is Fibromyalgia Syndrome, they now have a diagnosis and so they don’t HAVE to go looking for a Fibromyalgia Cause

According to medical wisdom, Fibromyalgia is a collection of symptoms that no one knows why you have and it’s “incurable”, you can help to manage symptoms with certain drugs, but that’s it- and sadly enough, they are even beginning to diagnose Fibromyalgia in Children more and more.

Now, I ask you, do you want your doctor to ‘give up’ on trying to find out what is wrong with you in favor of a diagnosis? And what if your doctor can’t find out what is wrong with you because he is not looking in the right place?

These are Vital questions to ask because generally your doctor will stop looking for problems when he gives you a diagnosis of ‘Fibromyalgia Syndrome’ AND he is also not looking in the right place anyhow.

What is Fibromyalgia Syndrome?

So, in my experience, there is not simply ONE Fibromyalgia Cause – it is NEVER just one thing. Fibromyalgia sufferers may have any and all of the following problems:

Has your doctor looked for, or even suggested that you might have even one of these? Except for Vitamin D deficiency, he hasn’t. Nor has he looked, nor will he (he might look for Vitamin b 12 deficiency and magnesium deficiencies, but his test will likely be the wrong test and won’t find it anyway…).

So, in my practice, I look for and often find these problems using laboratory testing that doctors COULD do, but choose not to for various reasons. I use the following tests and almost always find something that can improve Symptoms of Fibromyalgia to some degree.These are REAL tests that have peer reviewed studies showing their accuracy. They are not some ‘woo-woo’ tests that require you to see how you feel about something. They are laboratory tests that are sometimes even more accurate than the ones that your doctor is using- and they WORK!

If you doctor tested you for these problems and corrected them when he found them, it is unlikely that we would NEED the labels of Fibromyalgia Syndrome and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

So, I have no problem with anyone getting a diagnosis and seeking a diagnosis for their problems. In fact, everyone should get a full medical workup before seeing me. It is inappropriate to treat a Parathyroid tumor with Vitamin D. It is inappropriate to treat a bleeding ulcer with Vitamin B 12. So, by getting a diagnosis, at least you can be sure that you have no severe medical problems that will kill you or that you may need surgical intervention for.

But once you have that diagnosis, what is next for you. A diagnosis of Fibromyalgia syndrome dooms you to a life of pain and minimal functioning and some symptom control with pain medication and antidepressants. Not an exciting proposition. But once you have that diagnosis and your doctor can’t find anything ‘wrong’ with you, then come see me and I may be able to find the UNDERLYING cause of your problems and to correct these imbalances and make you feel better.

In the meantime, get some help for your fibromyalgia with 7 Fibromyalgia Tips!!

About Kerri Knox, RN

The author is a Registered Nurse and Functional Medicine Practitioner. With 20 years of experience in health care, she has the unique perspective of being solidly grounded in both Conventional Medicine and Alternative Medicine. She can help you to to find and repair the underlying causes of chronic illness, while empowering you to take charge of your own health. She is the owner and author of this blog and website.
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