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Fatigue is something which impacts sufferers of fibromyalgia on a daily basis. Sleep is often poor and little, and… https://t.co/utgUhrnwYu

A list of articles involving FM

Finally….Effective Treatment for Fatigue, Pain, CFS and FM

Dr Jacob Teitelbaum developed chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and fibromyalgia (FM) in 1975 and since then has dedicated himself to creating an effective treatment for everyone. He is now an expert in treating these conditions with years of experience behind him, and the author of several books including From Fatigued To Fantastic! and Pain Free 1-2-3. In August 2011 he gave a talk on effective treatment for fatigue, pain, CFS and FM at the Royal Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases in Bath. His talk was very well received and below is a summary of all the main points he covered...

Dr Teitelbaum explained that the treatment of fibromyalgia was like when you get a flashing light on your car dashboard indicating that something is wrong, and you dutifully take your car to the garage to be put right. However, instead of the mechanic delving into the car engine to find out what is wrong he simply sticks a plaster over the flashing light and tells you the problem is sorted! In the same way, doctors treat the outward symptoms of fibromyalgia, disguising the pain and fatigue with medications, but fail to determine the underlying cause. They put a sticky plaster on and leave you to it!

The reasons that conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia are so poorly treated in Dr Teitelbaum's opinion are poor physician knowledge, the fact that 75% of those affected are women, there are no simple tests or treatment and standard laboratory tests are usually normal. In addition, it's simply not possible to treat these conditions within the average 5–8 minutes of a GP appointment and if they can't treat it many doctors simply believe it isn't a real condition.

Dr Teitelbaum believes that the cause of CFS and FM is a body-wide energy crisis that suppresses the hypothalamus (a gland found in the brain) which regulates sleep, hormone function, temperature, and autonomic function (blood pressure, pulse, bowel function etc). In other words, it makes you blow a fuse! Treatment needs to turn the hypothalamus back on to full working power, repairing the fuse and allowing the body to work properly. The reason you blew a fuse could have been sudden such as an infection, an injury or pregnancy, or it could have been a gradual onset due to hormonal or nutritional deficiencies, chronic stress, autoimmune illness or yeast overgrowth.

Treatment needs to focus on five specific areas:

Think ‘SHINE’

S              Sleep

H             Hormones

I               Infections

N             Nutrition

E              Exercise as able

Sleep

Dr Teitelbaum emphasised how critical it was to get 8–9 hours of deep sleep each night to allow the body to rest and repair and to eliminate pain and restore energy production. However, because of sleep centre malfunction and pain people with CFS/FM do not stay in the deep stages of sleep. His team have once again put together a formula to promote healthy sleep called Revitalising Sleep Formula which includes six different herbs:

  • Passion flower and wild lettuce-calm, induce and maintain sleep
  • Jamaican dogwood-promotes muscle relaxation
  • Valerian and Hops-shown in clinical studies to help people fall asleep and stay asleep
  • L-theanine-amino acid found in green tea that helps to create a relaxed feeling while inducing deep sleep.

It is recommended to take 1–4 caps as needed (1 hour before bedtime).

Other supplements that can help with sleep are calcium, magnesium, melatonin and 5 hydroxy-tryptophan (5-HTP). It's also important to remember to keep your bedroom cool and not to forget a good old-fashioned hot bath before going to bed and lavender aromatherapy.

 

Hormones

Dr Teitelbaum explained that hormone deficiencies are common despite normal blood tests, and even mild under-production of hormones can cause health problems such as feeling tired, craving sugar, having brain fog and being in pain. These deficiencies can be treated with natural hormones. One hormone that Dr Teitelbaum frequently treats is low thyroid hormone. The thyroid is the body's gas pedal and controls our metabolic rate. Symptoms of low thyroid include: fatigue, weight gain, joint and muscle pain, cold intolerance, poor memory and depression. He treats this deficiency with a prescription of thyroid hormone and nutritional support.

The other hormonal gland often affected is the adrenal gland which produces the stress hormones. If a person spends too much time in a state of high stress it can exhaust the adrenal gland and this exhaustion is actually quite common, but often not recognised by traditional medicine. Symptoms of adrenal exhaustion include: low blood pressure, crashing with stress, frequent infection, 'feed me NOW or I'll kill you!' and type II sugar addiction. Dr Teitelbaum treats adrenal stress with glandular adrenal extract containing supportive nutrients. Vitamins C and B5 are critical to support adrenal gland function.

 

Infections

The most important infections to treat in these conditions are yeast or fungal overgrowth, and signs that you may have these infections are sinusitis and spastic colon (irritable bowel syndrome). These infections can be treated with probiotics, a low sugar diet and antifungal medications. It's also important to look out for other infections like parasites or Lyme’s disease.

Nutrition

People with CFS and FM are often low in vitamins, essential minerals and some nutritional cofactors needed to optimise energy production. B vitamins in particular are often deficient contributing to symptoms of fatigue, mental fog and pain and Dr Teitelbaum recommends taking these vitamins in high doses. Magnesium is also critical for the relief of muscle pain and is vital for the function of over 300 enzyme systems. Nutritional cofactors like malic acid are important in optimising the function of the mitochondria which produce energy in each cell of your body. In addition, many sufferers lack glutathione, a potent antioxidant, which may be the key underlying cause of energy depletion. Certain amino acids such as glycine, cysteine and glutamic acid enhance the production of glutathione. Dr Teitelbaum and his team have put together a convenient drink mix containing over 50 key nutrients including vitamins and minerals, amino acids and nutritional cofactors to replace taking over 30 tablets! It is called the Energy with Revitalisation System Vitamin Powder and can be purchased from website: www.Vitality101.com

In addition, Dr Teitelbaum recommends increasing your water intake and decreasing your sugar intake, as well as considering a high protein-low carbohydrate diet. To improve energy production he also suggests: acetyl L-Carnitine 1000 mg/day, D-Ribose and coenzyme Q 10 200 mg/day. D-Ribose is a naturally occurring five-carbon sugar found in all living cells, but it does not exist in food. It is vital to energy production and one study involving 257 CFS/FM patients and 53 doctors showed an average improvement of 61% in energy levels and 30% improvement in mental clarity. It is taken in a powdered form and taste like sugar and the effects are usually seen by 3 weeks.

Addressing Pain

When your muscles run out of energy they can get stuck in a shortened, rigid position and start to hurt. You may have struggled with multiple side-effects from prescribed painkillers so here Dr Teitelbaum talked about herbal remedies that have been shown to be effective in treating pain. He focused on willow bark (the natural form of aspirin), boswelia (aka frankincense) and cherry. He reported that cherries have been shown to offer powerful pain relief in multiple studies when one or two tablets are taken three times a day as needed, and the effects continue to increase over 6 weeks. Willow bark has been shown to be effective in patients with severe chronic lower back pain and osteoarthritis of the hip and knee in randomised, placebo-controlled trials, and was shown to be about as effective as Vioxx, but much safer, in an open trial. Boswelia is very helpful in treating inflammation and pain without causing stomach ulcers and in a trial involving 30 osteoarthritis patients, pain fell by 90% after 8 weeks of treatment and there was a dramatic increase in function. Dr Teitelbaum includes a comprehensive look at pain remedies in his book Pain-Free 1-2-3.

Mind Body Connection

Dr Teitelbaum pointed out that all illnesses have a psychodynamic element including cancer and heart attacks. In FM and CFS patients often find that they had low self-esteem as a child, try to be all things to all people (approval), are simply not able to say no, our mega Type A overachievers and tend to take care of everyone except themselves. He suggests that counselling can be helpful but it's important to find the right to counsellor who you get along with and respect to work with you.

Clinical Research Trial

Dr Teitelbaum and his colleagues have carried out a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial involving 72 patients with CFS/FM to test whether his integrated treatment programme, treating all the areas described above, is more effective than placebo. He found that 91% of the treated patients experienced moderate to marked improvement in their symptoms, and a two-year follow-up showed that the patients continued to improve despite being able to be weaned off most of the treatments. Dr Teitelbaum is therefore confident in his claim that effective treatment is now available for CFS and FM.

Resources:

  • Free symptom analysis: there is a program at website www.Vitality101.com that can analyse your symptoms and any lab results available to determine the cause of each person's CFS/FM and tailor a detailed treatment protocol specifically for them.
  • All of Dr Teitelbaum's formulas and supplements are also available at www.Vitality101.com.
  • The books From Fatigued To Fantastic! and Pain Free 1-2-3 are available in the FMA UK online Shop.

By Kathy Longley

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