Per the Center of Disease Control “Fibromyalgia is a disorder of unknown etiology (cause) characterized by widespread pain, abnormal pain processing, sleep disturbance, fatigue and often psychological distress. People with fibromyalgia may also have other symptoms; such as:
· Morning stiffness
· Tingling or numbness in hands and feet
· Headaches, including migraines
· Irritable bowel syndrome
· Problems with thinking and memory (sometimes called “fibro fog”)
· Painful menstrual periods and other pain syndromes”
(Additional research shows insomnia to be a symptom.)
“The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) 1990 criteria are used for clinical diagnosis classification. Diagnosis is based on the presence of widespread pain (at least 3 months duration) and tenderness on 11 of 18 pressure points.
May often co-occur (up to 25-65%) with other rheumatic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and ankylosing spondylitis (AS).
The prevalence of fibromyalgia is about 2%, affecting an estimated 5.0 million adults in 2005. Prevalence was much higher among women than men (3.4% versus 0.5%).
Most people with fibromysialgia are women (Female: Male ratio 7:1). However, men and children also can have the disorder.
Most people are diagnosed during middle age and prevalence increases with age.”
Though there is so much debate on whether Fibromyalgia is a real condition, even by medical doctors and specialists, there is no debate that the symptoms exist. Fibromyalgia patients suffer from mild discomfort to debilitating symptoms. My concern is whether people are being properly diagnosed and treated. Fibromyalgia symptoms often overlap other, possibly serious, conditions, left untreated can lead to complications and even death. Many doctors are prescribing sleeping pills, antidepressants and too frequent Cortisone injections rather than exploring other options and additional testing. Lyrica is the newest phase of Big Pharma pushing an existing drug used for epilepsy onto Fibromyalgia and Restless Leg Syndrome patients. Placing their claims aside it is reported that patients are not pleased with the side effects. (See “Lyrica” below for specifics).
Cortisone (also known as Corticosteroids hormones, such as Prednisone).
Corticosteroids: Side Effects and Adverse Reactions
The potent effect of corticosteroids can result in serious side effects which mimic Cushing’s disease (occurs when your body produces too much of the hormone cortisol), a malfunction of the adrenal glands resulting in an overproduction of cortisol. The list of potential side effects is long and includes:
· increased appetite and weight gain
· deposits of fat in chest, face, upper back, and stomach
· water and salt retention leading to swelling and edema
· high blood pressure
· black and blue marks
· slowed healing of wounds
· muscle weakness
· thinning of the skin
· increased susceptibility to infection
· stomach ulcers
· increased sweating
· mood swings
· psychological problems such as depression
· adrenal suppression and crisis
One patient was receiving several Cortisone injections in the same pressure point to her Rheumatologist, “I thought that you aren’t supposed to get more than 3 shots in a one year period? Doctor, “Oh, that’s what the books teach us, but it will be fine.
In summary, know before you go! Do your research prior to deciding upon a treatment.
Per The Commission on Human Rights, “The FDA arrived at their conclusions to put a “black box” warning on antidepressants based on an analysis of studies that included a “control group” who were given a placebo (or false) “treatment.” This is because scores of studies show that a large percentage of persons who “think” they are receiving treatment, but are actually given a placebo, such as a sugar pill, often get better. Studies in the FDA’s database demonstrated that there were significantly lower rates of suicide and suicidal acts on placebo compared to an SSRI antidepressant.” (See www.cchr.org/media/pdfs/suicide_risk.pdf for full details).
Other side effects of various antidepressants include:
agitation, Akathisia (severe restlessness), anxiety, bizarre dreams, confusion, delusions, emotional numbing, hallucinations, headache, heart attacks, hostility, hypomania (abnormal excitement), impotence, insomnia, loss of appetite, mania, memory lapses, nausea, panic attacks, paranoia, psychotic episodes, restlessness, seizures, sexual dysfunction, suicidal thoughts or behavior, violent behavior, weight loss, withdrawal symptoms include deeper depression.
“March 14, 2007: The FDA announced that all sleeping pills (also known as “sedative-hypnotic products”), including Ambien and Lunesta, can cause the dangerous side effect of “sleep-driving,” which is driving while not fully awake and having no memory of doing so, and may also cause life-threatening allergic reactions.”
One patient was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, but after two years of going from doctor to doctor she was finally diagnosed with hyperthyroidism (an over active thyroid gland).
Common misdiagnosis may include, but are not limited to:
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Thyroid Disorders (Hypothyroidism or Hyperthyroidism)
Fibromyalgia Patient Feedback
Side Effects: “peeling of nails and skin around nails. Hair loss. vertigo. The first time taking Lyrica my headpain and fibromyalgia pain immediately went away. It was like a miracle. However, after 2 months my headpain came back and this time It seems to be causing a sinus headache & migraine. So,I’m going off of this drug!!!! The side effects are not worth it.”
Comment, “This drug hasn’t helped my pain or fatigue at all.”
Side Effects, “blurred vision, speech problems – can’t find/complete words, difficulty making decisions, feel like an elephant is on my chest, difficulty breathing, heart labors, extreme fatigue, balance problems.”
Side Effects, “I was taking 50 mg 3x day for 4 months. Developed SEVERE blurred vision to the point of being difficult to work. Seen Ophthalmologist, vision 150% worse than 1 yr ago. Hair loss.”
Side Effects, “hungry all the time, weight gain, blurry vision, memory loss, unable to concentrate to the point of stopping mid-sentence because I forgot what I was saying, TROUBLE SWALLOWING, stumble when walking sometimes, unable to “fully” enjoy sex to completion although excited, extreme inability to concentrate, losing toenails, although can’t concentrate, at “height” of dose, I want to talk all the time.”
Side Effects, “Excessive water retention, uncontrollable desire for pure sugar, very foggy – felt like like a bloated human
zombie – pain was controlled for two days and came back 100%.”
Side Effects, “had urine retention after taking it a few times and had to go to the emergency room to get a catheter in. It got better soon after taking it…”
Side Effects, “Gained 15 lbs. immediately, feet swelled, hands swelled, lost hair, toenails started to come off, fingernails are coming off, the white part is growing back halfway down the nailbed, my hands are so weak I can’t even open jars anymore, I can’t bend the fingers on my right hand. My eyesight is really bad, I went from having to wear my glasses occassionally to wearing them all of the time, I can’t even see in the mirror to put my makeup on. Staggering,loss of concentration, difficulty driving….. the list goes on and on. After 6 months terrible depression.
Fibromyalgia Alternative Solutions
– Aerobic exercises
– Hot Baths
– Physical Therapy
– Sleeping More aided by Calcium Magnesium (powdered formula dissolved in boiling water – also called CalMag or CalMax) which is also known to help aching muscles
– Prolotherapy Injections (usually dextrose and glycerin injections) (Not to be confused with Trigger Point Injections using steroids)
For full details about Prolotheray click here
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