Fibromyalgia is one of the most common chronic pain conditions. It affects as many as 2-13% of the population. Shockingly, 80-90% of these people are women!
Symptoms of Fibromyalgia can include:
- Sleep disturbance
- Irritable bowel symptoms
- Hormone imbalances
Challenges to Diagnosis
A Fibromyalgia diagnosis is “clinical.” In other words, there is no real lab test to confirm it. The doctor and patient must rely on the time-honored cornerstone of the doctor-patient relationship: the physical exam and history. The finding of tender points on the body that create ongoing significant pain, as well as a hyper-responsiveness to what should be non-painful stimuli, help rule in the diagnosis. These diagnoses are challenging in modern, managed-care settings, where the physical exam is often short-changed during the 20-minute appointment.
A Struggle That Goes beyond the Physical
A Fibromyalgia diagnosis can be terrifying: like an abyss you fall into. While you’re physically not at your best it’s hard to know how and where to begin to get better.
We’ve sat with countless patients that worry that it is a “throw-away diagnosis” and feel shame or failure that they’ve received it. These feelings are amplified by the limited nature and results of the typical treatment plans. To make matters worse, we find that many people who live with Fibromyalgia are also high-achieving perfectionists. The strong desire to “fix this” and “do it as fast as possible” paradoxically creates more pain and suffering in the short term.
Better Treatment Options
If you were given a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia, you were probably offered antidepressants, pain medications, physical therapy, and psychological support. We celebrate when this works for patients! But occasionally, it’s not enough, has no effect, or has unwanted side effects.
Our goal at DCIM is to work with women who wish to pursue an alternative approach or complementary approach to their conventional treatment plan.
How We Think of Fibromyalgia at DCIM
At DCIM, we understand Fibromyalgia conceptually as a condition where the stress axis is attenuated (or hyperactive!) with negative consequences for your body. Sleep is fundamentally NOT restorative. The combination of these forces drives further imbalances in the gut, thyroid, and immune system.
Our approach, therefore, includes:
- Support of restorative sleep, preferably through the use of nonprescription options
- Optimization of hormones (adrenal, and sex hormones)
- Treatment of gastrointestinal infections and leaky gut
- Identification of food sensitivities and enhancement of nutrient density
- Graded exercise and appropriate manual therapies
- Mind-body practices: meditation, craniosacral, yoga
Let us pull you out of the abyss. We can be a partner in helping you navigate the physical and emotional toll that Fibromyalgia can take. We can help you find the YOU that you know.