by Miriam Figueroa
Fibromyalgia, once thought of as an invisible disease, is becoming increasingly more common. An estimated 5 million people, more than 80 percent of whom are women, suffer from the package of painful and debilitating symptoms known as fibromyalgia. These people often don’t look sick, and as a result they are often accused of fabricating their symptoms by family, friends and even physicians.
But anyone who suffers from fibromyalgia knows that the pain is all too real. It is a mysteriously debilitating condition that basically affects every part of the human body. The pain experienced is usually so severe that a person is at least partially incapacitated. The pain is described as throbbing, burning, shooting or stabbing, and it is often accompanied by extreme exhaustion.
Diagnosis and Symptoms
The American College of Rheumatology has published criteria for the diagnosis of fibromyalgia. During a physical examination there are 18 specific sites that are most often near where the muscle attaches to the bone. The physician will place pressure on each of these 18 hot spots, and if 11 or more cause the patient discomfort, the diagnosis is usually fibromyalgia.
Other symptoms include, but are not limited to, insomnia, irritable bowel syndrome, TMJ, memory and concentration difficulties, joint pain, sensitivity to lights, sounds and various foods. These symptoms not only affect the person with the condition, they also impact family and friends. Many friends and family members say the condition is so debilitating, it is as if their friend and loved one is all but gone; the sufferer is simply no longer able to function as a friend, spouse, sibling, etc.
The Mighty Immune System
It can be easy to forget the important role the immune system plays in keeping us well. Illness can easily take hold of the body with a compromised immune system. The conditions that cause a weakened immune system are cumulative, so while a person’s health can seem to deteriorate rapidly, it actually doesn’t happen overnight.
Many health-destroying conditions originate from the seemingly normal decisions we make multiple times a day, decisions about what we put (and don’t put) into our bodies, things like sugar-laden foods, caffeine, hydrogenated vegetable oils, antibiotics, low water intake, lack of fiber, alcohol and more. Stress is also a factor. When I coach people into wellness, I focus on diet and also on nourishing the system that keeps us well. Diet is important, no doubt, but so is rebuilding your immune system to prevent and slow the progression of disease.
Focusing on the Whole
In past articles I’ve stressed the connection between your immune system and your digestive system. They are very closely interconnected, and what impacts one impacts the other as well. Becoming fully well and healthy isn’t about correcting just one problem or issue; we must realize that each element of our physical being is part of a greater whole.
Even with something as debilitating as fibromyalgia, the condition can take a huge turn for the better in a relatively short period of time by focusing on dietary vices, eliminating immune suppressors and getting the digestive system back on the right track. I’ve seen it happen many times.
One sufferer in particular went from experiencing severe chronic pain to competing in a fitness competition after completing a 45-day program. The key is focusing on rebuilding the whole, not simply medicating the symptoms.
When you revitalize whole systems within your body, those systems can work together efficiently to give you the greatest health and energy possible. That’s what your immune system and your digestive system and your lymphatic system and so many more are all designed to do, to work efficiently together to give you the greatest health and vitality possible. Nourish them, support them, detox and rebuild them, and the chronic pain and package of symptoms known as fibromyalgia will melt away, giving way to strength, energy and vitality.
Miriam Figueroa, LMT, ET, is a holistic wellness coach and motivational speaker. She has helped thousands of people achieve health and wellness naturally. Figueroa owns Dynamic Detox, which has two San Antonio locations. To connect with Figueroa, visit www.dynamicdetoxqueen.com or call 210-549-4088.