Approximately 10 million Americans suffer from a condition known as fibromyalgia syndrome. This condition is characterized by widespread muscle pain, extreme fatigue and chronic non-restorative sleep disturbances for more than three months' duration. Although pain and inflammation are among the symptoms, they are not the cause of the disease. Therefore, treating the inflammation and pain of fibromyalgia with anti-inflammatory drugs, pain medication or even natural remedies is rarely effective.
There are four common traumas that can cause fibromyalgia. Most patients with fibromyalgia have experienced one of the following events 4 to 12 months before their symptoms appeared: (1) neck injuries or cervical spine trauma; (2) toxicity or chemically induced trauma; (3) acute or prolonged severe emotional stress; and (4) immune system trauma from unresolved viral or undiagnosed illness.
Although these traumatic events seem unrelated on the surface, each one can be the precipitating cause of two systemic problems present in almost every fibromylgia patient. The first effect is damage to the neuroendocrine system, resulting in adrenal exhaustion and hormonal imbalance. The second effect is the reduction of cellular energy in the mitochondria, which is the power-producing part of the cell. Recovery from fibromyalgia requires that all causative factors and the hormonal and cellular energy production problems be addressed and corrected.
Although this approach has been effective with all types of fibromyalgia, this article will address the evaluation and treatment of fibromyalgia caused by cervical spine trauma. Approximately 25 percent of patients with fibromyalgia report the onset of pain following a cervical trauma. The most common injuries result from motor vehicle accidents (whiplash), surgeries, trauma from falling down or injuries from lifting or moving heavy objects.
The symptoms associated with cervical truma-induced fibromyalgia include: neck pain; burning pain between the shoulder blades, shoulder, arm, hand, back, leg and foot: headaches; fatigue; weakness; sleep disturbance; depression; and digestive problems. Patients with this type of fibromyalgia complain of aching, burning, sharp, shooting and/or stabbing pain.
A new treatment called frequency specific microcurrent (FSM) offers hope to patients with fibromyalgia. A clinical trial of 160 patients with cervical trauma-induced fibromyalgia treated from 1999 and 2003 was conducted using FSM. On a subjective pain scale (1=no pain to 10=severe pain), these patients reported an average pain reduction from 7.3 to 1.3 after their initial treatment with FSM.
The treatment involved the use of 200 to 600 microamperes of direct electrical current to the spinal cord. Condition and tissue-specific frequencies are utilized to effectively reduce the inflammation in the spinal cord and restore normal nerve conduction. Most patients benefiting from this treatment were pain-free for the first time in years. The initial pain relief lasted five to 48 hours and was the start of recovery.
Follow-up FSM treatments were conducted twice a week and most patients required daily use of a home FSM unit to control the pain. The average number of treatments to remain pain-free was 10 treatments.
Recent studies have determined a biological mechanism for the result seen in patients. FSM treatment affected the serum levels of several biochemical constituents including IL-1, IL-6, TNF-a, Substance-P and LOX, which are inflammation/pain-related biological chemicals. All were significantly reduced when measured after the FSM treatment. There was also a dramatic increase in b-endorphin, a naturally-occurring chemical which helps reduce pain, and a 500 percent increase in ATP, the body's fuel storage molecule used in cellular energy production.
Dietary changes and nutritional supplements were combined with the FSM treatments to address other contributing factors, such as the endocrine and cellular energy weaknesses in all patients. Furthermore, depending on the individual needs of the patient, the following imbalances were corrected before a lasting recovery could be reached: neurotransmitter (serotonin and catecholamine) deficiencies, digestive problems, liver, adrenal, and thyroid dysfunction, soft tissue and joint problems, and unresolved mental/emotional issues.
Beyond alleviating the effects of fibromyalgia, FSM also has shown great promise in the successful treatment of athletic injuries, chronic or acute joint pain/stiffness, pain associated with gall stones and kidney stones, closed head injuries, shingles, post herpetic neuralgia, infections, diabetic ulcers, wound healing, and other conditions that are often unresponsive to conventional medical treatment.
William Nelson, NMD is a naturopathic medical doctor that specializes in the treatment of acute and chronic illnesses using a combination of natural medicine and the latest advances in medical science.