Fibromyalgia: A Syndrome not a Disease

Fibromyalgia: A Syndrome not a Disease

© 2006 Wellness Clubs of

“I have fibromyalgia. What do you recommend?” I’m asked that question with increasing frequency. The number of people who have been told that they have the syndrome is quite astounding. The National Fibromyalgia Research Association estimates that 6 million people in the United States have signs and symptoms consistent with what is called fibromyalgia or fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS). It’s hard to believe that the word didn’t even exist twenty-five years ago.

Any discussion of FMS must begin by defining what the term means. The term “fibromyalgia” as a medical diagnosis refers to the presence of muscular pain on both sides of the body, above and below the waist, for at least three months along with pain in at least 11 of 18 potential “trigger points” when pressure is applied to them. People who are diagnosed as having FMS also commonly complain of fatigue, insomnia, joint pains, headaches, restless legs, numbness, tingling, poor memory, difficulty concentrating, nervousness, depression, and leg cramps.

Most of the people who ask what I recommend for FMS are asking for a way to cut the wire that will make the warning light go out – something to take away the pain. They are looking for the elusive drug or supplement that will magically make their symptoms disappear. It is fairly easy to find articles by individuals who claim to have discovered a medication or nutritional supplement that is the answer to the riddle of FMS, but, in my experience, such claims fall short of their promise of restoring health to many who are suffering.

This does not mean that there is no hope for people suffering from FMS. On the contrary, I approach the challenge with a great deal of optimism for I know that wellness can be restored when the factors that are causing the body to react in this way are identified and addressed.

I believe that toxicity is one of the chief causes of FMS. FMS and Gulf War Syndrome, which is almost certainly related to exposure to toxic chemicals, have many features in common. Evidence is mounting that supports the observation that muscles are able to relax and function normally as toxicity is reduced.

If detoxification is to be successful, it must begin with the cleansing and renewal of the spirit. A spirit that is broken, bitter, or otherwise out of harmony with God and other people will inevitably result in physical illness.

A mind that is toxic with resentment, gossip, and the cares of the world will inevitably cause the body to become acidic leading to muscle tension and disease. I know of no food, supplement, or medication that will effectively counter the acidity triggered by negative thoughts.

Japanese researcher, Masaru Emoto, has provided vivid illustrations of how words and music affect the structure of water. Given the fact that our bodies are composed primarily of water changes in the structure of water should have significant effects on health and vitality.

Pictures from Dr. Emoto’s book, The Message From Water, may be viewed on the Internet at His photographs show a well-organized crystalline structure in water exposed to the music of Bach and the words “Thank You” while a totally disorganized pattern in water exposed to heavy metal music and the words “You Make Me Sick!” Given the fact that the human body is over 70 % water Dr. Emoto’s work has tremendous implications. It is no longer difficult to understand how toxic spiritual, mental and emotional messages diminish wellness and promote physical pain.

When exposure to toxic spiritual, mental and emotion messages is reduced body acidity can be reversed and an alkaline environment conducive to muscle relaxation restored. Other steps to achieving alkalinity are outlined in the Ask Dr. Dale segment of this newsletter.

Chemicals found in the foods and beverages we consume and the personal care items and cleaning supplies that come into contact with our skin also contribute to toxicity. A key to identifying safe products is to avoid foods whose labels have ingredients that are difficult to pronounce, personal care items containing unnecessary dyes, chemicals and fragrances, and cleaning supplies that carry precautionary statements that advice against breathing the vapors or allowing the solution to come into contact with skin or clothing.

Observing that the rise in the incidence of fibromyalgia closely paralleled the switch from glass beverage bottles to aluminum cans I have long recommended that individuals avoid aluminum exposure to as great an extent as possible.

In October, 2000, researchers at the University of Tennessee reported a significant difference in response to aluminum, lead and platinum in fibromyalgia patients as opposed to other individuals. I do not believe that it is prudent to continue to drink from aluminum cans, cook in aluminum pans, use aluminum foil to store foods, use aluminum based deodorants or antacids, or cook with baking powder that contains aluminum.

It is also wise to become a label reader. If food package ingredients are difficult to pronounce the item should be placed back on the shelf and not into the body.

Fasting, drinking optimum quantities of micro-clustered water, providing the body with a complete balance of minerals, promoting sweating, encouraging regular bowel movements, and taking vitamin or herbal detoxification formulas can all encourage and facilitate the cleansing process.

Following detoxification I have found that a regimen of drinking optimum quantities of purified water, eating a plant-based diet low in saturated fat, chemical additives, and refined sugars and flours, and supplementing minerals, green plants, and systemic enzymes to be the most effective regimen for reversing FMS. Calcium, magnesium, manganese, and zinc are some of the major minerals needed, but all trace minerals should be provided.

Since the symptoms of fibromyalgia commonly accompany those of chronic fatigue syndrome low grade viral infections may play a role in some instances. Immune supports such as beta glucan or colostrum should be added when fatigue is present.

Sleeping or working in an area low in electromagnetic energy is another factor that predisposes an individual to FMS. This phenomenon was addressed in my article on Geobiology.  (Since this article was originally published electromagnetic challenges have become an even greater factor in fibromyalgia.  Today our bodies are being bombarded with waves from over 1,100 satelites, WiFi networks, the microwaves lookilng for all of the cell phones in the world, and other sources.  EMF protective devices now play a critical role in reversing fibromyalgia.)

It is clear that a subset of individuals who experience the pain of fibromyalgia have a condition called spinal stenosis, which is a narrowing of the canal that contains the spinal cord. Spinal stenosis is a very difficult challenge with limited treatment options. It should be considered a possibility whenever someone has persistent symptoms despite instituting measures that usually result in improvement or resolution or FMS.

While I do not believe that they reflect the root cause, several body chemicals have been observed to be present at abnormal levels in FMS. Correcting these abnormalities can often result in improvement.

Individuals with FMS have a level of substance P in their spinal fluid that is three times that of the general population. Substance P is a chemical that transmits pain messages. It is also associated with abnormal blood flow in body tissues. Topical application of capsaicin, which is believed to deplete substance P from an area, can be helpful in breaking the pain cycle, but should not be viewed as addressing the root problem that is causing the pain. Herbs such as capsicum (cayenne) that support circulation may help counter some of the effects of substance P.

Dr. Peter Rowe, a pediatric cardiologist at Johns Hopkins University, has reported that approximately 30 % of people with FMS have low blood pressure. Increasing salt intake can bring dramatic improvement in these individuals.

In many instances growth hormone levels in FMS are significantly lower than would normally be expected. Formulations are available that support the body’s ability to release growth hormone during sleep or intense exercise when taken at bedtime or before a workout. These supplements often bring added improvement when added to the standard regimen.

Neurotransmitters, or brain chemicals involved in sending messages, are often low in FMS. While antidepressant medications have often been prescribed in an attempt to address this problem, I have found that supplementing vitamins and minerals, essential fatty acids in the form of flax or fish oils, and adding 5-hydroxytryptophan is much more effective and is not associated with the adverse effects common to the prescription drugs.

Cortisol levels are low in some, suggesting that adrenal fatigue plays a role in triggering or maintaining the symptoms. Adrenal support formulas that commonly contain vitamin B-5 (pantothenic acid) in combination with other vitamins or adrenal extract are helpful in addressing this condition.

Dr. R. Paul St. Armand, working on the theory that uric acid, the same substance that causes gout when it settles in joints, is responsible for triggering the muscular symptoms, has been treating FMS patients with an expectorant, guaifenesin that stimulates the excretion of uric acid in the urine. He has found that 20 percent will respond to a dose of 300 mg. twice daily and that up to 90 percent respond at a total of 1800 mg. daily or less. He has documented regression at the rate of 1 year for every 2 months of treatment, meaning that if an individual has been experiencing symptoms for 2 years, 4 months of treatment would be required for complete resolution. Treatment with guiafenesin often causes an initial rise in symptom intensity, which resolves with continued administration of the drug.

February 2009:  Since this article was originally written I have learned that an energetic technique that corrects the manner in which the body handles calcium is quite successful in relieving fibromyalgia.  Incorporating it into my practice has been a significant step in helping people reverse the syndrome.  For more information see my article Talking to the Body.

The approaches above offer hope to individuals dealing with fibromyalgia. While no one is likely to respond to all of them, nearly everyone will respond to some of them. As with any health challenge, the goal should be to identify and address the root causes of the symptoms in each individual. When this is accomplished, renewed lives, free of muscular pain and tenderness, can emerge from the shadows of FMS.

Receive the latest Wellness Updates and News.  Subscribe now at