Thursday, December 17, 2009

Fibromyalgia and Thyroid Problems

Fibromyalgia is a form of generalized muscular pain and fatigue that affects approximately 3.7 million Americans. The name, Fibromyalgia, means pain in the muscles and the fibrous connective tissues (the ligaments and tendons). Fibromyalgia lacks laboratory abnormalities; instead, the diagnosis depends mostly on a person’s report or complaints and feelings. Pain is the most prominent symptom of Fibromyalgia. It generally occurs throughout the body although it may start in one region, such as the neck and shoulders, and spread to other areas over a period of time.

Most people with Fibromyalgia experience moderate or severe fatigue with a lack of energy, decreased exercise endurance, or the kind of exhaustion that results from the flu or lack of sleep. Sometimes the fatigue is more of a problem that the pain. Headaches, especially muscular (tension headaches) and migraine headaches, are common in Fibromyalgia. Abdominal pain, bloating, alternating constipation, bladder spasms, and irritability may cause urinary urgency or frequency. Your skin and blood circulation can be sensitive to temperature changes, resulting in temporary changes in skin color.

Fibromyalgia is a very complex network of neurological, immune system, hormonal, and inflammatory issues. In a previous issue I discussed the neurological component of Fibromyalgia. In this edition I would like to explore the thyroid’s relationship and its influence as an underlying factor in many cases of fibromyalgia.

There is a considerable amount of scientific evidence that suggest FMS is a condition of abnormally slow metabolism. The clinical features of Fibromyalgia and hypothyroidism are very similar. A number of studies verify that hypothyroidism is the most common underlying disorder. The incidence of hypothyroidism may be as high 5x greater than in the general population.

Symptoms of Low Thyroid Function
· fatigue
· weight gain
· hair loss
· constipation
· low libido
· cold hands and feet
· depression
· insomnia
· heart palpitations
Clearly, the thyroid must be investigated and managed appropriately when dealing with the fibromyalgia patient. Unfortunately, most of the patients I see taking thyroid replacement hormone still are suffering from many of the symptoms of low thyroid function. In his new book “Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms When My Lab Test Are Normal?” Dr. Datis Kharrazian explains why. This book is highly recommended for anyone suffering from hypothyroidism (or believes that they may be) and the doctors who care for them. There are six basic patterns of thyroid dysfunction identified and only one will respond favorably to hormone replacement therapy (and not all of these). A complete thyroid panel (i.e. more than TSH and T4) is necessary to determine the mechanism of thyroid dysfunction and the appropriate intervention. In our office, we use specific all natural protocols based on Dr. Kharrazian’s seminars and book with great success.

The successful treatment of fibromyalgia requires a comprehensive multi faceted approach that looks at ALL the causes and contributing factors. In our office, we incorporate neurologically based therapies, diet, lifestyle, stress management and appropriate supplementation based on specific lab testing to help many chronic conditions.

To discover whether this approach may be right for you please call our office at (814)238-0232 to schedule a comprehensive Case Review.