The most distinctive feature of FMS, one that differentiates it from similar conditions, is the existence of certain tender spots eighteen specific spots where the muscles are abnormally tender to the touch. These points tend to cluster around the neck, shoulders, chest, knees, elbows region, and hips, and include the following:
There are over five million people known to be suffering from FMS in the United States. However, the real number of cases is probably much higher as this condition is often misdiagnosed. FMS manifests itself in similar ways to chronic fatigue syndrome, chemical sensitivities, and rheumatoid arthritis. As a result, it often takes a long time to get a proper diagnosis made. Most people with FMS also have associated sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, bruxism (grinding teeth), and sleep myoclonus (a sudden rapid contraction of muscle, or a group of muscles, during sleep or as one is falling asleep). Not surprisingly, people with FMS often suffer from chronic fatigue that can range of mild to incapacitating. Other disorders common to sufferers of FMS include:
FMS is much more common in females than in males and most often begins in young adulthood. In most cases, symptoms come on gradually and slowly increase in intensity. They can be triggered (or made worse) by a number of different factors, including over-exertion, stress, lack of exercise, anxiety, depression, lack of sleep, grief, trauma, extremes of temperature and/or humidity, and infectious illness. In the majority of cases, symptoms are severe enough to interfere with normal daily activities a significant number of people with FMS are actually disabled by the condition. Some cases clear up on their own, some become chronic, and some go through cycles of flare ups alternating with periods of apparent remission. The cause or causes of FMS is not known and there are no tests that can diagnose it with complete certainty. Some evidence points to a problem with the immune system; certain immunological abnormalities are common among people with FMS. Other possible causes that have been proposed include infection with Epstein-Barr virus (glandular fever), with the fungus Candida albicans, chronic mercury poisoning from amalgam dental fillings, anaemia, parasites, hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) and hypothyroidism (low thyroid function). Some experts believe that FMS may be related to chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), which causes similar symptoms, except that in FMS, muscle pain predominates over fatigue, whereas with CFS, fatigue predominates over pain. FMS has even been misdiagnosed as Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis. Because malabsorption problems are common in people with FMS, higher than normal doses of all supplemental nutrients are needed.
Eat a well balanced diet of 50% raw foods and fresh ‘live juices. The diet should consist of mainly of vegetables, fruits, whole gains (primarily millet and brown rice), raw nuts and seeds, soy products, skinless turkey or chicken, and oily fish. These quality foods supply nutrients that renew energy and build immunity.
Include pomegranates and pomegranate juice (some commercial makes have high sugar!) in your diet. They have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Eat four or five small meals daily to keep a study supply of protein and carbohydrates available for proper muscle function. If the body does not have enough fuel for energy, it will rob the muscles of essential nutrients, causing muscle wasting and pain.
Drink plenty of liquids to help flush out toxins. The best choices are bottled or filtered water and herbal teas. Fresh vegetable juices supply necessary vitamins and minerals.
Limit consumption of green peppers, aubergines, tomatoes and white potatoes (sweet potatoes are fine). These foods contain solanine which interferes with the enzymes in the muscles, and may cause pain an discomfort.
Do not eat red meat, dairy products, or any other foods that are high in saturated fats. Saturated fats raise cholesterol levels and interfere with circulation, as well as promoting inflammation and increasing pain. Also avoid fried foods, processed foods, shellfish, dairy foods, and white flour products such as bread and pasta.
Do not consume any caffeine, alcohol, or sugar. Eating sugar in any form (including fructose and honey) promotes fatigue, increases pain, and disturbs sleep. If these substances have been a regular part of the diet, symptoms may actually get worse for a short period as a result of the withdrawal effect, but after that, a noticeable improvement in the condition should be experienced.
Avoid wheat and brewers yeast until symptoms improve.
Maintain a programme of moderate exercise. A daily walk followed by some gentle stretching is good. Start slowly and be careful not to overdo it as this can aggravate symptoms. Keep in mind that what is needed is some amount of daily exercise not a strenuous workout two or three times a week. Once the body is accustomed to regular exercise, symptoms are likely to improve. Moderate exercise and stretching help to keep muscles flexible and prevent joints from stiffening up.
Be sure to give the body sufficient rest. Set aside at least eight hours for sleep each night.
Take a hot shower or bath on rising to stimulate circulation and help relieve morning stiffness. Or alternate between hot water and cold water recent studies have shown cold showers to be beneficial for relieving the pain of fibromyalgia. Hot baths help relax the muscles.
Consider trying massage therapy, which can help to relax muscles and reduce joint stiffness.
Acidophilus candida infection is common in people with FMS. Acidophilus probiotics replace friendly bacteria destroyed by candida (use a non-dairy formula)
Co-enzyme Q10 (75mg daily) improves oxygenation of tissues, enhances the effectiveness of the immune system, and protects the heart. Co-enzyme-A works the co-enzyme Q10 to increase energy supply to the cells.
Malic acid and magnesium involved in energy production in many cells of the body, including muscle cells, needed for sugar metabolism.
Manganese (5mg daily take separately from calcium) influences the metabolic rate by its involvement in the pituitary/hypothalamic/thyroid axis.
Vitamin C (5-10g daily) has a powerful anti-viral effect and increases the bodys energy level. Use a buffered form.
Antioxidant complex (with 25,000iu of vitamin A) powerful free radical scavenger that protects the bodys cells and enhances immune function. Use an emulsified form for easier assimilation.
5HTP (5-hydroxy triptophan 50mg daily for 1 week then increase to 100mg daily) enhances synthesis of serotonin in the brain. Excellent for pain relief. (Caution: do not use if you take an MAO inhibitor, commonly prescribed for depression).
Garlic (2 capsules 3 times daily) promotes immune function and increases energy. Also destroys common parasites, improves digestion and cleanses the blood.
Digestive enzymes reduces inflammation and improves absorption of foods, especially protein, which is needed for tissue repair.
Multi vitamin and mineral with good levels of B vitamins all nutrients are necessary in balance.
Chromium (200-400mcg daily) to help balance blood sugar levels and aid in preventing night sweats.
Essential fatty acids (1g 3 times daily) protects against cell damage, helps to reduce pain and inflammation, helps to reduce fatigue.
Astralagus and Echinacea enhance immune function.
Milk thistle protects and enhances liver function.
Gingko biloba improves circulation and brain function.
Teas brewed from burdock root, dandelion, and red clover promote healing by cleansing the bloodstream and enhancing immune function. Combine or alternate these herbal teas and drink 4 to 6 cups daily.