Friday, January 14, 2011

New Criteria for Diagnosing Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia may be under-diagnosed in both men and women because of the reliance on 11 tender points which is broad but ineffective approach for diagnosing fibromyalgia.
Consequently, fibromyalgia diagnosis in practice has often been a symptom-based diagnosis. The new criteria will standardize a symptom-based diagnosis so that all doctors are using the same process.

The tender point test is being replaced with a widespread pain index and a symptom severity scale. 

The widespread pain index score is determined by counting the number of areas on the body where the patient has felt pain in the last week. The checklist includes 19 specified areas.
The symptom severity score is determined by rating on a scale of zero to three, three being the most pervasive, the severity of three common symptoms: fatigue, waking unrefreshed and cognitive symptoms. An additional three points can be added to account for the extent of additional symptoms such as numbness, dizziness, nausea, irritable bowel syndrome or depression. The final score is between 0 and 12.

To meet the criteria for a diagnosis of fibromyalgia a patient would have seven or more pain areas and a symptom severity score of five or more; or three to six pain areas and a symptom severity score of nine or more.

Some criteria will remain unchanged. The symptoms must have been present for at least three months, and the patient does not have a disorder that would otherwise explain the pain.

You can read more about how I diagnose fibromyalgia by visiting my website

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Fibromyalgia Sufferers Don't Give Up!

Fibromyalgia takes it's toll on you. Traditional medicine alone is in effective and most doctors don't really know how to treat it. It takes on average 7 years and 12 doctors before ever getting the correct diagnosis of fibromyalgia. It is no wonder that those with fibromyalgia feel hopeless and contemplate giving up on daily basis. 

Don't give up! 

I just got off the phone with a lady in Canada who has been battling fibromyalgia for 20 years. She's numerous drugs, therapies, supplements, and diets-nothing has yielded long-term relief. After 3 weeks of following the sleep protocol in my Treating and Beating Fibromyalgia video series, she reports she feels better than she's felt in 20 years. Re-establishing deep restorative sleep is the key for reversing fibromyalgia. You can read about my sleep protocol for fibromyalgia on my website 

I encourage you to keep seeking out the right doctor, protocol, therapy, shaman, prayer circle-whatever works. Just don't give up!

Anyone can give up, it's the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that's true strength.
-- Author Unknown

I love this story, one I shared in Health Matters newsletter. Here it is again.

A little girl had been shopping with her Mom in Target. She must have been 6 years old, this beautiful red haired, freckle faced image of innocence. It was pouring outside. The kind of rain that gushes over the top of rain gutters, so much in a hurry to hit the earth it has no time to flow down the spout. We all stood there under the awning and just inside the door of the Target.
We waited, some patiently, others irritated because nature messed up their hurried day. I am always mesmerized by rainfall. I got lost in the sound and sight of the heavens washing away the dirt and dust of the world. Memories of running, splashing so carefree as a child came pouring in as a welcome reprieve from the worries of my day.
The little voice was so sweet as it broke the hypnotic trance we were all caught in, "Mom, let's run through the rain," she said. "What?" Mom asked.
"Let's run through the rain!" She repeated.
"No, honey. We'll wait until it slows down a bit," Mom replied.
This young child waited about another minute and repeated, "Mom, let's run through the rain."
"We'll get soaked if we do," Mom said.
"No, we won't, Mom. That's not what you said this morning," the young girl said as she tugged at her Mom's arm.
"This morning? When did I say we could run through the rain and not get wet?"
"Don't you remember? When you were talking to Daddy about his cancer, you said, 'If God can get us through this, he can get us through anything!'"
The entire crowd stopped dead silent. I swear you couldn't hear anything but the rain. We all stood silently. No one came or left in the next few minutes. Mom paused and thought for a moment about what she would say. Now some would laugh it off and scold her for being silly. Some might even ignore what was said. But this was a moment of affirmation in a young child's life. A time when innocent trust can be nurtured so that it will bloom into faith.
"Honey, you are absolutely right. Let's run through the rain. If God let's us get wet, well maybe we just needed washing," Mom said.
Then off they ran. We all stood watching, smiling and laughing as they darted past the cars and yes, through the puddles. They held their shopping bags over their heads just in case. They got soaked. But they were followed by a few who screamed and laughed like children all the way to their cars.
And yes, I did. I ran. I got wet. I needed washing.
Circumstances or people can take away your material possessions, they can take away your money, and they can take away your health. But no one can ever take away your precious memories... So, don't forget to make time and take opportunities to make memories everyday. To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven.
I hope you still take the time to run through the rain.
Author unknown

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Danger-These Drugs Are A Disaster For Your Health

These medications are usually used as sleep and anti-anxiety medication, they include Xanax (alprazolam), Klonopin (clonazepam), Ativan (lorazepam), Restoril (temazepam), BuSpar (buspirone hydrochloride), Tranxene (clorazepate dipotassium), Serax (oxazepam),
Librium (chlordiazepoxide), Tegretol (carbamazepine), Valium (diazepam), Trileptal (oxcarbazepine), Seroquel (quetiapine), Risperdal (risperidone), and Symbyax (olanzapine and fluoxetine HCl).

Benzodiazepines are addictive, and patients build up a tolerance so that the drugs eventually lose effectiveness as a sleep aid. Addiction may occur in as little as two weeks.

The big problem with these medications, though, are the side effects, many of which mirror the symptoms of fibromyalgia and CFS. And they don’t promote deep, restorative sleep, so they are definitely not worth the risk.

Benzodiazepines depress the central nervous system and act on the neurotransmitter GABA (gamma-amino butyric acid). GABA acts as a calming chemical as it transmits messages from one cell to another. So directly or indirectly, these drugs influence almost every brain function and most other bodily systems, including those of the nervous, neuromuscular, endocrine, and gastrointestinal systems. It’s no wonder their side effects are so severe.

Benzodiazepines should be weaned off, starting as soon as possible. Be sure to work with a medical doctor as you wean off, and take it slow to avoid terrible withdrawal symptoms.

Potential side effects of benzodiazepines: Poor sleep; seizures; mania; depression and suicidal thoughts; tinnitus (ringing in the ears); transient amnesia; dizziness; agitation; disorientation; low blood pressure; nausea or vomiting; fluid retention; muscular incoordination and tremors; sexual dysfunction; prolonged drowsiness or a trance-like state; fatigue; headaches; body aches and pains; chills; runny nose; cough; congestion; difficulty breathing; feelings of discouragement, sadness, or emptiness; diarrhea; difficulty swallowing; vision and voice changes; and a host of others.

The crippling side effects and addictive nature of these drugs have been known for at least 40 years, yet doctors continue to prescribe them at an ever-increasing rate, especially for seniors. Surveys show that over 5.6 million adults over the age of 65 are now taking benzodiazepines. A mouth-dropping 50% of all women 60 and older will be prescribed a benzodiazepine drug.

And since addiction often occurs within four weeks of starting these drugs, the majority of these folks are now dependent on them.

Tolerance to the hypnotic (sleep) effects of these drugs may occur within one week. Symptoms of tolerance are identical to drug-withdrawal symptoms and may include anxiety, panic, severe insomnia, muscle pain and stiffness, depression, suicidal thoughts, rage, heart and lung problems, and agoraphobia (extreme fear of public or crowded spaces).

Tragically, only 10%–30% of people are able to successfully stop taking these drugs. The rest are addicted for life.

Please avoid these drugs if possible. Seek out alternatives, preferably over the counter natural amino acid therapy (5HTP, SAMe, L-Theanine, etc.) when facing anxiety disorder. For sleep related issues try over the counter 5HTP and or melatonin. You can read more about mood and sleep disorders at

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Fish Oils Help Prevent and Reverse Depression

Fish Oils Help Prevent and Reverse Depression
Omega-3 fatty acids may help alleviate depression but only when a particular type of fatty acid called DHA is used in the right ratio with another fatty acid known as EPA, a new study suggests.
The researchers analyzed the results of some 15 previous controlled clinical trials on the use of omega-3s -- commonly found in oily fish or in fish oil supplements -- to treat depressed people.
They found that when used by itself, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) alone did not seem to offer any benefit. However, DHA combined with a rather high dose of EPA (eicosapentenoic acid) did improve depressive symptoms.

I recommend taking 2 grams of fish oil a day. If you experience an unpleasant aftertaste try freezing the fish oil capsules and the be sure to take with food.