Fibromyalgia is Complicated and so are its Causes

This is the 64 million dollar question. I wish I could answer it but fibromyalgia is complicated and so are its causes. However, I will say that I’m sure it’s connected to the evil quad that is causing so many people to be sick these days: antibiotic use, too much sugar in the diet, a sterile, nutrient-free, toxin overloaded food supply (thanks to agribusiness) and bad chemicals in all the plastics our foods are packaged in.

That said, here are things that have been mentioned as issues and causes: Epstein Barr virus, car accidents or other trauma, surgery, a disorder of the gut biome, hypothyroid, POTS. I can tell you my own disease progression: it started with IBS in my 20’s. I was working in ICU, a very intense, high-stress job.

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In my 30’s I got married and worked in a doctor’s office and my health improved. Then around 40, I was having muscle problems. I had bronchitis twice in 6 months, with 10-day courses of augmentin (a broad-spectrum antibiotic) each time. The muscle trouble worsened to the point I asked my Dr for a course of physical therapy.

I did the Wharton stretch method, which helped. I walked a lot and got about 90% of my health back. Then I started bleeding very heavily with my menses and had to have a hysterectomy at the age of 44. I got worse again. At 46 I was in a minor car accident, broadsided at a stoplight when I had the right of way.

I wasn’t cut, and I didn’t break any bones, but it put me into a fibromyalgia crisis, where all my muscles spasmed, and I had a nerve pinch down my left arm that lasted a month. I found a book at that time called Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction. As a result of reading it, I went to a physiatrist who diagnosed me with fibromyalgia and said, “ I can’t help you”.

That was devastating! I’d never heard of the disease, so I went straight to Barnes and Noble and bought a book, which said basically,” You hurt like hell, no one knows why, and learn to live with it” Over the years I’ve learned to get off sugar and gluten, but a little dark chocolate is ok.

Eat organics when possible, particularly meats, eat lots of raw veggies and a moderate amount of fruit. Keep exercising and stretching, but gently. Walking, Pilates and tai chi are good. Swimming is only good in a warmed saltwater pool. Take probiotics for your gut. Get your thyroid levels for both T3 and T4 checked.

Adrenal stress goes along with this disease. It can cause you to leach potassium which will make you feel exhausted and make your heartbeat irregularly. I supplement prescription-strength potassium daily. I also supplement magnesium malate, vitamin B12 SL, and Omega 3 fish oil, and I put flax oil in my fruit and veggie smoothies.

I tried Cymbalta, Prozac, Plavix at different times, and found them not to be helpful. My strict diet is what keeps the pain away. I’m usually at a level 2–3, which I can bear. In the beginning, it was at 5–7, which is hard to live with. I hope you figure out what helps you. Good luck!

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