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This term describes tender tissue, fatigue, muscle aches, and other vague symptoms that don’t fit into any other traditional medical diagnosis. It’s taught as a “diagnosis of exclusion,” meaning the doctor’s job is to exclude known illnesses first. If none are identified, you are left with Fibromyalgia. It means fibrous and muscle tissue pain.

Typically, treatment has included trying to regulate pain using antidepressants, anti-inflammatory pain medication, sedatives, muscle relaxers, off-label uses of older drugs, and most recently, nerve medications like Lyrica and Gabapentin. Even with these treatments, many people get minimal, if any, relief. Daily exercise, adequate hydration, and plenty of sleep have helped, despite worsening pain preventing many from exercising.

From an alternative medical view, there are many contributing causes to Fibromyalgia. These are a few common things we regularly find that contribute to symptoms we call Fibromyalgia. However, there are many more.

Vitamin & Mineral Deficiencies

Muscles and nerves depend on a constant supply of nutrients no longer in our food supply. Processed foods are mostly lacking these nutrients. It is estimated that even today’s organic food has one-quarter of the nutrition of the non-organic food of 80-100 years ago.

America has brought soil depletion to a new level. Almost no one can get enough nutrients without taking supplements. Common essential minerals are Magnesium, Zinc, and Selenium.

Inflammation

We usually have more bacteria in our colon than cells in our bodies. Due to antibiotics in our food supply and from doctors, these beneficial bacteria which should colonize our gastrointestinal tracts are deficient. Bacteria help with breaking down food, absorption, and feeding the cells lining our colon.

Also, up to 80% of our immune system resides in the colon. It is kept quiet by beneficial bacteria and nutrients. Many people get “leaky gut syndrome without these helpful bacteria,” leading to delayed reaction food sensitivities to common foods in our diet. This causes our immune system to rev up to fight invaders whenever we eat.

How many people complain of feeling gas, bloating, fatigue, heartburn, diarrhea, and other symptoms after eating? Many! Getting food sensitivity testing can find and eliminate some of these common causes of inflammation. Stool tests can also help to identify bacteria, a lack of digestive enzymes, yeast overgrowth, the presence of parasites, and more.

Hypothyroidism

Even borderline low thyroid can lead to significant symptoms. In medicine, we are taught to test the TSH to assess the thyroid. This is not always a complete answer.

T3 and T4 fractions of thyroid hormone can be tested in many ways. The available parts, called Free T3 and Free T4, are the best indications of hormone available to the tissues. If these are low, despite a normal TSH, natural thyroid hormone can replace both of these.

Also, frequent deficiencies like Iodine, Selenium, Zinc, and others contribute to low thyroid. Toxins to the thyroid include Fluoride, Chlorine, and Bromine. These are found in toothpaste, water, and baked goods in the U.S. They block essential Iodine, stopping the conversion of one thyroid hormone into the more helpful one.

These are just some of the symptoms that make up fibromyalgia. Each person is unique and has their own set of circumstances. Seeing a provider trained in Functional Medicine is a step towards non-traditional testing and treatment sometimes needed to help people with this and other conditions.

For more information on Functional Medicine, visit www.functionalmedicine.org to find a provider near you. To be seen by Dr. Gilmore for these and other conditions, contact The Maine Center for Functional Medicine in Bangor, Maine at (207) 941-0080.