All in Your Head? Fibromyalgia as a Neurological Disorder

Once thought to be muscular in nature, Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) is a neurological disorder that involves the brain’s communication with the body’s pain receptors, via the spinal cord. Essentially, it is like the volume in the part of the brain that perceives pain is “turned up,” causing even mild stimulus, such as light touch, to register as painful. Fibromyalgia affects primarily women, ages 40-60, though some men, young adults, and teenage children may be affected as well. Characteristic symptoms include widespread pain and extreme sensitivity to touch, in addition to fatigue, disturbed sleep patterns, impaired memory and the ability to focus.

While the pain of osteoarthritis is due to the breakdown of cartilage around the joints and supporting muscle tissues, rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune disease characterized by stiffness and inflammation of muscles and joints. By contrast, the pain of Fibromyalgia comes and goes, often moves throughout the body, and is unrelated to inflammation or the wear and tear of age. It is for this reason that FMS patients gain little relief from traditional drug therapies.

In a study conducted by the Mayo Foundation for Education and Research, 39 FMS patients were interviewed with regard to their symptoms and corresponding 6-12 prescription medications. Ten years later, 29 of these patients were interviewed again. While 55% reported severe pain and stiffness, 48% reported disturbed sleep, and 59% reported persistent, extreme fatigue, an overwhelming 79% were still taking the same or similar medications as they were 10 years ago.

In addition to being ineffective, prescription medications may also deplete the body of essential nutrients—the ramifications of which may take years to manifest—as well as the sleep hormone melatonin, which further contributes to disrupted sleep patterns. In fact, the majority of prescribed medications come with side-effects that mimic the symptoms they are meant to relieve—fatigue, pain, brain fog—yet patients continue to take them because the alternative if giving up.

Or so they think. Here at Restorative Health Clinic, we are happy to offer another alternative: recovery! By approaching the condition from a holistic perspective that accounts for all aspects of the patient’s lifestyle—to include nutrition, supplementation, exercise, sleep, and work patterns—our naturopathic physicians lend the necessary support for patients to manage their symptoms and embark on the long journey back to health. Read next week for further information on specific therapies available to our patients, to include supplemental, injection, and intravenous therapies.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/fibromyalgia-maligned-misunderstood-and-finally-treatable/

https://www.rheumatology.org/Practice/Clinical/Patients/Diseases_And_Conditions/Fibromyalgia/

http://www.webmd.com/rheumatoid-arthritis/tc/comparing-rheumatoid-arthritis-and-osteoarthritis-topic-overview

http://thefibrodoctor.com/traditional-medicine-offers-little-for-fibromyalgia/

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Interesting Things

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Welcome to our site!

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Fighting Fibro-Fog with Exercise, Part Two

While the Center for Disease Control & Prevention recommends 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week for optimal cardiovascular health, in addition to twice weekly strength training sessions for bone and joint health, preliminary research suggests that as little as six minutes a day may improve the health of your brain.

In a study conducted at UC Irvine’s Center for the Neurology of Learning & Memory, researchers asked adults between the ages of 50 and 85 to ride a stationary bike for six minutes at 70-percent their maximum capacity. While biking, test subjects were shown a series of pleasant images, such as a family sitting down to supper, or a bee pollinating a flower. One hour later, they were asked to complete a surprise memory test. As predicted, recall was better in the biking group than in the sedentary control group, suggesting that even small bouts of cardiovascular exercise can enhance brain function.

Exercise works on the brain by triggering the release of norepinephrine, commonly referred to as the “mood hormone.” Norepinephrine is actually a powerful neurotransmitter that enhances mental alertness, improves memory, and increases energy, which in turn can relieve depression and various symptoms of fatigue. Given that many fatigue and fibromyalgia patients have weakened muscles from disuse, and often experience pain in the effort to move, it is best to begin slowly and progress gradually in your approach to exercise. For example, you might begin by performing 10-20 minutes’ of yoga, swimming, water aerobics, or light walking, and gradually increase to 30-45minutes, three to four times per week. Slow progression allows you to strengthen your muscles and supporting joints over time, thereby reducing the risk of injury.

Next time, we will take a closer look at fibromyalgia as a pain disorder, with a particular focus on how it differs from other disorders, such as rheumatism and osteoarthritis.

http://www.webmd.com/fibromyalgia/guide/fibromyalgia-and-fatigue
http://www.cfidsselfhelp.org/library/lifting-fog-treating-cognitive-problems

Fighting Fibro-Fog with Exercise

Here at Restorative Health Clinic, we treat many patients with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue-related symptoms, to include the experience of brain or “fibro-fog.” Commonly characterized by lapses in memory, confusion, difficulty concentrating, and disrupted speech patterns, a foggy brain can negatively impact the work, school, home-life, and general sense of wellness for patients battling fatigue. While Western medicine typically treats the fog with stimulants and instructions to minimize stress—ironically, as stimulants can increase stress—new research suggests that exercise can improve memory and sharpen the mind, particularly in the elderly and cognitively-impaired.

In a recent study conducted at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois, researchers tested exercise’s effects on the brain by dividing mice into four groups. While the first group was placed in an “enrichment” kennel containing cheese, fruits and nuts, tunnels, see-saws, colored balls and comfy beds, the second group was placed in an identical kennel, save for the addition of a running wheel. Similarly, while the third group’s kennel was empty, aside from water and plain kibble, the fourth kennel contained water, kibble, and the addition of a running wheel. Prior to placement, the rodents underwent a series of cognitive tests, and were injected with a serum able to tract brain activity. Tests were repeated after several months’ time in their respective environments, with surprising results. While the enrichment mice and the kibble-and-water mice showed little change in brain activity, rodents who ran on their wheels “had healthier brains and performed better on cognitive tests” than their sedentary counterparts. Researchers concluded that it was not the degree of available stimuli, but rather the practice of daily cardiovascular exercise—the only other variable—that was responsible for the difference in brain health.

How can running on a wheel make a mouse any smarter than nibbling fruit and napping all day? Have these results been replicated in studies with human test-subjects, and if so, how much exercise is necessary to improve the health of the human brain? These are just a few of the questions I’ll explore this week in the coming posts.

http://www.runnersworld.com/sports-psychology/how-running-keeps-your-brain-humming

We’re headed towards a ‘post-antibiotic era,’ WHO

The day is now upon us when we can no longer rely on our patented prescription medications for the majority of our health concerns. Many cases of Lyme and other tick-borne infections, for instance, require single-to-triple antibiotic protocols to control the infections, and even then, there are strains that resist antibiotics.

Solution:

Studying the real problem—which is not so much the bacteria, virus, parasite or fungus, but rather the reasons the immune system was compromised—helps turn the wheel considerably.

Natural Medicine’s Answer:

Adding a combination of natural antibiotics as the leading therapy, or in conjunction with prescription antibiotics, we are able to make progress in resolving the issue most of the time. Herbal antibiotics have multiple components and ingredients, making it difficult for infections to develop a resistance to them.

What the Future Holds:

Our understanding of the components of infectious conditions, our ability to counteract the disruptive effects of most infections, and the ability to kill a wide variety of infections, has increased. It is no longer as simple as taking a three-day course of Rx antibiotics; effective treatment requires a holistic approach that provides a complete picture of each patient’s lifestyle and corresponding health concerns.

Werner Vosloo ND MHom.
”The germ is nothing, terrain is everything.” – Claude Bernard (1813-1878)

 

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/world-health-organization-warns-headed-post-antibiotic-era/

Cordyceps – ancient fungus for modern health benefits

I’d like to share a few uses of Cordyceps sinensis, a valuable herbal medicine we use to help support improvement and recovery in cases of fatigue, lyme disease, chronic fatigue syndrome including chronic infections and fibromyalgia. I like the fact that this is a very well studied medicine, both in folkloric and scientific terms and is completely safe to use as medicine and food. .

Cordyceps sinensis mushrooms have stood the test of time as a “super-ginseng” for rejuvenation and stamina.

Studies and historic folkloric use support the following properties of Cordyceps:

Improves fatigue – in a study done on >2,000 elderly patients with fatigue, Cordyceps reduced fatigue, cold intolerance, dizziness, nighttime urination, tinnitus, sexual function and desire, memory loss. Athletes extensively use Cordyceps to improve stamina and enducrance, and is said to be used by Chinese athletes winning a surprising amount of gold medals from 1992 onward. Cordyceps increases athletic performance

Adrenal and Sexual function – balances glandular function and has a profound effect on the adrenals, increasing the amount of hormones produced by the adrenals. Cordyceps is valuable in the treatment of sexual dysfunction and male impotence.

Respiratory and kidney health – even though it takes about 5 weeks to act in asthma and continuous use is essential, Cordyceps affects the immune system and inflammation positively. Cordyceps protects the kidneys against toxic stubstances, and causes overall significant improvement in creatinine clearance, reduces BUN in patients with chronic renal failure.

Cardiovascular health – Want to lower bad LDL cholesterol and increase good HDL cholesterol? Cordyceps can cause up to a 10% improvement within two months time while opening coronary arteries and increasing blood flow to the heart muscle and brain.

 

In traditional eastern use, these mushrooms are always cooked in soups and stews, and from research it appears that hot water extracts is the best method to harvest the active ingredients [beta-glucan polysaccharide] as compared to alcohol extracts and mushroom powder. Cordyceps is really a food and is extremely safe to use for people of all ages.

 

 

Paleo Strawberry Shortcake: Vit C, Potassium, Folic Acid and Fiber!

Paleo Strawberry Shortcake: Vit C, Potassium, Folic Acid and Fiber!

Fresh summer strawberries are one of the most popular, refreshing and healthy treats on the planet. Wild strawberries have been popular since ancient times and were used for a wide variety of medicinal purposes such as alleviating inflammation, fever, kidney stones, bad breath, gout and more.

Recent research on the benefits of strawberries from MNT news:

“Bad cholesterol reduced by strawberry consumption, A team of volunteers ate half a kilo of strawberries a day for a month to see whether it altered their blood parameters in any way. At the end of this unusual treatment, their levels of bad cholesterol and triglycerides reduced significantly, according to the analyses conducted by Italian and Spanish scientists.” source www.mst.com

strawberry-shortcake

Paleo Strawberry Shortcake

Yield: 8-10 shortcakes

INGREDIENTS
  • 300 grams almond flour (about 3 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 13.5-ounce can full fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons honey, to taste
  • 2 limes, zested
  • 1 quart strawberries, sliced

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Shortcakes: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine almond flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and add eggs, 2 tablespoons honey and lime juice. Stir dough until well combined. Drop by large spoonfuls onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake until golden brown, 15-20 minutes. Cool completely on wire rack.
  2. Whipped cream: Open bottom of can of coconut milk and pour off liquid. Scoop coconut cream into bowl and beat with hand mixer until it is the consistency of whipped cream. Add vanilla and honey to taste, and beat until combined. Fold in zest of one lime. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  3. Assembly: Split the shortcakes and layer with sliced strawberries and whipped coconut cream. Garnish with remaining lime zest.
Sources:
Information: www.mnt.com
Recipe: www.cookeatpaleo.com
 
For more information please visit:
www.restorativehealthclinic.com
 

Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Treatment Shows Potential for Knee Osteoarthritis

 

Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy, once reserved for elite athletes, continues to gain popularity among the general public. Research

is also overwhelmingly positive in the treatment of numerous musculoskeletal complaints. The following article shows the potential

for PRP to improve knee osteoarthritis also known as degenerative joint disease. This is especially exciting because medical

treatment for osteoarthritis is mostly inadequate.  If you or someone you know is suffering from knee pain, or other joint pains,

PRP may be an effective treatment option for you. If you have any questions, you can contact me either via email or call the clinic.

Glen@RestorativeHealthClinic.com

Platelet-rich plasma (prp) treatment shows potential for knee osteoarthritis

Date: February 12, 2013

Source: Hospital for Special Surgery

Summary: A new study has shown that platelet-rich plasma (PRP) holds great promise for treating patients with knee osteoarthritis. The treatment improved pain and function, and in up to 73% of patients, appeared to delay the progression of osteoarthritis.

 A study by researchers from Hospital for Special Surgery has shown that platelet-rich plasma (PRP) holds great promise for treating patients with knee osteoarthritis. The treatment improved pain and function, and in up to 73% of patients, appeared to delay the progression of osteoarthritis, which is a progressive disease. The study appears online, ahead of print, in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine.

“This is a very positive study,” said Brian Halpern, M.D., chief of the Primary Care Sports Medicine Service at Hospital for Special Surgery, New York City, and lead author of the study.

Several treatments for osteoarthritis exist, including exercise, weight control, bracing, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, Tylenol, cortisone shots and viscosupplementation, a procedure that involves injecting a gel-like substance into the knee to supplement the natural lubricant in the joint. A new treatment that is being studied by a small number of doctors is PRP injections. PRP, which is produced from a patient’s own blood, delivers a high concentration of growth factors to arthritic cartilage that can potentially enhance healing.

“You take a person’s blood, you spin it down, you concentrate the platelets, and you inject a person’s knee with their own platelets in a concentrated form,” said Dr. Halpern. “This then activates growth factors and stem cells to help repair the tissue, if possible, calm osteoarthritic symptoms and decrease inflammation.”

In the new study, researchers at Hospital for Special Surgery enrolled patients with early osteoarthritis, gave them each an injection of PRP (6-mL), and then monitored them for one year. Fifteen patients underwent clinical assessments at baseline, one week, and one, three, six, and 12 months. At these time points, clinicians used validated tools to assess overall knee pain, stiffness and function, as well as a patient’s ability to perform various activities of daily living. At baseline and then one year after the PRP injection, physicians also evaluated the knee cartilage with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), something that has not previously been done by researchers in other PRP studies. The radiologists reading the MRIs did not know whether the examination was performed before or after the PRP treatment.

“The problem with a lot of the PRP studies is that most people have just used subjective outcome instruments, such as pain and function scores,” said Hollis Potter, M.D., chief of the Division of Magnetic Resonance Imaging at Hospital for Special Surgery, another author of the study. “But even when patients are blinded, they know there has been some treatment, so there is often some bias interjected into those types of studies. When you add MRI assessment, it shows you the status of the disease at that time, regardless of whether the patient is symptomatic or asymptomatic or they have good or poor function in the knee. You find out what the cartilage actually looks like. We can noninvasively assess the matrix or the building blocks of cartilage.”

While previous studies have shown that patients with osteoarthritis can lose roughly five percent of knee cartilage per year, the HSS investigators found that a large majority of patients in their study had no further cartilage loss. “The knee can be divided into three compartments, the medial compartment, the lateral compartment and the patellofemoral compartment,” said Dr. Halpern. “If we look at these compartments individually, which we did, in at least 73% of these cases, there was no progression of arthritis per compartment at one year. That is very significant, because longitudinal studies suggest a four to six percent progression of arthritis at one year.”

Treatment with PRP was also useful in improving pain, stiffness and function. The investigators found that pain, measured by a standard test called the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Arthritis Index, significantly improved with a reduction of 41.7% at six months and 55.9% at one year. On a pain scale commonly used by clinicians called the Visual Analog Scale, pain was reduced by 56.2% at six months and 58.9% at one year. Functional scores improved by 24.3% at one year. Activity of Daily Living Scores also showed a significant increase at both six months (46.8%) and one year (55.7%).

“We are entering into an era of biologic treatment, which is incredibly ideal, where you can use your own cells to try to help repair your other cells, rather than using a substance that is artificial,” Dr. Halpern said. “The downside is next to zero and the upside is huge.” Dr. Halpern pointed out, however, that the study is a small case series and PRP needs to be pitted against a traditionally treated group in a randomized, controlled trial.

Osteoarthritis, which causes pain and joint stiffness, impacts over 27 million Americans and is a leading cause of disability. According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, overall osteoarthritis affects 13.9% of adults aged 25 and older and 33.6% of those older than 65. The disease is characterized by degeneration of cartilage and its underlying bone within a joint as well as bony overgrowth. Disease onset is gradual and usually begins after the age of 40.

Other HSS investigators involved in the study include Salma Chaudhury, M.D., Ph.D, Scott Rodeo, M.D., Catherine Hayter, MBBS, Eric Bogner, M.D., and Joseph Nguyen, MPH.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Hospital for Special Surgery.Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. Brian Halpern, Salma Chaudhury, Scott A. Rodeo, Catherine Hayter, Eric Bogner, Hollis G. Potter, Joseph Nguyen. Clinical and MRI Outcomes After Platelet-Rich Plasma Treatment for Knee Osteoarthritis. Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, 2012; 1 DOI: 10.1097/JSM.0b013e31827c3846