The Truth About Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & Lyme Disease
Fibromyalgia is a syndrome that is composed of many different symptoms. The primary symptom is pain and tenderness in multiple areas of the body. This is often linked to fatigue, sleep disorders, digestive problems, and depression. Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are considered to be overlapping disorders which many consider to actually be the same illness. Dr.Khan has developed an aromatherapy formula called Fibromyalgesic and an herbal formula called FibroTea for these conditions. Many people consider these conditions to be psychosomatic in origin because people suffering from these conditions can look healthy and normal from the outside, and yet complain of so many different symptoms. These symptoms can include mental symptoms such as brain fog, forgetfulness, spaciness, depression, moodswings, anger, and extremes in behavior. Unfortunately, as a result many people with this disease are viewed with skepticism by medical practitioners and lay people alike and are often branded as hypochondriacs.Another view of CFS and fibromyalgia is that the conditions are auto-immune diseases which are triggered by an infection. Most doctors take the view that Epstein-Barr virus, which is the virus that causes mononucleosis, is the primary culprit. This is rather doubtful, in my opinion, since most of the population is exposed to this virus early on in life without this virus triggering any serious long-term complications. Then there is a new theory emerging among doctors who have used long-term antibiotic therapy to treat these conditions that fibromyalgia and CFS are not simply auto-immune diseases that are triggered by infections, but that the symptoms are signs of a chronic ongoing infectious disease process in the body. These doctors claim to have had excellent results in the treatment of these syndromes using long-term antibiotics, often in very high dosages. They have also had very good results with treating other so called “auto-immune diseases” with long term antibiotic therapy. Often, patients suffering from fibromyalgia, CFS, and other diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis experience complete remissions after a long course of antibiotics.The positive results that these patients are experiencing implies that many auto-immune diseases may actually be chronic undiagnosed bacterial infections. There are a number of pathogens that are not easily detected in the body through standard diagnostic procedures and that are not easily killed off through a short course of treatment. These pathogens may be involved in fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. There is a new theory that chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia may be related to chronic mycobacterial infections.It is also possible that many of these people actually suffer from Lyme Disease which has never been diagnosed due to the lack of proper testing. Lyme Disease is the fastest growing infectious disease in this country next to AIDS. Cases have been found in all of the lower forty-eight states. Lyme Disease is cause by a spirochetal bacteria called borellia burgdorferi. Borellia burgdorferi is a very resilient and adaptable organism. Doctors with clinical experience in the treatment of this disease have noted that certain antibiotics work for certain forms that the bacteria can take, but not for others. The spirochete can take a cyst form where most antibiotics cannot reach it. It also hides in the joints of the body, in areas of poor circulation, and it may hide within the cells of the immune system. The Center for Disease Control estimates that only one in ten Lyme Disease patients are ever properly diagnosed. The CDC also estimates that it takes an average of thirteen doctors and an average of two years for these people to be properly diagnosed. By the time the diagnosis is made, the disease can be quite entrenched in the body. There are also often many co-infections in Lyme Disease patients that may cause a host of other complications. Nevertheless, since the disease and its associated co-infections are caused by bacterial organisms, and these organisms can be killed, there is hope for recovery. Lyme Disease can cause all of the many symptoms that people with fibromyalgia and CFS suffer from. It can cause achy muscles and joints, depression, fatigue, migraine headaches, tingling nerve sensations, insomnia, sleepiness, digestive problems, poor circulation, blurry vision, hearing irregularities, mental problems, weak limbs, pain in the rib cage, liver enzyme irregularities, hypothyroidism, an increased tendency for red blood cells to clump together, swollen lymph nodes, and much more. The irregularities in liver function may be responsible for the chemical sensitivities that many people with fibromyalgia and CFS experience. Because the organism that causes the disease is often not in the bloodstream, it is difficult to diagnose the disease through testing. Doctors who are familiar with the disease tend to base their diagnosis mainly on the clinical symptoms the patient presents and the risk factors that the patient has had exposure to, using testing as only a secondary measure for making a diagnosis. According to the doctors who use it, long-term antibiotic therapy may help people who suffer from fibromyalgia, CFS, Lyme Disease, and many other “auto-immune diseases”. Nevertheless, there can be serious side effects from this type of therapy. Antibiotics used a long period of time can cause kidney and liver damage. They can cause gallbladder problems. Many people also cannot tolerate oral antibiotics well because of the strain on their digestive system. There are many alternative health options that can complement treatment with antibiotics and which may reduce side effects, and there are many natural remedies that have antibiotic and immune-enhancing properties of their own. Acupuncture may help to improve blood circulation and oxygenation to various areas of the body, enhancing the immune system’s ability to fight off infections. The increase in oxygenation can also create an inhospitable situation for bacteria that prefer a low oxygen environment. It also can stimulate the body to release natural pain relieving opiates into the body. The improvement in blood circulation may also help to increase body temperature in hands and feet and other areas of the body that tend to get cold easily. These are often areas of the body where bacteria, such as borellia burgdorferi, which prefer a low body temperature, may tend to congregate. Acupuncture can be used in conjunction with antibiotic therapy. It may help to improve the efficacy of antibiotic therapy by improving circulation. According to Chinese research, there are many Chinese herbs that have immune enhancing and antibacterial properties. There are also many Chinese herbs that can help the various symptomatic aspects of fibromyalgia and CFS. Some herbs such as astragalus and schizandra can improve the body’s ability to handle stress and can boost immunity. Other herbs such as coptis and scutellaria have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.Zyzyphus seed may help with sleep problems and anxiety. Bupleurum root may help relieve the moodswings and emotional aspects of fibromyalgia. The various types of ginseng can help to improve one’s energy level. Pseudoginseng, frankincense, and myrrh can help stimulate blood circulation and may help with symptoms of muscle weakness due to poor circulation. Walnuts, gingko biloba, frankincense, gotu kola, and fo-ti may all help with the brain fog and cognitive difficulties that many people with fibromyalgia and CFS experience. Codonopsis, atractylodes, mint, and citrus peel may all help with digestive problems. Chinese herbs are used together in herbal formulas that are individualized to address the pattern of disharmony that the person presents. They are generally not used separately on a symptom by symptom basis. For Lyme Disease, a few different Chinese herbs stand out for their potential usefulness. Smilax (tu fu ling), coptis (huang lian), garlic (da suan), houttuynia (yu xing cao), and teasel root (xu duan) are all herbs that appear to help to treat Lyme disease in different ways. Some of them have antibacterial properties, some strengthen the body generally, and some improve circulation. Chinese herbal formulas such as Huang Lian Jie Du Tang, Ge Xia Zhu Yu Tang, and Xiao Fu Zhu Yu Tang can be helpful. Formulas designed to clear heat, move qi and blood, tonify yang qi, and transform dampness can all be helpful for different patients depending on the pattern of disharmony they present. After a long period of illness or for patients with emaciation and insomnia it may be necessary to nourish yin as well. People with a babesial co-infection, an infection with symptoms similar to malaria, generally need heat to be cleared from the shaoyang channel and need nourishing of yin. Artemisia can be a useful herb for babesia. It has been shown to have anti-malarial properties in China and Vietnam. For people with Lyme Disease who have nerve problems, it may also be necessary to clear liver wind. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy has been used to treat people with Lyme Disease. Many have experienced good results and there is ongoing scientific research at the moment concerning its efficacy. The bacteria that causes Lyme Disease prefers an oxygen deprived environment. Its presence in the body appears to increase coagulation of blood and decrease circulation. It may thereby create the oxygen deprived environment that it prefers. This is great for the bacteria but can be the source of much of the difficulty that a person with this disease experiences. Many of the symptoms that people with Lyme disease, CFS, or fibromyalgia complain of are similar to symptoms that people experience from altitude sickness, which is caused by oxygen deprivation at high altitudes. The fatigue, the mental difficulties, the sleepiness, the feeling of having a ton of bricks attached to one’s limbs are all similar to symptoms that people with altitude sickness experience. It makes sense to me that creating an o
The Truth About Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & Lyme Disease
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