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An Integrative Approach to Chronic Pain and Fibromyalgia

 

 

What is Chronic Pain?

 

Chronic pain Syndrome is the presence of pain for over 3-6 months that fails to heal. About 50 million Americans suffer some form of chronic pain related disability. The persistent pain causes physical, emotional and social consequences for those effected. In addition to constant, severe pain these individuals can also experience extreme sensitivity to touch, sound, temperature and vibration along with inflammation, spasms, difficulty sleeping and memory issues.

 

What is Fibromyalgia?

 

It is a form of chronic pain syndrome that leads to aches and pain throughout the body and produces significant distress and poor quality of life. It is more common in women between 20 and 55 years of age. There are about 5 million people in the U.S. suffering from it. These patients are at increased risk of hospitalizations and suicides.

 

In addition to multiple tender points and morning stiffness, these patients also experience fatigue, headaches, poor sleep, digestive symptoms, tingling and numbness in hands, symptoms of anxiety and depression, brain fog as well as difficulty with thinking, remembering and reasoning.

 

What are the root causes of Chronic Pain and Fibromyalgia?

 

The scientific literature indicates that there are multiple factors that can sustain chronic pain or limit an individual’s ability to overcome chronic pain and Fibromyalgia including

 

  • Infections such as EBV (Epstein Barr Virus), Lyme disease, molds and mycotoxins as well as Candida.

  • Hormonal such as related to thyroid and adrenal glands.

  • Nutritional Deficiencies due to issues related to the digestive tract such as leaky gut and small intestinal bacterial over growth (SIBO), genetic predisposition (MTHFR) or malabsorption.

  • Toxic overload such as mercury or other heavy metals

  • Inability of the body to deal with oxidative stress and inadequate antioxidants such as Glutathione.

  • Abnormality of pain signaling pathway and imbalanced neurotransmitters (Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that enable communication between brain cells).

  • Inflammation related to food sensitivity, organ damage or toxicity.

 

How is Integrative approach to Fibromyalgia different from Conventional Approach?

 

Individuals suffering for chronic pain and/or Fibromyalgia are told that it is all in their head or are often treated with opioid medications such as Percocet. Opioids have serious side effects including reduced mental alertness, problematic behaviors such as cravings and respiratory depression that can lead to death. They also lead to physical dependence and addiction. These medications have very limited effectiveness for chronic pain.

Integrative approach is individualized approach that addresses the root cause of the problem and uses a combination of different treatment modalities to help the patient overcome without or minimal use of opioids.

Evidence based modalities include

  • Customized topical preparations to address local inflammation

  • High quality supplements that can address the identified root causes.

  • Low Inflammation Diet

  • Exercise program

  • Mind Body Therapy

  • Laser Therapy

  •  Far Infrared Radiation

  • Massage Therapy

  • Growth Hormone

  • Low dose Naltrexone

  • Balneotherapy

  • Intravenous anti-oxidants such as Glutathione.

 

Dr. Nadia Ali is board certified in  Internal Medicine and Integrative Medicine. She is a diplomate of the American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine. She has expertise in integrative Care for prevention as well as treatment of chronic pain, fibromyalgia as well as associated conditions such as fatigue, depression, anxiety, stress and inflammation.

 

 

 

References