Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia

I had never known too much about Fibromyalgia until some one I knew was suddenly struck down by it at the age of 50. When I say struck down I mean just that. Although the lady in question had been having some symptoms, or what we now know were symptoms, it all seemed to happened very suddenly. In April there were some problems but she was still working and going out for the odd celebratory or social drink, but by May she was not making it into work and by June she was officially leaving work as she could no long function enough to get to work and she was signed off work sick or disabled!!

I have started to look into Fibromyalgia and I have foud that it is certainly more common than I knew. On one website it claims that Fibromyalgia (FM) carries an annual direct cost of care of over £20 billion!!! Not too much is known about FM and orthodox medicine has no cure but offer various drugs that may help improve quality of life.

So what is Fibromyalgia?

In one line – Fibromyalgia typically causes persistent pains and tenderness in many areas of the body as well as tiredness. A longer description is below.

FMS (fibromyalgia (fi-bro-my-Al-juh) syndrome) is a widespread musculoskeletal pain and fatigue disorder for which the cause is still unknown. Fibromyalgia means pain in the fibrous tissues in the body.

The pain comes from the connective tissues, such as the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. FMS does not involve the joints, as does rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

Most patients with fibromyalgia say that they ache all over. Their muscles may feel like they have been pulled or overworked. Sometimes the muscles twitch and at other times they burn. More women than men are afflicted with fibromyalgia, but it shows up in people of all ages.

What Causes Fibromyalgia?

In simple terms we don’t yet know but we do know that there are some common denominators that occur and we have an idea of why it appears. Below is a description of FM from this site http://www.patient.co.uk/health/Fibromyalgia.htm

The cause of fibromyalgia is not known. However, research has shown that people with fibromyalgia have certain subtle changes in some chemicals in the brain and nervous system. For example, there seems to be a minor change in the level of certain brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. These are the chemicals responsible for transmitting messages between nerves and between brain cells. Research studies have also shown that people with fibromyalgia tend to have an increased amount of a chemical called substance P in the fluid that bathes the brain and spinal cord (the cerebrospinal fluid – CSF). This substance may be involved in the way pain messages are transmitted.

A current main theory is that people with fibromyalgia have an oversensitivity to pain signals in the brain. This is called ‘central sensitisation’. This may be due to various minor changes in brain chemicals. What triggers or causes these changes is not known. Note: the term fibromyalgia has been used for a long time. However, because the cause is now thought to be due to the processes described above in the brain and spinal cord, the term ‘fibromyalgia’ does not accurately describe the condition. That is, there is little evidence that the disease is due to a problem with peripheral tissues such as muscles, tendons and ligaments (although the pain is often felt in these tissues).

How bad is it?

Fortunately, FM does not seem to shorten life expectancy and it tends not to be completely crippling. FM symptoms can come and go with varying severity so if it is a ‘severe’ case it will be bad at times and not so bad at others. For some people it goes after a few months.

The way to reduce symptoms and / or get rid of FM all together, you need to basically live a healthy lifestyle. I am not going to make out I can cure it, or say that it will be easy, but there are plenty of people that have had severe cases of FM but today they are pain free.

So what do I do?

Firstly you should be talking to your GP or specialist or both. Secondly I cannot give medical advice but I can tell you what I would do. There are lots of supplements you can make sure your getting enough of, and there are foods, amino acids, herbs, vitamins and minerals that you can take to optimize the cellular function of your body, but FM is about more than what you put into your body.

  • Mental attitude – is important. You need to be determined to get over it and you need to give up on stress. That’s not easy I know, none of us choose to stress about things but from now on you have a get out of stress free card. Your mind needs to be stress and worry free, so remind yourself of this next time you feel that your getting worked up.
  • Laugh – you deserve it, what ever makes you laugh, do it. The mind is a very powerful thing and it has been proven that just by laughing more, your body creates a multitude of chemicals that have a positive effect on the body. You can boost your levels of B cells adn T cells and enhance your immune system simply by watching your favourite funny film that makes you laugh, and that’s just the start. Don’t forget either that your automic nervous system that controls all the smooth muscles that work without you having to think about it, rely heavily on emotions. So there you have it, an excuse to laugh next time you see some one fall over in the street!
  • Exercise – We all know that exercise is good for us, but if you suffer from FM, exercising is some thing you need to do, but you need to find out what works and what don’t. Unlike most people who go to the gym and exert themselves until they can’t do any more, only to go home and do the same the next day or the day after, FM sufferers need to take it slower. Studies have proven that even 6 minutes of exercise a day can help reduce the feeling of pain and tiredness in FM sufferers. When taking on a new exercise routine, take it slow. FM suffers take longer to recover from physical exertion. Suggested exercise’s are Yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates, walking, bicycling, and then once you know your level and have built up at least some strength and fitness, Swimming and step aerobics. The important thing is to start slow and take breaks or back off when you need to, but don’t give up and don’t stop! You WILL have set backs until you find your level, this is normal so don’t worry just stick with the plan and from there you can work on increasing what you do, little by little.
  • Diet – This is very important. You need to eat the right foods to help your body get back to functioning correctly again or as good as you can get it. Firstly you should concentrate on what not to eat as the wrong foods can make you feel worse rapidly, and stop you from ever feeling better. The first things you should cut from your diet right away are – Alcohol, Refined sugars, fried foods or those with trans fats or too high in saturated fats, foods with MSG, aspartame, sweets like chocolate, crisps etc. So you see basically all the things we should not eat any way, or not too much of. You should eat a high protein diet. Some experts say that some of the tissue abnormalities that go along with FM can get worse or may even be caused by not getting enough protein. They say eating enough protein can help relieve stiffness and pain. I would think extra L GLutamine and BCAA’s may help as they are the building blocks of protein and they help recovery.

    You should also Be eating lots of fresh vegetables and fruit to provide your body with all the basic nutrients, vitamins and minerals that it needs to function properly. Foods like Flax seeds, Walnuts, chia seeds and oily fish are great sources of anti inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids which are an important aid in fighting inflammation and pain.

  • Juicing – Fresh Organic fruit and veg juiced can help FM sufferers. We are talking about juicing yourself not buy the pasteurized sugar water that is sold in shops. Juicing fruit and veg does several great things. Firstly you get a large hit of all the good stuff, vitamins,minerals amino acids antioxidants etc right into the blood stream. This also means that there is less stress on the digestive system. Many people with FM suffer with IBS or other digestive problems, juicing alleviates this. You also get a good dose of Magnesium, Potassium, Absorbable Calcium and natural sodium to help your cells stay in good shape. Certain vegetables and fruits help to build and clean the blood, rejuvenate the lymph system, help remove toxins and can provide anti inflammatory benefits. Dark green vegetables are full of energy, Chlorophyll will provide you with so many benefits. I truly believe that as part of a larger plan, juicing can really help get your body clear of toxins and remove waste and this will get you functioning properly on a cellular level and from there you have the opportunity rebuild your body and have all the energy you need.
  • Herbs – There are many herbs that can help energise, detox, nourish and more. You should look to enhance your bodies immune system and fight inflammation for sure with herbs. There are many individual and combinations of herbs that can help. The following list of herbs can be useful if you would like more information on how they help you can email me or you can go to this web site – http://www.fibromyalgiahope.com/fibromyalgia-herbs.html and you will find more information there.

    Herbs that can be useful for FM: Chamomile, Echinacea, Lavender, Goldenseal, Licorice, Pine Bark, Milk Thistle, Don Quai, St John’s Wort, Reshi Mushroom, Dandelion, Burdock, Yellow Dock, Kitchen herbs – Rosemary, Sage, Cayenne, Ginger, Turmeric, Black Pepper, Ginseng, Rhodiola.

  • Other Supplements – Multi B Vitamin, Plus Vit B6 & B12, Fish oils, Cod Liver Oil, Evening Primrose Oil, DIgestive Enzymes, Serrapeptase, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin D3, Co Q10, Selenium, Beta carotene. Some vitamins are best taken together, Vitamin C, E, B (A good multi) , and Beta carotene is a good combination to help rid toxic waste from your cells and then out of the bloodstream and then the body via the kidneys. Plenty of protein is needed for a good production of enzymes in the body and is the basic buildinng blocks we need for a healthy body so a good quality whey protein isolate may help you allot. Amino acids like the BCAA’s, L Glutamine may help recovery and may help reduce symptoms of pain. You should also look into usign creatine. There are many people raving about how creatine has helped their FM symptons massively.

NOTE: Please Remember I am not a Doctor and information here is only for entertainment purposes, ALWAYS consult your GP before you make ay changes to your diet, exercise or supplement routine!

 

gout

Gout

As a sufferer of gout I am all too aware of the problems. When Gout attacks it can come during the night so you have no warning until you wake up in great pain and you can’t even leave a sheet covering your foot!

So what is gout?

Gout is a form of arthritis that affects the joints. A disturbance in protein metabolism in which production of uric acid is increased, resulting in crystals of uric acid being deposited around the joints. In many people it affects the big toe. Uric acid is a break down product of nucelic acid and found in all cells in the body.

If left untreated gout can cause severe disfiguration as seen in the photo above. Fortunately we have ways to control gout. Strong anti inflammatory pills can help control the severe pain of gout. And we have medication like Allopurinol that can lessen the amount of uric acid your body produces, and therefore makes gout attacks less likely, although when you first start taking medication, you may suffer more attacks initially.

The problem is, medication MAY cause side effects. Some side effects can be serious. Dr’s in today’s world are far too eager to hand out prescriptions for drugs. That’s my opinion. The thing is, it is far easier to do this than to sit down with each patient and explain what they need to change with their diets. Dr’s in big cities especially are over worked and have too little time allocated to each patient. Add this to the fact that when they train, Dr’s spend very little time being taught about real nutrition. Its all about what medication (pharma drugs) treat what condition. This makes little sense.

The old saying “you are what you eat” holds true. The foods we put into our body effect every single cell we are made of. There are reports of people taking gout medication for many years being more susceptible to heart problems, muscle loss and more. I think these are unacceptable for most people, when some simple diet and lifestyle changes can prevent the need for this.

For acute attacks, pain relief is needed ASAP and if I were to have a full blown attack I would still reach for the indometicin. These affect me in negative ways but after weighing up the pro’s and cons, the side effects are worth it. I hope however never to have another attack! Below are some ideas for you to try to keep gout attacks at bay. I was told to start taking 300mg of allopurinol every day for the rest of my life, which I have not done and I believe some of the things below have helped me stay away from these.

WATER – I drink lots and lots of water. Distilled, fresh spring. Toxic free if you can, but water is a must. The last two attacks of gout I suffered were after I was sick with some form of bug / food poisoning and could not eat or drink for a couple of days. The more water you drink the more you pee and the more likely you are to excrete uric acid. I believe drinking two to three litres a day is a must.

JUICING – I try to Juice every day. I started juicing for other reasons but I noticed that a pleasant side effect was that pain in my big toe joint disappeared, and stayed away even though I eat allot of the high purine foods that I should not. I also drink more beer than I should! Try to juice fresh organic fruits and veg. The base of most of my juices are cucumber, celery and carrots. I juice a whole cucumber, a whole bunch of celery and 4 or 5 carrots normally post work out.

FISH OILS – I used to think fish oils tablets were THE reason that my gout was staying away at one point. Omega 3 fatty acids have an anti inflammatory effect in the body. I feel that fish oils are the easiest way to get good quality Omega 3 fats. Flax can be good too but I have read too many articles that say allot of flaxseed products are rancid before they reach the buyer. I will look into this in more detail at some point, but for now I stick mostly with fish oils.

VITAMIN C – There have been a few studies that have shown that 500mg to 1000mg and more per day may lower gout attacks by 45% in men. If you are going to take 1000mg + per day I have to tell you to talk this over with your GP. Men suffer with gout more than women. Vit C helps prevent gout by assisting the body in excreting Uric acid so that it doesn’t build up to high levels in the blood. It is also though that Vitamin C has an anti inflammatory effect.

FOLIC ACID- It is thought that folic acid will neutralize an enzyme called xanthine oxidase. This encourages the production of uric acid in the body. If that enzyme is blocked to any degree, it might halt some of the excess uric acid from being produced and stored within your body. Of course, with less uric acid comes less pain, and less frequent gout flare-ups

PANTOTHEINC ACID – VIT B5 – 500 mg of pantothenic acid (B5) in divided doses to assist the body’s conversion of uric acid into harmless compounds.

CELERY SEEDS – These seeds are quite effective in relieving gout by eliminating uric acid from the body. According to James Duke, Ph.D., a medical botanist formerly with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, celery seeds contain about twenty different anti-inflammatory agents. BROMELAIN – 500 mg twice daily acts as an anti-inflammatory.

DARK CHERRY – I have used this only during an attack along with other remedies so I’m not sure how well this works exactly but there is some good info about it online. Doctors and scientists believe that the anthocyanins contained in cherries are what causes a decrease in blood urates and what makes cherry juice a good gout relief. Now there are lots more ideas on web sites, I’ll put a couple of links below but the ideas above are ones I have used. I think drinking plenty of water, taking Vitamin C, fish oil tablets regularly and juicing are most beneficial. You may find only one things works well for you or a combination of things but be prepared to give it a go. At least all of the items above have other positive effect within the body when consumed where as prescription medication can cause severe harm.

http://www.health911.com/remedies/rem_gout.htm

http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/gout-000070.htm

If you have an experience that you think might help other sufferers of gout please email me at admin@livelongerlivestronger.co.uk and let me know and I will update this article.

Update 18.07.2010

Well, the day I posted this article I felt the pang of pain in my joint on my right foot. I laughed at the irony and then upped my Vitamin C intake throughout the day and my water. A day later on the thursday it was a little worse and I found myself limping a little when i had my work shoes on, on friday I put some soft shoes that i have on and I was fine. Friday night I let my girlfriend talk me in to using a foot spar in the evening, after I had been to the gym and used the leg press machine (stupid idea don’t try this) and by night time i thought I had a full blown attack. I had to leave my foot elevated on a pillow all night and out of the bed sheets.

By this time i had a couple of anti inflammatory pills, I don’t like to take them but some times you have to. Now Friday before bed I took 5 Serrapeptase tablets. Saturday morning i was struggling a little with walking but not too bad with the soft shoes on. Later I was supposed to be going out for a birthday drink / meal.

Now, I have been playing about with some concoctions and I finished off a two week old batch of a drink I had made. Before I went out saturday night at 7pm, i had actually ‘felt’ my foot get batter! I was like a miracle. I walked to the pub where we were meeting, I was originally going to get a cab as even saturday morning, the 20 minute walk seemed far too much. My foot seemed amazingly better.

I am not sure if it was the drink, or the Indometacin tablets, or the extra water, the Serrapeptase or a combination of the lot but its sunday today and I have just got back from shopping and I bought two new pairs of shoes. If I put allot of pressure on the joint its still a little tender but I believe the things I took helped amazingly. I was so impressed I had a few ciders last night with the meal. (I would recommend that you don’t do this)

So, this update is basically to tell you that in my humble opinion you should definitely take the following things when an attack hits –

Serrapeptase, Fish Oils, Vitamin C , lots of water, and My pineapple mixture that I actually stole from Mr Pantalleresco. See his video on the link below for his fermented papaya. Watch the video and simple swap the papaya for pineapple. I believe this drink will help you out LOADS!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bvGD6IvS97E

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvnc9GbYkjA