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On another note, how many of you have heard of a disorder called Fibromyalgia?  Here's a definition:

Fibromyalgia syndrome is a musculoskeletal pain and fatigue disorder naminfested by diffuse myalgia, localized areas of  tenderness, fatigue, lowered pain thresholds, and nonrestorative sleep.

                                                                                                                        Altern Med Rev 1998;3(5):367-375.

Put more simply, this disease state is comprised of diffuse muscular aches, unexplained fatigue, points on the body which are tender to the touch, a tendency to feel "more" pain than others with the same stimulus, and an inability to sleep well.

Fibromyalgia is a prevalent disease state in our country, with estimates being reported as 2-6 percent of the general population.   About 90 percent of these sufferers are women.

Serotonin, a neurotransmitter in the body which plays a role in sleep, pain thresholds, vascular constriction and dilation, dynamics of hunger/satiety, libido, depression, anxiety, and possibly obsessive-compulsive disorders.

Serotonin can be controlled through drugs called selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRI's) such as Prozac.  Drugs such as these have many side effects.

5-HTP, a supplement found over the counter, has been shown in this particular study to be effective in improving symptoms of depression, anxiety, insomnia, and somatic pains in a variety of patients.  Check out the study if you get the chance, it was done by John H. Juhl, D.O. --- Altern Med Rev 1998;3(5):367-375.

Malic Acid, or Malate has also been shown to improve some of the symptoms of Fibromyalgia.  Malate is one of the components of the Krebs cycle (ech, bad memories of Biochemistry).  The Krebs cycle is important in turning food into energy.

Other things which have been effective with some are Vitamin C, massage therapy, Chiropractic adjustments, and especially light aerobic and weight workouts.

Keep in mind that the proper dosages and schedules need to be administered, so don't try it yourself unless you are under the supervision of a health professional.  I have used these methods to help patients, but each person responds differently with varying results.  Also keep in mind that there is postulated to be an emotional tie-in with this disease state, and this must also be addressed for the person to begin the road to recovery.


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