Escaping the fibromyalgia maze

February 23, 2012

Detox, Fibromyalgia, Health Concerns

The two most important areas of healing should be concentrated on the gut and the central nervous system.

by Betsy Timmerman — 

Most people who suffer from fibromyalgia (FM) never find their true path to recovery. They often spend year after year trying new treatments, techniques, doctors, medications and supplements but never really improve enough to say they are living a full life with little or no pain.

FM is a complex syndrome affecting every organ system in the body. In order to truly heal and make steady forward movement in your recovery, you will need to address your general health issues. The two most important areas of healing should be concentrated on the gut and the central nervous system.

The quote “death begins in the colon,” attributed to Bernard Jensen, D.C., is an accurate one. More to the point, illness begins in the colon. When you realize that 80 percent of your active immune system cells are located there, and that most of your neurotransmitter production starts in the colon as well, you can understand why having a fully functioning gut is essential for FM recovery.

What is fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is many things, but primarily it is a syndrome that results from a deficiency of serotonin (and often norepinephrine and dopamine). It is also a central sensitivity syndrome affecting the central nervous system.

This means that people with FM feel pain (when normal people do not) because their nervous systems are sensitized to non-pain producing stimuli. An example would be a gentle breeze being translated as painful by a person with FM. The pressure from just sitting on a chair or lying down on a bed can cause pain in many sufferers as well.

This is not normal, and as I can testify from experiencing my former FM symptoms, it is excruciating to live with on a 24/7 basis. I lived like this for nine years, and it was a nightmare.

What deranges the pain perception of fibromyalgia sufferers can vary from a significant accident, to a virus, a bacterial infection or emotional/physical trauma. The fight-or-flight switch becomes reset so that people with FM use up 35 percent of their energy without doing anything.

This is one of the reasons fatigue and pain are such an issue. The body is on constant alert, hence the never-ending pain of muscle contraction and adrenaline exhaustion, which leads to fatigue.

If you have a healthy gut, you will produce all the neurotransmitters you need. These neurotransmitters migrate to the brain and place themselves strategically where they will elevate mood, regulate normal pain translation and help the body with regenerative sleep.

Most people with FM have irritable bowel issues and leaky gut syndrome where undigested food particles make their way into the bloodstream.

There are many reasons for leaky gut syndrome, one of which is taking too many nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) like ibuprofen. When food particles that do not belong outside the gut make their way into the bloodstream, this alerts the immune system to fight the unwanted invaders, which results in food sensitivities, allergies and inflammation. A vicious cycle ensues where inflammation, pain and fatigue are the order of the day in an FM person’s body.

How to recover

To get your health back, you will need to address the problems of food breakdown from ingestion and digestion, to assimilation and elimination. It is really quite simple.

When you have the right amount of good bacteria in your gut, you eat foods that provide the nutrients your body needs (we are not talking white processed foods here); you break down this food properly (enzymes may be needed with this process initially and chewing your food for a minimum of 20 times before swallowing); and you eliminate wastes every day so there is no rotting involved that further poisons your system. By taking these steps you will feel better.

Correcting all the gut imbalances takes time, so be patient. Start by eating a clean diet of vegetables and good quality protein. Do not worry too much about detoxing, because eating clean will start the process.

If you drink enough water to clean out your cells and take probiotics (15 billion organisms daily to start), you will see steady progress in your healing. As the production of neurotransmitters increases, your sleep will improve and your pain will diminish. The two branches of your nervous system will become balanced — the parasympathetic becoming stronger and the sympathetic becoming less dominant.

People with fibromyalgia are often rapid or unbalanced detoxifiers, so care must be taken before starting a “detox-box” remedy. You might feel very unwell as the toxins race out of your cells, and if too much dumping occurs, the toxins will recirculate and redeposit, so caution is recommended. The liver in FM sufferers is compromised in the detoxifying area, so go slowly.

One of the reasons we get so many side effects from medications is that our liver cannot handle any more toxins, and we get little if any therapeutic benefits from our medications. If the liver is healthy, medications can actually be more beneficial to the patient.

Of course, healing fibromyalgia includes much more, but treating your gut will get you started on your wellness journey faster and will be better than any other treatment or technique. A clean colon allows other treatments that you follow up with to actually work.


Betsy Timmerman is a certified Bonnie Prudden Myotherapy (trigger point therapy) therapist, a fibromyalgia educator and a First Line® Therapy educator. She offers workshops and one-on-one consultations to help people recover from fibromyalgia. or 623-251-7547.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 30, Number 5, Oct/Nov 2011.

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