Fibromyalgia :: Fibromyalgia and Chronic Myofascial Pain – A Survival Manual

The original edition of this classic survival manual offered the first comprehensive patient guide for managing these conditions. Its extensive set of healing tools included targeted bodywork for painful trigger points and strategies to helpccope with chronic pain and sleep problems and the numbing effects of fibrofog.

More than 75 percent of the second edition is new or updated material, including coverage of promising new research on the causes of fibromyalgia, evaluation of new treatments, complete discussions of special issues for women and men, and the latest information on medication. An update of the first edition’s popular provider index helps sufferers select those practitioners who will take their complaints seriously and offer knowledgeable treatment advice.

An estimated 26 million Americans have either fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), myofascial pain syndrome (MPS), or both in the form of an FMS/MPS complex. The volume by Starlanyl, a physician who specializes in the research and treatment of FMS/MPS and who has both conditions, and Copeland, a writer and FMS/MPS patient, discuss all aspects of both disorders. They also offer information on the latest medications, tips for bodywork, and suggestions for coping with family and work, getting support, and dealing with the healthcare system. Appendixes include lists of agencies and organizations and of audio and video aids. Both books are recommended for consumer health collections, but if only one can be purchased, Starlanyl and Copeland’s work has the edge due to its greater scope and more comprehensive coverage.

This book was written by two Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) sufferers, one an M.D. and the other a psychologist. It covers both the technical medical theories and treatment approaches and the coping aspects in a readable and lively format. A whole section on coping strategies useful in one’s relationships with family, friends, workplace and doctors is included. Other chapters deal with meditation, the body-mind connection, and how to cope with the cognitive dysfunction familiar to CFIDS patients, termed “fibrofog”. The personal experiences of the authors are included in boxes along the margins of this large soft-cover book.

Myofascial Pain Syndrome is discussed in detail in this book. Myofascia provide a tough film of connective tissue that surround muscle fibers and hold them in place. At the ends of the muscles, the myofascia band together to form the tendons and ligaments. The system of myofascia connect muscle groups, so that pressing on a sore area, called a trigger point, causes referred pain in another muscle trigger point. Fibromyalgia experts disagree as to the relationship between FMS and MPS, but it is clear that they often occur together in the same patient.

A wide variety of techniques of physical therapy or “bodywork” are discussed as well as medical strategies for relieving pain associated with FMS and MPS. Many diagrams are included to help the reader locate various trigger points that relate to particular symptoms. The book also presents a self-help method that I found very useful for trigger point massage called “tennis ball acupressure”. It uses two tennis balls, knotted inside a sock, placed under various sore spots in order to release trigger points and relax overtightened muscles along the spine or elsewhere. This and other trigger point therapies may even help in non-pain symptoms like constipation.

Weight gain is a common concern among FMS/CFIDS patients and the chapter on nutrition includes important information on the role of excess carbohydrates in contributing to excess body fat, high triglycerides, fatigue, headaches, anxiety, mood swings and sleep disturbances among other symptoms. Both authors describe their successes with low carbohydrate approaches and I found my own fatigue and many other symptoms were dramatically improved on Dr. St. Amand’s suggested diet for hypoglycemia, which they discuss. This chapter also includes a discussion of food allergy/intolerance and the leaky gut syndrome, and how NSAIDS (e.g. ibuprofen or naprosyn) may contribute to these problems.

An excellent chapter on fibromyalgia medications includes a brief description of 31 prescription drugs. A whole chapter is then devoted to guaifenesin, a treatment Dr. Starlanyl says she could not have written this book without. It was interesting to note that she also found guaifenesin helped her esophageal reflux (heartburn and nausea from hydrochloric acid irritating the esophagus). The authors describe Dr. St. Amand’s theory for why guaifenesin may reverse an excess of phosphate and calcium hidden away in cells causing lowered energy (ATP) production and many diverse symptoms. To succeed with the guaifenesin approach, it is essential to avoid hidden salicylates and to achieve an adequate dose (also, see the new book by St. Amand & Marek for the most detailed and up-to-date information on how to use the guaifenesin and low carbohydrate diet approaches.

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