What is it?
Fibromyalgia is a complex chronic condition of unknown origin that affects women far more than men (80% to 90%) and those typically over 20 years of age. The condition involves pain in the muscles and soft tissue for which no diagnostic test can determine cause (e.g., blood tests, x-rays, MRI, CAT scan, etc.) Muscle and bone surfaces are typically most tender. Although fibromyalgia does not appear to shorten one’s lifespan nor necessarily be physically debilitation, it is highly recurrent – full recovery is rare. However, with good support and treatment (usually involving some medication, good sleep habits, and exercise), fibromyalgia will not severely damage quality of life.
What causes it?
We really know very little about fibromyalgia; however, many theories exist regarding its cause. Some believe that the disorder is linked to viral infection, psychological disturbances or trauma, altered pain perception, lack of growth hormone, or lack of exercise. Other researchers point to change in sleep patterns or low levels of serotonin – a hormone that regulates moods and sleep.
Female hormones are known to affect many brain and nerve neurotransmitters, including pain-mediating ones.
What role might cytokines play?
Scientists point to Substance P (also known as neurokephlin) as a chemical in our bodies that modifies pain sensation in nerve fibers and brain cells. Research indicates that Substance P abnormalities may effect depression and are abnormal in fibromyalgia. Because cytokines produced by fat cells influence production and function of Substance P and female hormones regulate fat cell physiology, this link between obesity, cytokines, hormones, and pain regulation is very plausible.
What results could I expect with MNT?
Cases of fibromyalgia often improve following the PrescriptFit MNT Plan, although response is difficult to predict. Most cases improve by Phase 1 or 2, especially when using the 7- or 14-day Food Phase Plan. You should see a change in symptoms by the end of week 4 if you rigidly adhere to the Plan.
Most patients experience improved sleep (and less fatigue) the quickest, followed by improved mood. Pain usually improves after sleep improves.
How can I measure symptom change on the plan?
Learn what may be causing your muscle pain and other symptoms. Visit your physician to determine whether you have fibromyalgia. Talk with your doctor about MNT and its impact on sleep, fatigue, depression, and other symptoms you’re experiencing. Next, you want to have measurement of how severe each symptom is for you. This will give you a baseline to compare with future measurements.
Most importantly, you (and your doctor) need a way to measure progress over time. Talk with your doctor at each regular visit about your symptoms and how they might change using the Plan.
As with any medical condition, treatment traditionally means taking medications to reduce symptoms. You may find that as your symptoms lessen with MNT, you will need to take less medication OR perhaps discontinue pain medications entirely. If you are taking prescription medicines, talk to your doctor about when and how to cut down on what you take BEFORE you make any changes.