fibromyalgia Archive


This may be a reason for fibromyalgia pain – Oxygen (Or the lack thereof!)

Out of BreathThis may be a reason for fibromyalgia pain – Oxygen (Or the lack thereof!)

Recently, I was asked to talk about a condition called Hypoxia and the possible cause of muscle pain and weakness as it relate to fibromyalgia. Sometimes, as an adjunct professor of a nationally acclaimed nursing college and Fibromyalgia chiropractic physician, I get “scientific” and “wordy” with my explanations’ of things. But|I will endeavor to keep it simple to and to the point in this article.

It is important to start with a simple understanding of how oxygen is used by the muscles and the body as a whole.  When we breathe in air, our lungs absorb the microscopic molecules found in the atmosphere. Oxygen, carbon dioxide, hydrogen and nitrogen are the main ones but there are other molecules as well. When we exhale, mostly carbon dioxide is released back into the air. Our body’s muscles need oxygen in a constant, balanced amount to be used as energy in muscle contraction. For those with fibromyalgia, this is where problems can begin!

There are a number of things that can keep those with fibromyalgia from getting enough oxygen into the muscles. The lack of iron (anemia) in the diet is a common cause. For example, if you are a woman with fibromyalgia you may have notice that you fibromyalgia is worse during or right after your menses. If you smoke or live or work with a smoker you may be inhaling a heavy metal called cadmium that can block iron from carrying oxygen to the muscles. If you have fibromyalgia, find a way to quit smoking now. If you don’t have fibromyalgia, find a way to quit smoking now. Asthma, COPD, severe allergies, a bad cold or pneumonia can decrease the amount of oxygen that your body needs.

Is your house making you sick?

Poor circulation is another cause for fibromyalgia pain in muscles. Whether it is due to age, obesity, injury or related diseases, circulation of oxygen can become reduced to the muscles; especially if you have fibromyalgia. A research article written by Ratchakrit Srikuea; et al. entitled: Association of fibromyalgia with altered skeletal muscle characteristics which may contribute to postexertional fatigue in postmenopausal women( shares insights to how circulation is a factor in women with fibromyalgia.

Lastly, much of the latest research has suggested that oxygenation to the muscles of patients with fibromyalgia may not be the primary factor at all but that it may be the lack of oxygen to the nerves and or the hormonal glands.

Breathing article for fibromyalgia and low back pain

So what can you do about oxygenation and fibromyalgia? The simple answer is to breathe and breathe often. Simple breathing exercises can help. Exercise can help. CPAP machines (for sleep apnea patients) can help. Stop smoking can help. Iron, calcium and magnesium supplementation might help (be sure to have blood work done before and after supplementation).

Here is the good news. No more are scientists and doctors dismissing fibromyalgia as a non entity! There are many research studies being conducted to support the validity of fibromyalgia and perhaps someday, there just might be a solution to everyone’s favorite nightmare: fibromyalgia.

Dr. Mark E. Lee is a chiropractic doctor, Adjunct professor of Pathophysiology, community leader, family man and a fibromyalgia sufferer.  He has helped hundreds of fibromyalgia sufferers overcome the daily misery often associated with fibromyalgia syndrome. He owns and operates a fibromyalgia clinic in Mesa, Arizona and a fibromyalgia support group on Facebook. You may visit his website at or email him at





Stopping the Cold and Flu – An Update

The Cold and Flu season is upon us and, for those who suffer from fibromyalgia; this is a common time for deep fibromyalgia pain. But you may not have to endure such terrible fibromyalgia pain if you can avoid catching a Cold or the Flu.

I recently wrote about three simple things you can do to help fight off the cold and flu this season.  As a chiropractic physician, I wanted to add another list of three things that you can do to stop the cold and flu dead in its tracks. Here they are:

1)     Eat more protein! According to an article found in CNN Health “Your nutrition profoundly affects your ability to fight these diseases,” notes Katherine Tallmadge, national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. That means fill up your plate with lean protein, including chicken, fish and fat-free dairy products. Why protein? “The molecules that fight disease are made of protein,” Tallmadge says. (Protein is essential for the fibromyalgia patient too!)

2)     Drink a little more water! Stay hydrated with pure water and use water as your main beverage  as much as possible. Minimize the use milk, coffee, tea and/or sodas. When you start to become dehydrated the amount of blood available to circulate around your body decreases. This reduces the ability of the gut to absorb immune enhancing nutrients. Cells, including the immune enhancing cells, will function more appropriately and the lymphatic system removes waste better when properly hydrated.

3)     Go see your chiropractor! Your nervous system is the master communicator within your body. How on earth can your body’s defensive mechanisms work without proper communication? It can’t! Spinal care is essential to a strong immune system. Don’t believe me? Ask anyone with spinal degeneration how often they get sick, have headaches, experience fibromyalgia flare-ups, etc. Go see your chiropractor!


Is Your Attitude Making You Sick?

Is your attitude making you sick?

Health issues can be discouraging. Chronic illnesses like fibromyalgia , MS and others will most definitely lead to discouragement, frustration, depression and occasionally hopelessness. I see it in my chiropractic practice daily. The quality of your health will have an effect on the quality of your attitude! But does your attitude have an effect on your well-being?

About 30 years ago I met a man named CB Clausen. CB was in his late sixties I believe, but he had the demeanor of a young vibrant twenty year old. You would not have guessed he had a problem by just listening to his cheerful salutations but when you looked at CB you could not ignore his overwhelming bend at the waist. CB had severe arthritis and disc disease in his low back that caused him excruciating pain and suffering. But nevertheless, he never stopped smiling while in your presence and a handshake was always extended to you. Though CB was a joy to be around for everyone he met, to me he was an inspiration.

I never forgot this amazing man and his enthusiasm for life. Little did I know then that I would later in my own life suffer from a similar ailment of arthritis and fibromyalgia.  There are some days that I feel down right awful . But when I, or you, are feeling down we do have a choice to make, don’t we?. “Will I allow my fibromyalgia pain to ruin me today?”

There will be times that fibromyalgia will control us with an iron fist. Anyone who suffers from fibromyalgia or any chronic illness knows this all to well, but choosing to battle its negative effect on our happiness is something that we can try to do.

I know that your situation will be different from mine as every fibromyalgia sufferer’s symptoms and intensity is unique, , but I do know what I can do for myself. I want to be able to look my wife and my children in the eye and let them see that their husband and father loves them; and that no level of pain, fear or frustration will push away my love for them. Because I love them I want to share my best emotions and feelings with them. Happiness and peace are the emotions I enjoy the most. When I become self centered on my fibromyalgia pain I fail to acknowledge the feelings my loved ones have. When this happens, I become more discouraged and depressed; I lose my happiness. And guess what? my fibromyalgia gets worse too! However, when my attention is focused on them instead of my fibromyalgia, I feel joyful. It is not a chiropractic adjustment that I need but an attitude adjustment. Then, my fibromyalgia is weakened and I amin charge.

Now you know, the quality of your attitude will have an effect of the quality of your health!


Fibromyalgia and Children

Fibromyalgia and Children

As a fibromyalgia sufferer yourself, chances are you began having symptoms of fibromyalgia at an early age. Seldom are these symptoms noticed or associated with fibromyalgia and therefore are not identified at a younger age. Early detection and treatment  might have stopped its debilitating effects. Author Miryam Williamson wrote Fibromyalgia: A Comprehensive Approach in Copyright 1996. She shares in chapter seven the following quotes:

“… a study published in the Journal of Rheumatology in 1993, a team of doctors in Israel reported that 6.2 percent of 338 healthy schoolchildren between the ages of nine and 15 met the criteria for the fibromyalgia syndrome.”

“…Growing pains are a particularly pernicious myth. It should not hurt to grow, and the child whose pain is brushed off that way is a very unfortunate little person.”

“You should suspect fibromyalgia in a child who sleeps restlessly, kicks or twitches during sleep, and has a difficult time getting out of bed in the morning. […] Insomnia coupled with pains or aches is a trouble signal and should not be ignored, particularly if one of the child’s parents has FM..(Emphasis mine.) Sometimes an alert teacher is the first to notice a problem. […]Children with fibromyalgia often have trouble in school. A considerable amount of schoolwork requires memorization. The cognitive difficulties that often accompany FM may make this difficult, if not impossible.”

In my Mesa AZ chiropractic clinic I too have seen children that I suspected fibromyalgia. One example is a young man who has had to miss attending school due to a incessant headache. He has been treated for just about every thing. Treating him specifically for fibromyalgia is his best and perhaps only approach.

Chiropractic care can be useful but will not address all of the needs for the fibromyalgia child. The use of significant nutritional and life-style changes is required but here lies the true dilemma. Most parents do not know that their child has fibromyalgia, do not know what can be done and worse cannot make all of the necessary changes alone. Schools, doctors, extended family, social groups, etc. are potential contributors to the cause or the “cure” yet they are often beyond our positive influence for change. But, we do our best anyway. Education and patience is required to make a difference.

Begin at home first. What changes can you make to help your fibromyalgia child? Below is a short and incomplete list that may help.

  1. Create a home environment that is happy and positive. Stress is perhaps the biggest trigger for fibromyalgia.
  2. Make sure your house is free from known fibromyalgia irritants.
  3. Control refined sugar and bleached flour intake in the diet
  4. Use whole food supplements / vitamins in place of synthetics whenever possible. (Vitamin B from coal tar has been suggested as a significant contributor of fibromyalgia.)
  5. Boost the immune system during the cold and flu season.
  6. Get outdoors frequently. Exercise, games and the sun are all important factors to fibromyalgia control.
  7. Don’t forget that children (especially those with fibromyalgia) need chiropractic care too! A minor car accident, fall or sports injury may precipitate the cause of fibromyalgia.
  8. Dental and visual needs must be addressed promptly! It is believed that some possible causes of fibromyalgia begin with tooth disease/abnormalities or visual impairments.
  9. Help your child sleep sound through the night. Check for disruptions in sleep. Is his mattress or pillow supportive? Is she too cold or too warm? Restless Leg Syndrome for example is believed to be a possible early warning sign for fibromyalgia. (Iron may be needed if RLS is present but be sure to consult your doctor or nutritionist before supplementing with iron.)
  10. Above all, do not ignore a child’s complaint of aches or pain. Have it checked out and never pass it off as simply growing pains!

Fibromyalgia in children can be controlled and possibly eliminated. Many children, when properly cared for, have their fibromyalgia resolved completely.



Chronic Pain – Cope or Cure?

Chronic Pain – Cope or Cure?

Fibromyalgia, debilitating arthritis, severe headaches, neuropathy, these are all common causes for chronic pain. I have been talking about the effects of fibromyalgia for sometime now but I felt it important to address the needs of those who suffer from many forms of chronic pain; including fibromyalgia.

Once a person begins to experience constant, debilitating pain that does not seem to ease, a frequent questions that is asked is “will I have to live with this for the rest of my life?” This is a very difficult question for any doctor, chiropractic or medical, to answer and it is even more challenging for the chronic pain sufferer to learn whether she must cope with it or seek for a cure. As your fibromyalgia and chronic pain chiropractic physician, it is my hope in writing this article that every chronic pain sufferer will learn that you can cope with your illness while seeking a cure.

Almost every health condition, illness or diagnosis comes with its very own disclaimer. Although science, chiropractic and medicine have made significant breakthroughs with the treatment of many diseases, seldom is there a guarantee of a cure! Do cures exist? Yes they do and they occur more often than one might expect. “But what about fibromyalgia, can fibromyalgia be cured too?” Whether it is fibromyalgia or any chronic pain illness, the answer this chiropractic physician  always gives is -maybe.

There are many cases of people who have suffered the debilitating effects of chronic pain due to arthritis or fibromyalgia who, through a series of steps or procedures, report having been cured from their illness. I have seen it personally in my Mesa, AZ Chiropractic clinic. Allow me to share a story of on of my chiropractic patients suffering from fibromyalgia.

Angie (not her real name) suffered from fibromyalgia for over 14 years but was diagnosed just eight years ago. I first saw her in my Mesa, AZ Chiropractic Clinic approximately 3 1/2 years ago where we discovered a possible beginning to her fibromyalgia. Our treatment, which included whole food nutrition / supplementation, chiropractic therapy and massage (very gently I must add) began immediately. The process was expectantly slow but after one year Angie’s pain intensity fell from a frequent 7 to 9 out of 10 to an occasional 2 to 3. She went several weeks, even nearly two months without pain or her other multiple symptoms. After the completion of her second year of treatment she had been pain free for over 5 months. During her third year of chiropractic and nutritional care she had fibromyalgia like symptoms only once for one week; during the cold and flu season. She continues to be pain free and over 90% of her other fibromyalgia related symptoms have resolved.

However, in medicine, chiropractic and science you can never proclaim a permanent victory in recovery and you must “never say never” to a cure. One can be permanently cured from an illness like fibromyalgia or from any cause of chronic pain but their must be caution in proclaiming it so. Cancers return many years later for example or, illness or injury may open up a reoccurrence of any previous illness; including fibromyalgia or chronic pain. But cures do happen sometimes.

Hope is so important to the chronically ill. When in pain, you must never give up hope for a cure. Yet you must also learn to cope properly with your illness while searching for that possible cure for you! Never give up and never give in to your illness; whether it is fibromyalgia, arthritis, neuropathy or any cause of chronic pain.

When necessary, medications can be beneficial in controlling pain. However, prolonged use of almost all medications has the potential for serious long term consequences. These may contribute in the long run to an increase in your perception of pain and limit your body’s ability to provide its own miraculous healing capabilities! I believe in the use of whole food nutrition and other non pharmaceutical means to strengthen you and your body’s pain fighting capabilities.

To learn more about natural healing, search the internet for articles that may give you an idea or two on how to cope or discover a possible cure your chronic pain. Seek the advice of a chiropractic or medical physician that has training in the use of whole food nutrition or you may read about the use of chiropractic, whole food nutrition, balance, exercise, massage, drug toxicity, environmental causes of fibromyalgia and many more articles of interest found in my blog.

Most importantly, remember not to ever “give up or give in” to your chronic pain! There is a chance that you will find your specific answers to the question: Chronic pain – cope or cure. (May I suggest you can successfully have both!)

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