Mesa AZ Chiropractic Archive

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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.

 

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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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The Important Role of Magnesium and Calcium in Fibromyalgia

The Important Role of Magnesium and Calcium in Fibromyalgia

There have been many research articles written about the important role of Magnesium and calcium in fibromyalgia. I am not going to attempt to add or replace the research findings but to explain why calcium and magnesium need to be properly given to the fibromyalgia sufferer. Too much calcium or too much magnesium can diminish the positive effects these minerals have in controlling fibromyalgia.

In my Mesa, AZ chiropractic clinic we recommend both calcium and magnesium to our fibromyalgia patients; but not equally in dosage and in every case! There is a reason for this. Even though every chiropractor learns the value and use of vitamins and minerals for the prevention of illness and healing of disease in chiropractic school, not every chiropractor is qualified to properly administer these. For that manner, neither are most medical doctors. So why is it then that if calcium and magnesium are so important to our bodies and knowing that there is an important role of magnesium and calcium in fibromyalgia, that doctors, chiropractic and medical, are not properly administering these minerals to their patients?

It’s complicated! But as a chiropractic physician, professor of nutrition and clinical nutritionist I will attempt to simplify it the best that I can.

Calcium and magnesium are essential minerals that are most often imbalanced in people suffering from chronic illness like fibromyalgia. When these minerals are not properly balanced between themselves, havoc can occur inside your body. For example, your heart rate can become too rapid, too slow and too irregular. Your heart can also beat too hard or too weak due to these imbalances.

When I perform a chiropractic / nutritional examination on my fibromyalgia patients I will most often take their blood pressure and pulse. If I find any variation from a normal heart rhythm and heart strength I can highly suspect that calcium and magnesium are imbalanced. (There can be other causes as well but that is another subject I won’t discuss here in this article.)

Calcium is responsible for the ability of the heart muscle to contact; pushing blood throughout the body. Magnesium on the other hand relaxes the heart muscle after a contraction, allowing blood to flow back to the heart. When a heart is experiencing a rapid heart rate, this can be due to too little calcium or too little magnesium. But if the rapid heart rate also has a weak pulse then I know that magnesium is dominant and that calcium is needed. Likewise, if the heart pulse is rapid and strong, then magnesium is needed.

One final thought: an irregular heart rhythm is often due to thyroid problems. Many fibromyalgia sufferers have thyroid issues too. The use of certain whole food vitamins like Vitamin B5, are frequently required along with the correct amount of calcium and magnesium to normalize heart rhythm and strength. When at all possible, seek out the advice of a competent clinical nutritionist, chiropractic physician  or medical professional before beginning any vitamin / mineral therapy.

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The Fibromyalgia Garden

Plant a seed of hope, a seed of gratitude, a seed of life.

The Fibromyalgia Garden

Is there really such a thing as a fibromyalgia garden?

I have been gardening for some time now. I wish that I could say that I am good at it but the truth of the matter is that I am not. But I love to do it and I find it helpful in controlling the aches and pains of my fibromyalgia.  That is why I call it my fibromyalgia garden; a garden that helps with my fibromyalgia.

For those who suffer with fibromyalgia, the symptoms can vary in intensity and duration. And, the symptoms themselves can change. Yet it is safe to say that for most, fibromyalgia produces aches and pains that can be annoying at least and debilitating at most. Also, it produces a great deal of fatigue. Sensitivity to heat and cold is another problem that fibromyalgia survivors have.

So how does working in my garden help me, especially when I have to deal with all of the symptoms of fibromyalgia? This is how it helps. (Now remember fibromyalgia is different for everyone but don’t rule out gardening to help your fibromyalgia without hearing me out first.)

1. Physical Stimulation – As I mentioned, I am not a great gardener. I have so much to learn but because I have the space and the desire to garden, I find it a healthy challenge for me. Physically, I get to move my stiff and achy body for a good cause; weeding! Getting up and down from the ground is not always easy to do but the action of doing this stimulates more than my muscles, it stimulates my nerves, joints, lymphatic’s and blood.

I try to garden two to three times a week. I live here in beautiful and very sunny Arizona so an added benefit I receive from gardening for my fibromyalgia is plenty of vitamin D from the sun! And, as you can imagine, I sweat a lot too! Sweating helps to cleanse my body from excess and inactive minerals, which I replace daily with a healthy vitamin and mineral rich morning shake.

2. Emotional stimulation – There is something about getting out into the sunlight and receiving its powerful light and energy. Call it metaphysical or spiritual, or whatever you choose but I call it enhancing. (Getting too much sunlight is called a sun stroke!) The sun’s rays are the force behind life. All living things, plants, insects and animals, need sunlight to survive AND TO THRIVE! (I know there are some deep water creatures and plants that can survive without sunlight but have you seen how ugly and deformed they look? I choose the sun.) It makes me feel better when I get out of the house or clinic and get into the outdoors.

Growing a plant from a seed or even a starter plant is both challenging and rewarding. There are many obstacles that get in the way of the plant’s growth. This is metaphorical of our own lives, isn’t it? With fibromyalgia, there too are so many obstacles that get in the way of our personal growth. When I fail to help a plant survive or thrive, I am disappointed. Yet, I also learn from the experience. What did I fail to do? Too much water or not enough? Did I give the plant (think metaphorically now) too much or not enough nutrients? Did I give it the right nutrients? What about sunlight; too much or too little? I personally learn about myself and my patients when I garden. Can you see how?

3. Spiritual Stimulation – When I am successful growing tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, or whatever it may be, I know that I have provided my family and me the healthiest, freshest produce available and, at the same time, I have helped to feed the world just a little bit. That makes me happy and grateful. Gratitude for what I have accomplished makes me think less about my problems and focus more on helping others. Perhaps this is the greatest source of strength and vitality for me; helping others.

Growing a garden, a fibromyalgia garden if you may, can be a help to you too. I hope that you will give it a try. Start small and simple as there is no need to  stress yourself, nor hurt yourself attempting to grow a big garden. It’s just not necessary. Using growing pots might be a good place to begin, but start today to plant a seed; a seed of hope, a seed of gratitude, a seed of life!

 

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Pain from a lumbar herniated disc

Spinal disc protrusion or lumbar herniated disc  is a common condition we see here in our Mesa AZ chiropractic clinic and we can help the pain go away!.  The human spinal column consists of a series of vertebral bones.  Spinal disc is a cartilage consisting of an outer ligament layer called the annulus fibrous and a soft, jelly like substance in the middle surrounded by the annulus fibrous called the nucleus pulposis.  The spinal discs function as a shock absorber between each of the vertebral bones.  The spinal disc protects the spinal cord from the stress of our daily activities such as in heavy lifting.  It also helps to maintain flexibility of the spine.

A disc protrusion/lumbar herniated disc could be caused by trauma or injury. It can be an age-related degenerated change due to the loss of the water content inside the nucleus pulposis.  Each of these may lead to the tearing of the outer annulus fibrous allowing the jelly like nucleus pulposis to shift outward, pinch the spinal nerve root nearby, produce pain, numbness tingling and muscle weakness of the low back and lower extremities.  Common signs and symptoms of disc protrusion or lumbar herniated disc include:

  • Mild to severe pain in the low back
  • Numbness, radiated pain and weakness of buttock, legs and feet
  • Shooting pain  when coughing or sneezing
  • Back spasms

In our Mesa AZ chiropractic clinic, we combine chiropractic adjustment, physiotherapy and therapeutic exercises  for chiropractic patients with a lumber herniated disc.  As a Mesa AZ chiropractor, I teach my patients with lumbar herniated disc home exercises to relief pain and improve recovery of their low back.  There are three exercises for lumbar herniated discs I would like to share with you here:

The first exercise is called “Prop-up on stomach”, also known as pre-cobra exercises.  Patients lie on their stomach, prop up on their elbow.  Hold the position for about 2 minutes.  For some elder patients if this is too difficult or too much bending backward, they can put a pillow right under their chest with their elbows prop up on the pillow, which gives them support and they could just slightly maintain the prop-up position.  (See below)

The second exercise is called “cobra exercises” or “press-up on stomach”.  This is a press up on the stomach position, a continuation of “prop-up on stomach”  Patients start with the same position as the pre-cobra exercises mentioned above, keep the waist and leg flat with the ground, and bring their back up with elbow straight.  Hold the position for about 1- 2 seconds and down, then repeat several times.  It is suggested clinically hold up to 5 seconds for each repetition and up to 20 repetitions.  (See below)

The third one is called standing back bend.  This is a great exercise for patients who work all day long with lumbar herniated disc.  Patents stand straight, holding their waist with both hands, and bend backward.  An alternation is to put their hands on wall, perform same bend backward, also can be recognized as “take your belly button toward the wall”  Hold about 1 – 2 minutes.  (See below)

The idea behind these 3 exercises is to press the lumbar herniated disc, and move it forward away from the spinal nerve, relieve the symptom down to the leg and feet, and create negative pressure inside the annulus fiber to increase the absorption of the protrusion  lumbar disc.  Normally during these exercises patient will feel the symptoms from the leg goes up to the back, which is called centralization (which indicates you are on the right track of recovery)  Stop the exercises immediately if you feel your symptom is getting worst.

As a Mesa, AZ Doctor of Chiropractic, I see chiropractic patients with lumbar herniated disc conditions by using chiropractic, physiotherapy and therapeutic exercises.   If you have any questions about the above exercises, please contact me.  As your Chiropractor, my goal is to work with you and help to reach your goal of health. Call today and schedule an appointment for an evaluation and chiropractic consultation.

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