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Your Pain Is Real – What Is Fibromyalgia, Part 1

Does your body hurt? Do you feel hyper-sensitive? Do your muscles often feel tired? Do you have general fatigue? Do suffer from depression[1] or sleep problems? If your answers are yes, you may have Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS), a condition that in years past was often simply called arthritis. Until our recent vets returned from war, 90% of the FMS suffers were women, and 90% of them had jaw or facial pain.[2]

Because symptoms vary and are often systemic, FMS is difficult to diagnosis. And because the symptoms and cause reside in the soft tissue,  there is no test that confirms you have FMS.

Years ago, when I had my clinic in Scottsdale, AZ, I had a client who spent a week at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale going through every test they could give her. At the end of the week, the best they could do was send her to their psychiatrist. When I told her she hadn’t imagined the pain, that yes, it was real, she began to cry. When I could touch her trigger points, she smiled and said, “If you can see it, then it must be real.”

Understanding and treating FMS can be simple. Your body’s response to chronic stress is to get tense in such a way that your muscles ache; you are wound up and exhausted at the same time from being in a constant survival state. When you release the stress in your life, your habituation to being stuck in the stress (survival) response and the consequential chronic tension in your soft tissue, your body will get well.

To the extent your body is stuck in survival, your resources are oriented to surviving not healing. The catch here is this: we are so accustomed to the stress, we don’t realize it’s there. We just feel the effect of it.

Physicians sent their FMS patients to my clinic. The therapies and nutritional programs that worked for other patients would often not work for the FMS patients. But once we released their chronic stress, the body immediately started healing.

Fascia is the connective tissue that surrounds muscles and organs. It is the organ of stress. Over time, the fascia will go from being Spandex to shoe leather. With fascia’s high nerve innervation, it’s no wonder the tensest areas are the most painful.

Fascia will contract under stress, as seen in a crisis when you need superhuman strength.[3] It will also do that under constant stress. With never a chance to release, the fascia locks in that tension. Biopsies show excessive collagen (the protein in fascia) in tense bodies.[4]

Stress can also come from chronic illness. The body’s attempt to deal with Lyme’s Disease can cause FMS symptoms. The stress of nutritional deficiencies, such as not enough protein, can be a co-cause. There is more research coming out how wheat and possibly other grains can bring on FMS.[5]

Next week we will discuss what you can do.

[1] CDC, 2009

[2] Fibromyalgia Network, 1999

[3] Arthritis and Rheumatlogy, April 2000

[4] Ibid.

[5] Rheumatol Int., 2014 Apr 12

Owen Marcus, MA Certified Advanced Rolfer & author,, 37 yrs experience – call if you have questions: 265.8440.

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