Daily joint and body aches; looking beyond Fibromyalgia for effective solutions
During an informal conversation, a woman was explaining about how she needed to constantly had to work out or she suffered greatly from Fibromyalgia. As she understood it, since it made all the joints in her body ache and she had terrible neck and shoulder pain, exercise was important to stay out of pain.
She explained that at times, her business made it difficult for her to exercise regularly and the pain would come back with a vengeance. Apparently, her mother, had similar problems but worse.
Fibromyalgia (FM) is a disorder classified by the presence of chronic widespread pain and tactile abnormal pain sensitivity. An example is a person who perceives light pressure or the movement of clothes over the skin as painful, whereas a healthy individual will not feel pain (Excerpted from Cheating Mother Nature; What you need to know to beat chronic pain) .
While we spoke, even with her high heeled shoes, she had a right foot that turned out as compared to the other side. This is an inherited trait. She also had a right shoulder that rolled in and as she stood, her body naturally rotated right.
After suggesting she bend her knees, her right hip dipped down as well which suggested that mechanically, there were significant problems.
This is not an unusual story, especially since there are millions of people who have been classified as having Fibromyalgia. The problem is that Fibromyalgia is nothing more than a classification created by the American Board of Rheumatology around 1990 attempting to make chronic pain more tangible to their colleagues by classifying it as a disease entity. More easily explained, it is an attempt to explain chronic pain in a medical fashion. You can read more about this in Cheating Mother Nature; What you need to know to beat chronic pain Pg 65-78.
Now, after the classification and the criteria with tender points (see diagram), a static non-functional model was now available for the average health care practitioner to be able to classify and perhaps treat the entity.
The problem is, that in most cases, this is a functional and mechanical problem that is inherited, rather than a pain regulation problem with most people who are classified this way. The classification with sleep deprivation, tender points and pain regulation anomalies is so broad, that many people who have a functional problem that can be helped by other methods of treatment are often misunderstood, and eventually give into the fact that they may need to live with it since nothing seems to relieve it other than perhaps exercise, relating this back of course to the woman in the story.
Myofascial pain syndrome is more appropriate a description for those who have this and these people if diagnosed and treated properly can markedly improve. The problem is of course, how do you treat this effectively and what is being treated.
At the top of the list is body style and how we hold ourselves. We inherit certain traits and walk like others in our family do. If you are built asymmetrically, you will compensate with an asymmetrical gait and as a result, the body will distort your core muscles over time. This results in muscular tightness, joint strain throughout the body and chronic pain. You can read more about this concept here
Since this is a mechanical problem, rather than a disease, it requires a mechanical solution. In other words, we need a device that can create symmetry. That device is worn in your shoes and is called an orthotic. You can ask your healthcare professional about these devices and they can be as simple as something you buy from a store (not Doctor Scholl), or as complex as a custom insert your doctor recommends and castes. The effect is that we cheat mother nature or we change the way your body works while you wear them. If the devices are appropriate for you (they are not for everyone and since we are all built differently, you may need the help of a healthcare professional to get the right device).
Once you get the right device, this is one small part of how you improve the body, and begin feeling an improvement in your pain.
Another important component is addressing how the core and your body mechanics works through muscle work (Myofascial release treatment including Active Release Techniques ®, instrument assisted soft tissue treatment) which in the right qualified hands can markedly improve how the body works.
A third component is retraining the musculature after it has been sufficiently loosened and moving toward a new normal.
These are proven steps in reducing or eliminating chronic pain often called Fibromyalgia. You can read more about this approach in Cheating Mother Nature, What you need to know to beat chronic pain.
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