Men with Fibro JOSEPH’S STORY

This entry is part of a series, Men with Fibro»

Courtesy of Dominie Bush
In 1976, I had a dental crown for one tooth, two wisdom teeth filled and a partial denture plate replaced with a permanent bridge affixed by way of caps on both eyeteeth. This was a procedure that lasted for several hours. Yes, it was all done in one session.

As far as I have been able to remember, this was the beginning of my FMS path. I was subsequently treated for several disorder/symptoms—ulcers, spastic colon, irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis, gout, depression, hypertension, allergies, sinusitis, tinitis and more that I do not recall. (Perhaps that is the ‘brain fog’ of FMS or just the result of all those ineffective meds doctors had previously prescribed.)

I had just been through two six-week sessions of physical therapy to no avail. The cat scan showed my rheumatoid specialist that I had arthritis in my thumbs—about the only place that did not hurt! I told him what my personal opinion was and never set foot in that office again. Approaching despair, I looked forward to the day I would be eligible for early retirement. At least I would no longer have that stress added to not knowing why I hurt all the time in most places.

My general practitioner doctor had been of no help and I had little faith in neither chiropractic treatment nor osteopathy. An osteopathic doctor friend suggested trying chiropractic. He admitted he had taken only what was required in his schooling and never used manipulation in his practice. (A frank doctor? Yes, there is at least one, though he no longer has a private practice. He could not tolerate the insurance companies control on what he felt was needed for his patients.)

A physical therapy assistant had advised me that she had known several patients who had found some relief of pain by using acupressure. She recommended a tennis ball in a sock. The sock was to allow one to get the tennis ball between you and a solid surface. Find the sorest spot and lean on it for ten seconds or so. She said there were a number of spots that frequently sore and acupressure on these often brought relief, if only temporary.

So, seven years + ago, I began a search via the internet for a name or names to put to my aches and pains. In searching for information about pressure points and hopefully a diagram to guide me, I ran across articles, postings, etc. discussing FMS. WOW, could this be it?

My doctor, bless his soul, knew next to nothing about FMS but said I could not have that. Only women had it and it was usually not the real answer. Something else was the cause. So, with little left to loose I followed the advice of one of the articles I had read. I went to a chiropractor. After a couple of weeks I did feel better for a couple of days following each adjustment. Then I brought up FMS with him. He sidestepped the issue for a while but I kept bringing him printouts about FMS and chiropractic treatment. He finally said that, if he had to put a name to my problems, it would be fibromyalgia syndrome. He did not want to be accused of practicing medicine without a license by making a medical diagnosis.

So back to my GP, I went with my printouts.. He said, ultimately, that I might have FMS since none of the other tests showed anything else. About a year later, it became a definite diagnosis. So, drugs of various types were tried over the next two years or so until I reached the magic date whereby I could take full retirement. I jumped at it and soon moved to Mexico where it was warm almost year round. I continued my internet searching and ultimately decided that I would try another pill. Generic cyclobenzaprin was available and my search had lead me to believe this to be the least addictive/least detrimental/least side effect potential of all the pills on the market.

Cyclobenzaprin is known generally by the trade name of Flexoril. It is used as a muscle relaxant for most people. For FMS sufferers, it seems to help that but also acts as a seratonin re-uptake inhibitor. In other words, as I understand it, the natural seratonin created by the body is reabsorbed too rapidly to be of full use to the FMS sufferer. So, REM sleep is difficult to maintain, if achieved. Well, I did sleep better. I only woke about three times per night instead of ten or more times. Returning to sleep was also easier.

I hate taking PILLS. I just have never trusted the chemical/pharmaceutical industry. So, I have returned to the internet in an attempt to find an alternative. I found much more information available on the web and a few newer options that were natural or semi-natural origin. OPC was one of the buzzwords. Immune Balancing Formulas, Glyconutrient products, super antioxidants, and on. So much of it was not available to me because the companies would not ship to Mexico. But in truth, it all sounded like the spiel of the fabled snake oil salesman.

So, I try a modest exercise program, walk two miles or more per day, and at bedtime take acetaminophen (Ibuprophan makes the ringing in my ears worse and will keep me awake) and cyclobenzaprin, both in as modest amounts as I have found I can get along with. What to try next?

A new but dear friend tells of the life she had until eight years ago. She was processing a disability claim from her wheel chair. Her house was being retrofitted for the handicapped with ramps, rails, and a new bath. She thought she would have to live the rest of her FMS life from a wheel chair. Then she was guided into trying one of the natural supplement regimens. For her it worked. She continues with the maintenance level of the supplements and now leads a full and active life without any of the FMS symptoms. Hmmm, maybe this is not the snake oil salesman’s patter. I am still searching the web for info and results achieved by others. Maybe I’ll try this one. No decision on this yet.

Courtesy of Dominie Bush

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