Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain – The Latest Science

If you suf­fer from chron­ic pain or fibromyal­gia you don’t need a doc­tor to tell you how debil­i­tat­ing it can be.  You ache all over, your ener­gy is flat, your mood could be low, and you have trou­ble sleep­ing.  You could have oth­er aggra­vat­ing symp­toms too.

You’re look­ing for almost any solu­tion to get relief from your aches, give you a lit­tle more ener­gy, and just help you feel a bit bet­ter about life.

Doc­tors can get frus­trat­ed try­ing to treat peo­ple with fibromyal­gia.  But over the past 20 years the med­ical world has final­ly come to acknowl­edge a group of patients who have dif­fi­cult-to-explain, gen­er­al­ized pain — what’s now called fibromyal­gia.  And it’s an area that’s active­ly being researched.

Of course, the drug com­pa­nies are fund­ing lots of the research, and their focus is find­ing the next mag­i­cal drug to reduce the symp­toms.  Equal­ly impor­tant­ly, our basic sci­en­tif­ic under­stand­ing of the con­di­tion – and how it can be treat­ed nat­u­ral­ly — con­tin­ues to grow.

Prob­a­bly no one under­stands your con­di­tion bet­ter than you your­self do.  But to help you relate your inner expe­ri­ence to cur­rent sci­en­tif­ic knowl­edge, I’ve sum­ma­rized some high­lights of the emerg­ing med­ical con­sen­sus about fibromyal­gia and chron­ic pain.

  1. Peo­ple with fibromyal­gia have wide­spread pain that just won’t go away.  And the pain isn’t con­ve­nient­ly explained by a spe­cif­ic med­ical con­di­tion or injury.
  2. In addi­tion to pain, there are many oth­er symp­toms that can occur – non-rest­ful sleep, low mood, lack of ener­gy, diges­tive prob­lems, and much more.
  3. Fibromyal­gia isn’t a homo­ge­neous con­di­tion – every­one is dif­fer­ent.
  4. tender fibromyalgia pointsThe stan­dard def­i­n­i­tion of fibromyal­gia requires that you have ten­der­ness at 11 or more (out of 18) sam­ple points on the body.  But we know that this def­i­n­i­tion is over-sim­pli­fied and arbi­trary.  Ten­der­ness varies from day to day and even moment to moment.  There’s noth­ing sacred about the num­ber 11.  And there’s a lot more to fibromyal­gia than just ten­der points.
  5. There are genet­ic fac­tors that put you at risk of devel­op­ing fibromyal­gia.  If you have a genet­ic pre­dis­po­si­tion, fibromyal­gia can be trig­gered by a spe­cif­ic event — such as phys­i­cal trau­ma, chem­i­cal expo­sure, expe­ri­ence of a trau­mat­ic event, extreme emo­tion, reac­tion to med­ica­tion, a viral infec­tion, or oth­er vari­a­tions.
  6. Fibromyal­gia over­laps with many oth­er syn­dromes, such as chron­ic pain, chron­ic fatigue, mul­ti­ple chem­i­cal sen­si­tiv­i­ties, irri­ta­ble bow­el, inter­sti­tial cys­ti­tis, post-trau­mat­ic stress, depres­sion, sleep dis­or­ders, arthri­tis, and more.brain scan
  7. These con­di­tions are begin­ning to be under­stood as exam­ples of CSS (cen­tral sen­si­tiv­i­ty syn­drome). That means that fibromyal­gia and these relat­ed prob­lems involve an altered state of brain pro­cess­ing. The ner­vous sys­tem becomes over­ly sen­si­tized to pain sig­nals – the pain starts to take on a life of its own inde­pen­dent of any orig­i­nal source.
  8. What that means is that you can’t point to a spe­cif­ic anatom­i­cal spot and say – aha! – there’s the prob­lem.  Even though all your body parts seem to be intact, your sys­tem isn’t func­tion­ing well over­all.

Learn more about fibromyal­gia and chron­ic pain in Part 2.


Deepen Your Body of Knowledge

Part 2 of Fibromyal­gia and Chron­ic Pain

Dr. Lavine’s Ten Step Pro­gram to Con­quer Chron­ic Ill­ness

Mul­ti­ple Chem­i­cal Sen­si­tiv­i­ty Syn­drome

Dr. Lavine’s Detox 2014




About Ronald Lavine, D.C.

Dr. Lavine has more than thirty five years' experience helping patients alleviate pain and restore health using diverse, scientifically-based manual therapy and therapeutic exercise and alignment methods. His website,, provides more information about his approach. Please contact him at or at 212-400-9663.
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