One of the most common chronic pain conditions, fibromyalgia, is sometimes dismissed as a psychological problem by untrained physicians. But if you’re one of an estimated 10 million Americans suffering from fibromyalgia, it’s all too real.
“Medicine has a long history of dealing with complex illnesses … by saying 'I don't know what's wrong with you so you're crazy,’ ” said Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, a board-certified internist and author of “The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution: The Essential Guide to Overcoming Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia, Made Easy!”
“For example, multiple sclerosis used to be called hysterical paralysis, and lupus and rheumatoid arthritis were considered neuroses. More recently, this has been going on with fibromyalgia."
But hundreds of studies have shown that fibromyalgia is real and can be devastating to sufferers, he adds.According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fibromyalgia causes widespread pain, sleep problems, fatigue, and frequently psychological distress.
The good news it can be treated. Teitelbaum has developed a five-step approach to treat the condition known as the “SHINE” protocol.
- Sleep: Aim to get between eight and nine hours of sleep per night to help restore your body.
- Hormones: Checking hormone levels for deficiencies can improve symptoms for some.
- Infections: Underlying viral, bacterial, bowel, sinus, and yeast infections can add to fibromyalgia complications.
- Nutrition: Proper nutrition, from a healthy diet and supplements, can ensure the body gets the right amount of vitamins and minerals to function well.
- Exercise: Walking for just 30 minutes a day can help ease symptoms.
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