First some Announcements
1 Starting Tuesday December 13, 2011 a Telephone Support and Education Group.
The telephone support group will be a safe, warm and supportive environment for people to talk about their issues with Fibro or anything for that matter. There will also be info and tips to make your fibro life easier. You’ll be able to meet people, make new friends and be with non-judgmental people. The tone will be uplifting, affirmative and positive. The idea is to learn, to find some joy and to leave feeling good about yourselves. I (Dr. Martin) will also speak on a topic (can be your suggestions and or my choice) and there will be plenty of time for questions and answers. The nice part is that after the teleconference, an audio copy will be e-mailed to you within 24 hours. The hours will be:
Every Tuesday: 6 PM Pacific
7 PM Mountain
8 PM Central
9 PM Eastern
Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll fill you in on the rest of the details. Remember that with cell phones or Skype, even long distance calls are pennies these days. Take a positive step
2 Ezine: I’ve decided to start an FREE ezine (this is an e-mail newsletter), which will contain all the Fibro Tips and Fibro facts I had posted daily during the week. Also the blogs.
This is because I realize many of you are not on the Facebook page every day and might miss the day’s tips and facts or miss the blog which is published every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
All you have to do is send me your e-mail address to email@example.com and write ezine in the description (also your full name) and I’ll send them out every Friday afternoon. Remember this is free!
I can’t accept your request by Facebook message as it gets too complicated, just e-mail me, again firstname.lastname@example.org and write ezine in the description.
Fibromyalgia Questions And Answers Part 5
23 I’m on many different meds for my fibro, how often, if any, should I have myself checked by a doctor?
In an age of “Managed care” which I think of as mismanaged care, the emphasis is on saving money and containing costs. Many insurance companies denied this, but PPO’s are really not insurance companies per se but businesses, therefore things always seem like a fight. Remember that the number one goal of a business is to make money and show a profit. Meds used for Fibromyalgia, though there have never been any developed to date, are strong and do affect the organs. This is why it is absolutely essential to have your blood and urine checked every three months minimum. I don’t care what your doctor might say, if he/she says something different, they are wrong. You must have a CBC (a complete blood count), a basic chem panel (testing for enzymes and other chemicals which show the health of organs including the liver), and a U.A. (urinalysis) which shows the health of the kidney. In reality these tests are not that expensive. Insist on it, yell, make a scene, you must have them done every three months. If still no, get another doctor.
24 My doctor says I must force myself to exercise every day, even if I’m in a lot of pain. Is this true?
Yes and No, firstly, pain is a signal that something is wrong in your body. If you’re pain is bad and you can’t exercise, don’t. More importantly exercise is important but the key is never to push yourself. You might have to start slowly with some stretching for perhaps 15 seconds the first day, than up to 1/2 a minute. Start with only one part of your body i.e. the arm or the leg. In time you can increase to more. If you experience a flare, you’ve done too much wait for the flare to subside and cut down the time… It must be a slow step by step program. In time you’ll be able to do more. For those who push it and then are on your back for 2 days, than push it again and again are on your back for 2 days, you are doing more harm than good. When you push it yourself, you are ripping fibrous tissue, which is painful, but you are also allowing a lot of lactic acid into re-enter the body, hence the flare. Go slow, step by step; if you’ve been sick for a while, it might take you months before you can start walking or doing other exercises for any period of time, but have patience, it will come. This will not cure the fibro but will keep your muscles from atrophying and keep your body healthier.
25 My doctor recommended I attend a pain program at the hospital, what is your view on this.
This is only my opinion, but from what I’ve seen at the local pain programs, I’ve found them to be useless for people with Fibromyalgia. People are generally interviewed by a psychologist to see if they have any addictive tendencies. This is a joke, because no matter how non-addictive your personality might be, if you take a med such as Vicodin or OxyContin, you will become physically and psychologically addicted over a period of time. Some studies suggest 5 days of the meds and the addiction, on a physical level is underway. Many times people will be told that they have to accept their pain. Again, I disagree as the people saying this do not have pain. There are things you can do to lessen it, but once accepted, you are in a sense giving up. Another approach in these programs is to than try different meds, some in combination and some by themselves, so in a sense you are being experimented on. Admittedly, some programs will talk about breathing exercises; meditation etc and these can be helpful. Lastly, many times they will than suggest a support group, but you must be careful as you don’t want a group which contains whining complaining people. The group should be uplifting, affirmative and positive. Remember, that these are my opinions from the patients I’ve seen and spoken with and from the programs I’ve witnessed. It is not that the doctors or others running these programs are bad; it’s just that Fibromyalgia is such a puzzle to them that they honestly don’t know what to do with it and therefore, they are clutching at straws. Probably the strangest pain program I witnessed was where patients came every morning and large q-tips dipped in liquid benzoylmethylecgonine (the chemical term for Cocaine) was placed up their noses into the sinuses, where certain main nerve clusters are. Of course the pain dropped. These patients would not only show up daily, but fight to be first in line for this treatment. I believe that this is insanity and I’m not sure if the program is still being used. The other side of the coin is that I’ve spoken to some (not many) who say that they did benefit from their pain programs, but more in a psychological way. They felt a bit calmer and more accepting of their illness and perhaps this is good.
26 What is your view on Psychotherapy?
I’m all for it, I believe it is very helpful and I always recommend that my patients when they are finally fibro free see a psychologist or therapist to help them make the transition from a sick life to a healthy Fibro Free life. after all, when you’ve been sick for years or decades, you forget what it feels like to be healthy next, therapy helps these patients to re-integrate themselves back into society (as we know, fibromyalgia is so isolating), and third it helps to rebuild self confidence, which the fibro monster is so good at destroying. For those who have Fibro, a good therapist is worth their weight in gold. They can help you to come to terms and deal with all the emotional issues that are so common with fibromyalgia. This includes, isolation, relationships with family and friends, knowing that you have an illness etc. A therapist is not there to cure you, but to help you understand, emotionally what is going on and to provide effective tools to deal with the many fibro issue. It is very important to find a therapist who has a lot of experience with chronic painful illnesses, not all do. This means that you might have to try a few or many therapists until you find the right one. Don’t hesitate to speak to the therapist by phone for 10 minutes to get a feel for them. Ask them about their experience in dealing with fibro, this is not disrespectful, but essential. If this therapist doesn’t feel right, move on. If you find a therapist you feel comfortable with but after a session or two, you begin to feel uncomfortable, or your instinct says that he/she is not right, again move on. Ultimately you will find the right one.
27 There are so many types of Psychotherapy, which is the right one?
This is a question I cannot answer. True there are many different types and approaches, from the very traditional to the more eclectic to the more modern and everything in between. Also, what works for one might not be suitable for another as people are so different with different needs? The current popular buzz word is cognitive Behavioral Therapy, but that is just what’s popular now. It certainly might not be in 10 years and this does not mean that it is the right one for you. It all depends on the therapist, their skill and their experience. I would say that a psychologist who immediately wants’ you on meds might not be the right one as you’re on so many meds, (the most common fibro meds being antidepressants). The emphasis has to be on “Talk Psychotherapy”.
Dr. Gene Martin, D.C.
Fibromyalgia Relief Center of the Bay Area
520 South El Camino Real, Ste 520
San Mateo Ca. 94402