What You Eat Affects Your Health – Part 2

Announcement

I have created a free DVD with Tips and The Do’s and Don’ts for People with Fibromyalgia. The idea is to help improve your quality of life. Go to my web page at http://www.drgenemartin.com for details.

Some Recipes from Illa

Banana Popsicles

A delicious low sugar, dairy-free sweet treat, similar to ice cream

Ingredients

Three bananas

1 cup nut or rice milk

2 teaspoons of unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)

 

Directions

Put all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until liquid.

Pour into a Popsicle mold or an ice cube tray and freeze for two hours, or until solid. If you would like little handles for your popsicles, wrap the tray in saran wrap after pouring, and poke toothpicks into each section.

 

 

Gluten Free Pancakes

(can also be used to make waffles)

 

Make a bunch during the weekend and freeze them for a quick breakfast.

Serves 6

Ingredients

2 cups rice flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

A pinch of salt

1 tablespoon of flax seed

3 eggs

1/4 cup of nut or cow’s milk, or enough to make the batter thick

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon vanilla (optional)

Butter or coconut oil to grease pan and top pancakes

 

Directions

Combine all dry ingredients and mix.

 Combine eggs, oil and water

Mix wet into dry ingredients

Oil cast iron or stainless steel pan put on medium heat.

Ladle about 1/2 cup of better on pan small pancakes onto the pan.  Turn the pancakes when bubbles form on the edges and cook for another minute. Enjoy with berry sauce and butter!

 

Broiled Chicken and root vegetables

 

A quick, satisfying meal

Serves 3

 

Ingredients

One of each of the following: yams, parsnip and cauliflower

Approximately 1 lb of chicken breast, cut into 1 inch strips

2 tablespoons of oil

1 tablespoon of oregano

1/4 teaspoon of salt

 

Directions

Preheat broiler to low

Cut the vegetables into ½ inch thick coins and place in bowl with chicken strips.

Place in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil, oregano and salt. Coat your food evenly by mixing it with your hands.  You can add more oil or seasoning as needed.

Arrange vegetables and meat in a single layer on a cookie sheet and broil for 12 minutes, or slightly brown.

 

 

Middle Eastern Bean Soup

 

 

Serves 8

1 cup of brown rice

1 cup dried kidney beans

½ yellow onion, chopped

2 teaspoon of cumin

1 teaspoon of paprika

1 teaspoon of turmeric

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 carrots, chopped

2 sticks of celery, chopped

3 cups of organic chicken or vegetable broth

3 cups of water

2 cups of kale, chopped

Juice of ½ of a lemon

Sea salt to taste

 

Directions:

Soak the beans and rice

Combine beans and rice and soak overnight in 3 cups of water. The beans and rice will expand overnight and absorb much of the water. Discard any remaining soaking water.

Making the soup

Sautee onion and spices in olive oil until onions are translucent. Add beans, rice, water, broth, carrots and celery to the pot and allow to cook for 30 minutes. Add kale, lemon juice a teaspoon of salt and cook for another 15 minutes. Taste and add additional salt as needed. 

 

 

Chinese Coleslaw

 

Serves 3

 

Ingredients

 

1 ½ cups of green cabbage, shredded

2 carrots, grated

1 tablespoon of rice vinegar

1 tablespoon of sesame oil

¼ teaspoon of salt

1 tablespoon of dulse flakes

 

Directions

Place prepared cabbage and carrots in a bowl. Add rice vinegar, sesame oil, dulse flakes, and salt and toss thoroughly.

 

 

 

Winter Squash soup

Serves 8

1 tbs olive oil

½ a yellow onion

1/3 cup of mushrooms, chopped

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning blend

2 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled and minced

Juice of ¼ of a lemon.

4 cloves of garlic

1 large bunch of cilantro, chopped

1 turnip, peeled and chopped (can substitute with parsnips or rutabagas)

3 cups chicken broth

3 cups water

1 large butternut or two acorn squash (other winter squash can be substituted)

Sea salt to taste

 

 

 

Directions:

Cook the squash:

Cut squash in half with a heavy knife and steam in a large lidded pot with a steamer tray and two cups of water. Squash will be cooked after approximately 30 minutes or when it appears slightly soft when poked with a fork. An alternative cooking method is to place the squash on a cookie sheet and baking it at 350 for 45 minutes.  Remove squash from heat and let it cool enough to handle, at least 15 minutes. It’s fine to leave the squash to cool on the stove for several hours before making the soup. You don’t have to cook it in a single stretch of time.

Making the soup:

Sautee onion, mushrooms and Italian seasoning in a large pot until onions are translucent.

Add broth and water. Discard seeds out of the squash cavity with a spoon, and then scoop the flesh of the squash in the pot. It should be fairly soft and you can pull apart the pieces of squash to help it disperse in the liquid. Add all remaining ingredients except the salt and allow to cook for 30 minutes. Add a teaspoon of salt, stir thoroughly, taste and add more as needed.

 Dr. Gene Martin

Fibromyalgia Relief Center of the Bay Area

520 South El Camino Real, Ste 520

San Mateo Ca. 94402

Phone: 650-558-1010

E-mail: fibro@drgenemartin.com

Web: http://www.drgenemartin.com

Skype: dr.gene.martin

What You Eat Affects Your Health –

Announcement

I have created a free DVD with Tips and The Do’s and Don’ts for People with Fibromyalgia. The idea is to help improve your quality of life. Go to my web page at http://www.drgenemartin.com for details.

What You Eat Affects Your Health-  Illa Jarvis, Nutritional Consultant

It’s easy to be tempted by cheap, convenient food. Money is tight, fast food is easy to find, and ready to eat. Unfortunately, this is where the benefits of commercially produced food end. Cheap ingredients do not contain the nutrients our brains and bodies depend upon to function properly. They contain pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals that tax our liver and brain. Ultimately, these foods do considerably more damage than good.

Let’s look at some examples…

What we find in most of our markets and restaurants is meat from animals that live under terrible conditions and are fed the cheapest food possible, namely corn and soy. Corn and soy are crops that are subsidized by the government. This means that the farmers are paid to grow these foods in excess, making these foods extremely cheap.

But growing enormous amounts of food requires a lot of work. The solution? These crops are genetically modified (GMO) so they can withstand the weed killer known as Round-Up, saving farmers time and effort. Unfortunately scientists have found Round-Up to be unsafe for human consumption (1). The large corporations that produce Round Up and GMO seeds have significant political influence so these foods are still produced and appear everywhere, including cow and chicken feed. Unfortunately cows cannot digest corn and soy, causing them to become sick. These animals are treated with antibiotics to keep them alive under unhealthy conditions and fed hormones to make them grow as quickly as possible. As a result, the meat, milk and eggs we find in most markets and restaurants contain antibiotics, hormones, as well as Round-Up, all of which compromise our health.  To top it all off, these foods are low in nutrients, since the animals were never fed a nutritious diet to offer benefits to us in return. You can learn more about the meat industry and GMO foods in the film Food Inc.

Better sources of animal protein are grass fed organic beef, and lamb, free-range organic poultry, and eggs and small species of wild caught fish. Choosing these foods ensures better health for us, promotes the ethical treatment of animals, and benefits the environment as well.

Good plant sources of protein are legumes such as beans, peas and lentils, in combination with grains. (Check out the recipe for bean soup further in this book for preparation tips.) Unfortunately, processed soy is added to hundreds of prepared foods to increase protein content and to make these foods more marketable. These foods include nutrition bars, protein powders, pasta, vegetarian foods, dairy-free foods, and infant formulas. Check ingredient labels for “soy protein isolate.”

While soy makes these foods “healthier” by increasing their protein content, ironically most soy is genetically modified, and contains Round-Up. Processed soy also has been shown to be a common allergen, difficult to digest and increases the body’s demand for vitamins E, K, D, and B12. Health foods that contain soy are often promoted as “Natural,” but this claim is meaningless. There are no qualifications that a food must meet to earn this title. There’s nothing natural about processed soy; only a laboratory can convert it into the variety of flavors and textures we find in boxed foods. (2)

Corn is largely hidden as high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in our foods. HFCS is in everything from soda pop, to canned soup and bread. After years of denial by the corn industry of the ill effects of HFCS, bad press has caused some companies to switch to sugar as a “healthier” alternative. Producers have taken measures to rename HFCS to “corn sugar” on ingredient labels in an effort to disguise its presence in packaged foods. (3) But the truth is, all processed sugar is damaging to our health, regardless of its form and source. Obesity and tooth decay are just the tip of the iceberg. Heart disease, diabetes, mood disorders, frequent illness, and digestive problems are all results of constant sugar and HFCS consumption. (4) The film King Corn beautifully shows how the corn industry works.

So how do you reduce sugar without feeling deprived? Check the sugar content on the labels of all canned and boxed foods. Don’t switch to foods that contain artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, which converts into wood alcohol when heated, or Splenda essentially sugar that is bound to chlorine. These sweeteners are problematic in their own right. Instead, choose simpler, more natural foods like home made tomato sauce instead of canned, homemade soup instead of canned soup, oil and vinegar instead of sweet salad dressing, and plain yogurt with berries instead of the sweetened stuff.  Do your best to choose foods that contain 10 or less grams of sugar per serving, and consider if the listed serving size is realistic. If you crave chocolate, get dark chocolate with high cocoa content instead of milk.

And what about fruit? An orange contains about half as much sugar as a can of soda, 4 grams of fiber (which slows down the impact of sugar on the body), nearly 100 mg of vitamin C, and other nutrients. So eat an organic piece of fruit and skip the soda when you want a treat.

Unsurprisingly, corn and soy are the most common sources of fat found in packaged food as well. Fat has gotten a lot of bad press in recent years, but in truth, we need some good quality fat to function properly! The fat you eat affects your brain and nervous system, controls inflammation, hormones, and your ability to heal, and makes strong bones. Unfortunately, soybean and corn oil are not well cut out for the job. They are often chemically processed to create shortening or margarine. These solidified liquid oils have been restructured or “partially-hydrogenated” and contain trans-fatty acids or “trans-fats.” I tend to think of these as “Franken-fats” since the fats are created in a lab and not found in nature. Our bodies have no clue how to use these fats, and studies have shown that they increase risk of heart disease by lowering HDL or “good cholesterol”, increase LDL or “bad cholesterol”, to lower insulin resistance, thus increasing risk for diabetes and much more. (5) Corn and soy oils are high in a fat known as omega-6, which spoils or goes rancid when it is exposed to oxygen. These oils are bleached, which ensures that they have been allowed to go bad, and deodorized, so you can’t tell by smelling them. Rancid oils contain free radicals, wandering electrons that damage our cells and cause serious inflammation in the body.

It is also critical that omega-6 fats are in balance with another essential fatty acid known as omega-3, which is found in organic free-range eggs, wild cold-water fish and certain seeds. Most people eat far too much processed foods that are high in omega-6, and don’t get enough omega-3, causing such common issues as cardiovascular disease, mood disorders, joint pain and inflammation, dry skin, and brittle nails. (6)

Healthy sources of fat include olive and coconut oil to cook with, raw nuts, seeds, and foods that are high in omega-3 such as sardines, wild salmon, flax, and hemp seeds.

Kudos if you enjoy five servings of fruits and vegetables every day, but please resist drowning an otherwise healthy salad in dressings that contain HFCS, partially-hydrogenated oils, and other unpronounceable chemicals.

How fruits and vegetables are grown matter as well. Have you ever seen an old potato or onion sprout?  This has become a rare occurrence since farmers have started spraying these crops with an anti-sprout chemical, allowing these vegetables to exist in storage longer. Many insecticides are banned due to high toxicity, and yet they still show up on our food because these pesticides are in the soil. Here’s a list of fruits and vegetables that contain the most pesticides, and should be bought organic whenever possible:

Apples

Peaches

Celery

Strawberries

Domestic Blueberries

Nectarines

Bell Peppers

Spinach

Cherries

Potatoes

Imported Grapes

Lettuce

Buy organic fruits and vegetables when they are in season. Not only will you skip the scary chemicals, get the nutrients that are only found in ripe, fresh food, such as vitamin C and E, at a lower cost, but also your food will taste better! A winter tomato that only looks red will never hold a candle to a summer tomato that was allowed to ripen on the vine. It’s best to wash non-organic fruits and vegetables thoroughly with soap and water, and peel whenever possible, since most of the chemicals are on the skin. (7)

Choosing and preparing delicious food is a simple when you have good ingredients. You will feel satisfied with less due to the increased nutrients, and you will feel happier and healthier without the burden of pesticides, herbicides and toxins on your body. For more tips on how to cook and prepare food, check out the recipe section at the end of this book.

(1) http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/24/us-monsanto-roundup-idUSTRE71N4XN20110224

(2) Daniel, Kaayla, The Whole Soy Story, New Trends Publishing, Washington D. C. 2007 p.93

(3) http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/09/14/a-new-name-for-high-fructose-corn-syrup/

(4) Appleton, Nancy PhD, Lick the Sugar Habit, Avery, Santa Monica, CA, 1985

(5) Enig, Mary G. PhD, Know Your Fats, Bethesda, Silver Spring, MD, 2000 p. 204

(6) http://www.omegaresearch.com

(7) Http://www.consumerhealth.org/articles/display.cfm?ID=19990809222752

Dr. Gene Martin

Fibromyalgia Relief Center of the Bay Area

520 South El Camino Real, Ste 520

San Mateo Ca. 94402

Phone: 650-558-1010

E-mail: fibro@drgenemartin.com

Web: http://www.drgenemartin.com

Skype: dr.gene.martin

 

What Happened to the Hippocratic Oath?

Announcements

1 For those who missed the daily tips, blogs etc, sign up for the free ezine which will have the weeks tips and the blogs. Send an e-mail to ezine@drgenemartin.com, write ezine in the subject, and you’ll receive the ezine every Friday. I’ll need your full name. Also make sure your spam filter is not intercepting it.

2 I’ve created a free DVD consisting of tips on how to improve your quality of life when living with fibro. It covers a variety of topics, not only foods and exercise, but support groups, speaking to your doctor etc. Go to http://www.drgenemartin.com for more details

 What Happened to the Hippocratic Oath?

I am 57 years old and have been practicing for close to 30 years. When I was a child, growing up, we were taught to believe that Health Practitioners chose their professions as a calling, to help and heal people and to see that people could live a long and fulfilling life. I’d like to believe that this is still the case and perhaps I’ve become a bit more cynical as I’ve aged and watched how the health care field has evolved over the years.

I attended an excellent college, in fact one of the top universities in the United States. A great many of the incoming students were pre-med, meaning that they were talking the courses necessary so they would be admitted into a medical school. My first exposure to the realities of health care was from speaking to some of these freshmen and more often than not, the conversations seemed to revolve around the huge amounts of money they would make when they became Doctors. On occasion, I did speak to those people who really wanted to make a difference and really help the suffering, however more often than not, becoming a doctor was more about the potential money and prestige that came with the profession at that time (early 1970’s).

As it turned out, the pre-med syllabus was difficult (to say the least) and many of these students lasted one semester. However, those who were able to memorize the required work and regurgitate it were able to get the high grades and did go on to become doctors, dentists and other health care workers. I noticed that many of these students had no “people skills” but were good at spitting back the required information.

Now, I’ll fast forward 30 years. The medical field has dramatically changed and the large incomes are gone. Most doctors I know are working long hours, paying high office expenses and being “managed” by managed care, meaning that they cannot always make the proper decisions that are in the patient’s best interest. Managed care companies tell the doctors what they can and cannot do. Of course, they don’t blatantly say it and would deny it if accused, but when necessary treatments are not covered for one reason or another, this is the way that the control works. Additionally, as most doctors have contracts with managed care companies, these doctors are contracted to accept whatever payment is negotiated, and most times the payments are much lower than what the public believes. A doctor might submit a bill for $150.00 but will be lucky to receive $46 dollars and by contract will have to write off the rest.

This brings me to the subject at hand. As I very successfully treat Fibromyalgia, I am in constant contact with Rheumatologists, Chronic pain Doctors, Psychologists and other professionals who deal with fibro and related issues and illnesses.

Story 1 – Three years ago, I had a patient who had suffered with fibromyalgia for 20 years. She had gone from doctor to doctor with very little results. At that point she was under the care of a Rheumatologist. This particular patient found me and decided to begin treatment at my office. Her Rheumatologist was very supportive (something I find to be rare) and told her that if the treatment worked, he would be able to refer loads of his fibro patients because he really did not know what to do with them. Suffice it to sat, Terry has been fibro free for three years (my treatment lasts 8 weeks) and sent back a wonderful report to her Rheumatologist. I, than, decided to set up a lunch appointment with this doc to see if he might be a viable source of referrals, after all, he said that he was looking for someone who knew how to treat these patients. This doctor and I had a nice lunch, but as he explained it, over 50% of his practice were patients with Fibromyalgia and if they all got well, he would lose his practice. I was stunned.

Story 2 – I met with a Clinical Psychologist, who had Fibromyalgia for about 13 years and began treatment in my office. She was successfully treated and all her fibro symptoms had resolved. As she told me “Thank you for giving me my life back”. Being that she had suffered for so long with fibro, she had begun to specialize in running support groups for chronically ill patients, the majority having Fibromyalgia. She than asked me a question which also stunned me: “How am I going to hide the fact that I no longer have fibro symptoms from the people in my group?” When I asked what she meant, she explained that her chronic pain groups provided a high percent of her income and she could not afford to lose that money. I replied: “Isn’t it more important to be able to help people?” Her response: “I have expenses and 2 children in private schools.”

I have other similar stories which have accumulated over the years, but needless to say times have changed. More and more professionals are concerned, not with helping but with their own interests. Now this is not to say that all professionals are like this, but I seem to meet more and more. This is especially more evident when the economy takes its habitual dips.

I wonder if this is a new trend or if this has always been the situation and I just didn’t see it. My gut tells me that money always played a factor but the situation has worsened over the years.

There have also always been turf wars among health professionals and this also plays a part. Psychiatrists think psychologists are not highly trained; orthopedists think podiatrists are not trained etc.

My advice is that if you have a good, wonderful and caring doctor, keep him or her at all costs, even if it means paying for the care out of your pocket if the insurance plan changes. Your health is your most important asset, take care of it.

Dr. Gene Martin

Fibromyalgia Relief Center of the Bay Area

520 South El Camino Real, Ste 520

San Mateo Ca. 94402

Phone: 650-558-1010

E-mail: fibro@drgenemartin.com

Web: http://www.drgenemartin.com

Skype: dr.gene.martin

Why do People Prey on the Sick?

Announcement

For those who missed the daily tips, blogs etc, sign up for the free ezine which will have the weeks tips and the blogs. Send an e-mail to ezine@drgenemartin.com, write ezine in the subject, and you’ll receive the ezine every Friday. I’ll need your full name. Also make sure your spam filter is not intercepting it.

Why do People Prey on the Sick?

I suppose since the beginning of time, there have been people who are ill and there have been people who prey on the ill. Think of the old wagons rolling through rural America hundreds of years ago, selling their cures for everything that might ail you.  It appears that most of the time the “so called cures” were nothing but water or alcohol.  I’d like to think that things have changed in the year 2012, but the reality is that this still exists to the same extent and perhaps even to a greater extent. The FDA cannot or will not stop these perpetrators.

With the onset of the internet, we see constant advertisements for this cure or that cure, for this way to stop an illness or that way to stop an illness and the sad fact is that most of these ads are just schemes to make money. They go after people who are desperate. Too many times, the medical establishment has failed us by not providing these cures, but the reality is that they do the best they can and the majority of illnesses have no cures. Most doctors attempt to ameliorate the symptoms.

If you stop for a second and think of all the illnesses you know, you’ll see that very few cures exist. The body is a complicated piece of machinery and there is much more that we don’t know than we do know.

People with fibromyalgia are especially prone to these hucksters as people with fibro are pretty desperate because it does take such a toll on their lives and families. I’ve actually seen ads and web pages advertising new techniques that can be a solution for Fibro, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, Stroke Victims, Parkinson’s disease and 5 or 6 other neurological illnesses. If you took high school biology, it’s easy to see through these ads as the mechanisms of these illnesses are so totally different that it is impossible to have a magic bullet that cures or helps all of these illnesses.

I’ve also been a victim of these unscrupulous hucksters. It is not new news that I run a very successful fibromyalgia center. However, I’ve had companies design web sites, using my name and address pretending to be me. Their goal is to intercept calls which are meant for my office and then try to sell these peoples name to me for very expensive prices. This is a case where these people are not going after the ill patients, but trying to extort from the doctors, and these types of scams are not limited to doctors. They target dentists, accountants and every other type of professional. The internet makes it easy, and there is not a lot we can do to stop it.

The company that targets me uses a toll free phone number and therefore can be distinguished from my office in that I do not. My phone number is and always has been 650-558-1010.

Another way that others prey on the ill is by some of the tactics used by large pharmaceutical companies. Almost every week we read of a pharmaceutical company sued by the federal government for misleading advertising or for selling medications which do not do what they are said to do. Preying on the ill has become a big business.

Getting back to the title, why do people prey on the ill, the truth is that I do not have a good explanation. I suppose it is mostly greed, lack of conscience, not caring about fellow man/woman and who knows what else?

The definition of a sociopath is person, having a psychopathic personality, whose behavior is antisocial and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience. Has it come to a point where we are living in a society which is becoming more and more sociopathic? I don’t know, but it sure appears to be the case.

Dr. Gene Martin, D.C.

Fibromyalgia Relief Center of the Bay Area

520 South El Camino Real, Ste 520

San Mateo Ca. 94402

Phone 650-558-1010

E-mail: fibro@drgenemartin.com

Web: http://www.drgenemartin.com

Skype: dr.gene.martin

Fibromyalgia Support Groups – Part 2

Fibromyalgia Support Groups – Part 2

I also ran and run groups for people who have been treated in my office and no longer have Fibromyalgia. The reason for this is that there is a period of adjustment when a patient goes from being sick for decades to being well. It is a conversion and many times these people would have to re-learn how to become social again, especially if they had isolated themselves for years. These are the easiest groups to run as I generally can’t get in a word. Many are scared of re-entering the world, and many are so excited that I have to continuously remind them to slow down. Actually this might very well be the most difficult task I deal with when treating patients with fibromyalgia. When they have their lives returned, especially in 8 to 12 weeks, they are hyper anxious to start making up for lost time. I remind them that they must take it step by step through my treatment program, but most times they are not hearing me. Still I repeat the same information and warnings. Eventually, most do get it.

In summary, Fibromyalgia support groups can be excellent and they can be disasters. My advice would be to attend a group and if it does not feel right or there is a heaviness of depression and complaining in the air, leave! There are other groups; it’s just a matter of finding the right group, the same as finding the right doctor.

One last word, I have attended groups led by people with Fibromyalgia who had no intention of helping these sufferers. As one support group leader told me: “My life revolves around my support group. If people became healthier, they would have no need to continue attending”. I know this sounds unbelievable, but we do live in a world where people have their own agendas. Therefore it does pay to know who is running the group and what their approach is.

Lastly, be aware as many times groups run by hospitals have their own agendas, having to do with marketing or some even being run by people with very little experience with Fibromyalgia. Just because a doctor is a doctor or a nurse is a nurse, or even a psychologist is a psychologist, this does not mean that they have any more knowledge of Fibromyalgia than the average person on the street. Lorna, one of my patients had told me about support groups she had attended where after leaving, she felt like “killing herself” rhetorically speaking that is.

Before I leave this topic, there is one other issue I’d like to mention. There are many books in the stores about Fibromyalgia and some can be very depressing to read, offering no hope. Be careful what you read and be discriminating. Anybody can write a book; this does not mean that they are proficient in the topic. Before buying the newest book, ask a fibro friend for recommendations. Also be aware of support groups where guest speakers come in with boxes of books, magic potions and lotions and other items which are supposed to offer some great benefit to the fibro sufferer. This is not and should not be what a fibro support group is about.

Support groups can certainly make your lives easier and more manageable, can offer good information and advice and can many times help you to learn tricks and techniques to make your life much more livable. Be discriminating.

Dr. Gene Martin, D.C.

Fibromyalgia Relief Center of the Bay Area

520 South El Camino Real, Ste 520

San Mateo, Ca. 94402

650-558-1010

E-mail: fibro@drgenemartin.com

Web: http://www.drgenemartin.com

Skype: dr.gene.martin

Fibromyalgia Support Groups – Part 1


Fibromyalgia support groups can be a really big help, but they can also be a disaster, many times it depends on who is running the group. I’ve attended groups where people where whining and complaining and I felt that there was very little support between the members. The quests speakers were generally pharmaceutical representatives, whose real purpose was to market their medications. Other guests included doctors who spoke about no solutions. In fact one group I attended had a doctor use these words “Buck up and deal with the pain, you are adults and there is nothing you can do about the illnesses.” Many of these groups provided coffee and pastries which is the worst thing a Fibromyalgia patient can eat. It verified my thoughts that these groups were not being handled very well. Needless to say, the members felt worse upon leaving but were strongly encouraged to keep returning.

One particularly awful group I had attended was lead by a minister who proclaimed that Fibromyalgia was “God”, punishment for some wrong these people had done in their lives. To say the least, this was pretty extreme and left the people without any hope and more depressed than when they arrived.

Unfortunately, there are people running fibromyalgia groups and they have their own agendas (as in everything else in life).

I’ve also attended good groups were there really was an emphasis on people supporting one another. The key is always the person who runs the group.

I can give you a short description of the groups which I had run in the past. My main goal was and is to get these people to bond with each other; after all, they share a common illness and can certainly identify with each other to a large degree. My emphasis was always on the positive, and if I sensed somebody starting to slip into a depressive mode, I’d allow them to vent, but I or another member would immediately come to their aid and shower them with support and understanding.

One of the goals of the group was to help the fibro sufferer have a real understanding as to what was going on in their bodies and to provide helpful tips on how to manage the illness and how to lessen the symptoms. However, I should note that this was, in no way, presented in a lecture format, but as a very informal friendly setting. I would usually attempt to have at least one guest a month, but my main criteria with guests were that they would provide warmth, empathy and most importantly laughs. I’ve gone as far as to have comedians, representatives from the humane societies with some puppies and kittens, anything to bring a smile to their faces. I’ve had clowns, magicians, you name it. This is not to say that the groups were not serious, as we were dealing with a serious illness. I’ve also had dieticians who brought samples of very healthy foods. The members were always amazed at how easy these recipes were and how delicious the foods were.

Our members would generally want to exchange phone numbers and would become really supportive friends. It would reach a point very early on that these people would bond in a very affirmative way and would know that if they were ever feeling particularly down and very depressed, they could always call one of their friends from the group.

I also tried to limit the groups to 10 members, which meant that at times I was running 2 or 3 weekly groups.

Nobody in the group was ever forced or coerced into speaking and generally when a group would start, we would have some who just sat and listened. However by the third or fourth meeting, these people would inevitably become a part of the group. I would constantly be surprised at how these silent types would quickly open up and many times become a kind of the “life of the party”. With all modesty I can tell you that I never had a person drop out of the group.

Dr. Gene Martin, D.C.

Fibromyalgia Relief Center of the Bay Area

520 South El Camino Real, Ste 520

San Mateo, Ca. 94402

650-558-1010

E-mail: fibro@drgenemartin.com

Web: http://www.drgenemartin.com

Skype: dr.gene.martin

Why The Difficulty Diagnosing Fibro? Part 2

Announcement

For those who missed the daily tips, blogs etc, sign up for the free ezine which will have the weeks tips and the blogs. Send an e-mail to ezine@drgenemartin.com, write ezine in the subject, and you’ll receive the ezine every Friday. I’ll need your full name. Also make sure your spam filter is not intercepting it.

Why The Difficulty Diagnosing Fibro?

The last blog described a patient who came to my office, after having to deal with the common problems that people with fibro so often encounter. I ended the blog with 4 questions. Let’s look at them in some detail.

1 Why did it take 5 years for a definitive diagnosis, especially when she had the classic signs and the class prior history of trauma?

Answer:  Unfortunately, the public and so many doctors are just not familiar with fibromyalgia, they might have heard the word but in reality, they have no clue as to what it is about. Like much of the public, the doctors also believe that it is just a pain “thing” not understanding that there are so many other common symptoms. These doctors and psychologists also don’t have a good understanding of how thoroughly; fibro affects every part of a person’s life, from symptoms to relationships, to work etc. This is most unfortunate because people with fibro, who haven’t been diagnosed, have no understanding of what is going on in their bodies and they and their families are scared. The fog alone can make the sufferer believe that he or she is developing Alzheimer disease. More than this, we live in a world of fear and it is not uncommon for the sufferer, who is experiencing all these “weird” symptoms to panic and actually believe that they have Cancer or some other horrible debilitating fatal disease.

 

2 Why did she go from doctor to doctor, from specialist to specialist, from alternative provider to alternative provider, yet nobody could see something which was so obvious?

Answer: Doctors are trained that pathological conditions will be diagnosable by seeing something in the blood, urine or on an image (MRI’s, X-ray’s, Cat Scans, brain Scans etc.). The days of the family doc who asks questions and palpates (touches) the sore parts of the body is gone, partly due time limits placed on doctors and partly due to their training. It is said and it still is true that a good doctor can diagnosis a condition or illness 90% of the time from speaking to the patient (the history and consultation). This, however seems to be a thing of the past. We are, again, dealing with overworked doctors, working under the constraints of the PPO’s and other health care systems, which limit the time they can actually spend with a patient. Together with our busy schedules and lifestyles, many of us want the fast answer and the magic pill; these do not exist. When dealing with your health (which is a priority), all the time necessary should be used,

3 Why did some of the providers, including the psychologist insist that fibromyalgia did not exist?

Answer: The following are my own opinion, but I believe that saying that “I don’t believe in fibromyalgia” is the epitome of ignorance and arrogance. First, there is no question that fibro does exist, the research is clear, as are the millions of sufferers in the U.S. alone. Secondly, the concept of Cultural Authority (see prior blog on this topic), comes into play. In a nutshell, we have been conditioned to believe that the doctor is the all knowing person. Many times, they begin to believe this nonsense themselves. It is a small step for a doctor to confuse his/her opinions with the actual fact and the fibro sufferer is the one who this arrogance affects, along with their families. To say that fibro does not exist is like saying that refrigerators don’t exist. This is just plain wrong.

Many patients are afraid to question their doctors, but in fact, the doctor is human with the same faults and strengths that we all have to one degree or another.

 

4 Why was she offered every drug on the market including narcotics, especially if so many of these providers thought that this whole illness was psychosomatic?

Again, the problem lies with doctors having no familiarity with fibromyalgia, but perhaps more importantly, the fact that the pharmaceutical companies are allowed to market their medications directly to the patients with the hope (which is very often the case), that the patients will pressure the doctors to prescribe those particular meds. Doctors feel pressured to not allow a patient to leave their office without a prescription in hand. Medicine has also become very competitive (though most of the time, the patients don’t see this) and doctors do not want to lose patients. They have expenses and overhead, in addition to making a living.

To summarize this and the last blog, the medical system (in the U.S.) is very broken and in urgent need of fixing. Patients are unduly suffering, due to lack of understanding and familiarity with fibromyalgia; by the public and by the doctors.

Dr. Gene Martin, D.C.

Fibromyalgia Relief Center of the Bay Area

520 South El Camino Real, Ste 520

San Mateo California, 94402

650-558-1010

E-mail: fibro@drgenemartin.com

Web: http://www.drgenemartin.com

Skype. dr.gene.martin

Why Can’t Doctors Diagnosis Fibro?

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A woman came into my office for a consultation yesterday and she had diagnosed herself as having Fibromyalgia. The fact is that she was correct, but this is how she told her story.

About 5 years ago, she started experiencing a lot of pain throughout her body, for no apparent reason. She saw her family doctor, who insisted that she must have pulled some muscles when doing her housework, even though she insisted that she had done nothing unusual. She was given a prescription for muscle relaxers and told to take over the counter Advil, as needed.  The only problem was that her pain continued and started to worsen. She returned to her doctor, who, begrudgingly, decided to run some laboratory tests, which came back negative and again he insisted that there was nothing wrong with her. However, he explained that if the pain was real (he actually said real), he would send her to a physical therapist for 6 weeks at 3 times per week. One session was enough to convince her that PT was not an answer as her pain became much worse that evening. She also started developing headaches, insomnia, fatigued; the typical fibromyalgia symptoms.

This is when her story really began. She went from doctor to doctor, specialist to specialist. Was tested for every illness from M.S. to Lupus, to R.A. She had horrible pain in a toothy yet the dentist could not find anything wrong. She begged him to look again, but he refused.  She tried a chiropractor, but one visit caused a major flare, she tried acupuncture, but no results. By this time, her fibromyalgia was in full force. The pain had worsened and kept moving around she was developing all types of G.I. symptoms, say a gastroenterologist, an endocrinologist, a Rheumatologist and many other practitioners. She was finally referred for a psychiatric evaluation and the diagnosis was depression and she was then referred her to a psychologist for counseling.

There are many excellent psychologists practicing, but this one was a dud.  Keep in mind that by this time, the woman had read about fibromyalgia and was convinced that this was what she was suffering from. The psychologist (who apparently had a large ego), insisted that there was no such thing as fibromyalgia and that all the symptoms were directly related to her busy lifestyle. The only problem was that her lifestyle was not that busy. Sure, she had two young children, but she was a “stay at home mother”.  After three months of weekly therapy, the psychologist insisted that the woman was not trying hard enough (whatever that meant), and threatened to release her. The patient, however, had other thoughts on the matter and never returned to see the psychologist.

This entire story occurred over a five year period and the woman was desperate. She had heard about me from another patient I had seen years ago and came, with her husband to my office to speak to me.  It was very obvious, within 5 minutes of talk, that this woman had fibromyalgia. I verified what she suspected (actually there was no question about it), and you could see the flood of relief affect this woman and her husband. Treatment will start in 2 weeks, but my questions are:

1 Why did it take 5 years for a definitive diagnosis, especially when she had the classic signs and the class prior history of trauma?

2 Why did she go from doctor to doctor, from specialist to specialist, from alternative provider to alternative provider, yet nobody could see something which was so obvious?

3 Why did some of the providers, including the psychologist insist that fibromyalgia did not exist?

4 Why was she offered every drug on the market including narcotics, especially if so many of these providers thought that this whole illness was psychosomatic?

Does this scenario sound familiar? It should as I hear it almost every day and almost word for word. Next blog, let’s look at some of the answers to these questions.

Dr. Gene Martin, D.C.

Fibromyalgia Relief Center of the Bay Area

520 South El Camino Real, Suite 520

San Mateo, Ca. 94402

650-558-1010

e-mail: fibro@drgenemartin.com

Web: http://www.drgenemartin.com

Skype: dr.gene.martin

How should I than Find a Fibro Doctor who can help me?

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How should I than Find a Doctor who can help me?

This is a difficult question as there is so much misinformation about Fibromyalgia among the medical community. The internet is not much better and very possibly causes more harm than good. I would first speak with other people who have Fibromyalgia and have found an excellent doctor. Ask this person what the experience in the doctor’s office was like. Was the doctor thorough, did he or she have empathy and most importantly, was the doctor willing to take the time and listen to the person? Did the doctor take as much time as necessary and answer all the questions. Did the person finally have a clear understanding of what Fibromyalgia was about?

You might check with some of the support groups and get some names of Fibromyalgia sufferers and ask them the same questions.

Sometimes you might ask a doctor you trust for a referral, but do be aware that many times the doctor’s network is “the good ol boys” network, meaning that some doctors will refer to their friends. Therefore, it will take some vigilance on your part, but the end results will be worth it.

I, very much recommend against choosing a doctor from the phone book or seeing doctor just because that doctor is a member of your health plan. It is more than worth it to pay out of your pocket to find a doctor who is really good and can really help you. Fibromyalgia makes you very ill and the last thing you need is a doctor who does not have a clear understanding of fibro. You also don’t have the time or energy to go from doctor to doctor and constantly being disappointed with the results. Having hope, which is constantly shattered, can be pretty devastating, especially if you go through this cycle many times.

Ask for a 10 minute visit. The best times are usually before the doctor is through with his/her patients for the morning. Explain to the receptionist that you would like to see if this doctor would be right for you. I know that this might sound foreign for most of you, but there is really nothing wrong with this. After all, you would “interview” a lawyer, an accountant, a contractor etc. Remember that you are dealing with your health and fibro is a complicated topic. You want the right Doctor. This will hopefully avoid going from doctor to doctor and help you to get off that never ending merry-go-round.

Some questions to ask would be:

1          Have you experience treating Fibromyalgia?

2          How many fibromyalgia patients do you see per week?

3          What kind of results do you get when treating fibro?

4          What do you think causes fibro?

The sorry state of the medical system in the United States and possibly other countries is in need of repair and it has to be a ground roots movement meaning that you, the patient, has to take the initiative. This is one way to start.

Dr. Gene Martin

Fibromyalgia Relief Center of the Bay Area

520 South El Camino Real, Ste 520

San Mateo, Ca. 94402

650-558-1010

E-mail: fibro@drgenemartin.com

Web: http://www.nomorefibro.wordpress.com

Skype: dr.gene.martin

Why do Doctor push on Tender Points in the Body?

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For those who missed the daily tips, blogs etc, sign up for the free ezine which will have the weeks tips and the blogs. Send an e-mail to fibro@drgenemartin.com, write ezine in the subject, and you’ll receive the ezine every Friday. I’ll need your full name. Also make sure your spam filter is not intercepting it.

The Tender Points that Doctors Press on

The fact is that using trigger or tender points as a way of trying to diagnosis Fibromyalgia was a good attempt at trying to find a diagnostic tool that just does not show up on any other diagnostic tests. However, many studies (the most recent being published in the fall of 2011) have shown that this is not a valid or reliable way of determining if a person has Fibromyalgia. However, I would like to explain why this test was first used and unfortunately many doctors are still using it to determine if a person has or does not have Fibromyalgia. This is unfortunate as many who do have Fibromyalgia are told that they don’t while some who do not have Fibromyalgia are told that they do.

Muscle metabolism is a complicated mechanism but in simplistic terms, the end product of muscle metabolism is lactic acid which is generally expelled by the body through the blood and than through the kidneys. When a person has Fibromyalgia, the muscles are in a constant state of contraction. The end product is a buildup of lactic acid being produced which the body cannot expel. The lactic acid then begins to accumulate in the muscle tissue which is very irritating and can damage this soft tissue. As a protective device, the body than produces fibrous tissue (think of cloth or other material), which covers the lactic acid, not allowing it to do further damage to the muscles. By the way, this is where the name Fibromyalgia comes from. Fibro means fibrous tissue, myo means muscle and algia means pain. Of course Fibromyalgia is a lot more than just muscle pain.

When a doctor is pushing on these 18 points (11 of 18 being tender was diagnostic), the doctor is irritating and sometimes breaking down the fibrous tissue leading to pain.

However, Lactic acid (and trigger points) can and are found in almost all people to some extent. For example, an athletic runner, running 5 miles per day will show these tender points. Many people after traumas of one type or another will also exhibit these points. We also live in a very stressful world and most of us are under stress on a daily basis, thus leading to these trigger points.

Dr. Janet Travell, M.D (now deceased) was considered the expert in trigger point mechanisms and trigger point therapy. She co-authored two books on the topic along with her co-author David Simon. Travell spent her career doing this type of research and was extremely well respected in the medical community. In fact she was the personal physician for Presidents John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. She passed away at the age of 94 leaving a huge legacy of work related to trigger points. I suspect that if she was alive now, she would have plenty to say about using these tender points to diagnosis Fibromyalgia. Regardless, a thorough history is a better diagnostic method. Hopefully most doctors will catch up with the literature and realize that the tender point test is not a valid diagnostic criterion for Fibromyalgia.

Dr. Gene Martin

Fibromyalgia Relief Center of the Bay Area

520 South El Camino Real, Ste 520

San Mateo, Ca. 94402

650-558-1010

E-mail: fibro@drgenemartin.com

Web: http://www.nomorefibro.wordpress.com

Skype: dr.gene.martin