Despite what some people think, medical research has proven that fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) are very real and very painful diseases.
Research has been conducted on the immunological and hormonal changes that confirm this. Plus, I have spent the last two decades warning my patients about stupid doctors who do not take the initiative to investigate the wide-range and various symptoms that come with the conditions. Despite the support of these findings, however, many insurance companies still refuse to pay claims to those afflicted with these diseases, especially when it’s functional medicine (high-dose vitamin and mineral supplementation). Insurance companies want the doctors to use as many drugs as they possibly can because of one word: Kickbacks.
The main reason insurance companies have for denying the validity of the research is to keep them from having to pay out claims.
These studies about fibro and CFS bring with them many new developments in how we understand these diseases. We now know that deficiencies in the thyroid and adrenal glands exist and that testosterone levels show consistent drops. This will contribute to feelings of lethargy. There were also changes seen throughout the immune system. One of these was a decrease in the number of cells that aid the immune system. It becomes harder for your body to fight off any infections which may be directly or indirectly caused by fibromyalgia. In addition to this, many cytokine changes were seen. They provided patterns which can be used for diagnostic testing for these diseases.
The antibodies that fight off infections rests in one arm of our immune system. We have an IgG arm of our immune system, and this arm is then split into four groups, IgG 1, IgG 2, IgG 3, and IgG 4. What has been discovered is that IgG 1 and IgG 3 are often compromised when a patient has either fibromyalgia or CFS. The damage often corresponds to the pain level if a patient is experiencing small fiber neuropathy (pain attacks that start in the hands or feet).
Dr. Mark Sivieri, who runs a wellness center in Maryland, is currently conducting research that suggests critical antibodies on the IgG arm are significantly deficient in those who have fibromyalgia and CFS. He believes that this deficiency contributes to immune system dysfunction. He believes that the shortage of antibodies may be treatable and he is currently exploring methods for their treatment.
Chronic pain causes the signals in the body to be amplified in a process known as central sensitization. What may be the same level of pain for two separate individuals is made worse by the fact that chronic pain overworks the mechanisms which are in place to fight pain. As time goes on these continue to lose resistance to the sense of pain. This is also referred to as having a lower pain threshold, a typical finding in those who are exposed to pain attacks constantly.
Having either fibromyalgia or CFS is also tied into having problems with blood pressure and autonomic dysfunction (the processes of the gut). Because the symptoms of fibromyalgia mimic the symptoms of other diseases, it can take the better part of five years before a complete and full diagnosis is made.
We can now see a “missing link” between the pain, the immune dysfunction, and the automatic dysfunctions which are commonly seen in fibromyalgia and CFS. All of these can be treated effectively with gamma globulin given intravenously (in a medical office, of course), as well as other high-doses vitamins and minerals.
Roughly 10-15% of patients suffering from the more severe forms of the illness found relief from this method. Many were bedridden and unresponsive to various other medications and treatments. The bad part about gamma globulin is the price tag. It can run upwards of $50,000 per year to get these treatments. Insurance companies are hesitant to shell out this kind of cash and are unlikely to cover it.
However, in a placebo-controlled study group, the average rating that patients gave their overall health more than doubled with these treatments. With a score of 0 equaling “not living” and 10 representing “being in perfect health,” patients went from a 3.5 average to a 6.5 average after three months. After just two years, the majority of patients reported a score of 7. After this two-year period, most patients were able to be weaned off of treatments.
So, why aren’t the insurance companies covering this? Because, quite frankly, insurance companies make no money off healthy people.
This new research provides hope for those who have been otherwise without it. You may not be able to afford the injections, but this study and this post will show you that there are alternative measures that are much more effective and far less dangerous. Most doctors will be happy to work on sliding scale with patients who have greedy insurance companies.
The potential of these advancements is truly monumental. Research that has been conducted in the most recent of years shows that riboflavin may hold treatment potential. Riboflavin is very accessible and inexpensive. If it proves to be an effective treatment, doctors will have to reevaluate the current methods they use.
You can read more about the similarities and differences between fibromyalgia and CFS, and more importantly, what to do to reverse these conditions, by reading my book, Treating and Beating Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. You can find it on Amazon.com, and also at my Treating and Beating Store.