Fibromyalgia is a chronic ailment without a known cause and without a safe, effective conventional medical treatment. The prevalence of diagnosed fibromyalgia in Australia is unknown, however it is estimated that 15% of men and 20% of women in Australia suffer chronic musculo-skeletal (MSK) pain.
A diagnosis of fibromyalgia is usually based on clinical findings via a physical exam and the patient’s history. Many health professionals agree that the symptoms of fibromyalgia may be linked to auto-immune dysfunction. Fibromyalgia is characterized by a general malaise, fatigue, headaches, dizziness, muscle and joint stiffness and/or pain, feelings of numbness and weakness of arms and legs. Gastrointestinal disturbances such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) may accompany these symptoms, while concomitant mental symptoms such as anxiety, depression, memory and concentration problems as well as sleep disorders are frequently experienced.
Recent studies have found that fibromyalgia affects women 10 times more often than
men, and is most common in women 20-50 years old. This condition also has been observed in children and adolescence and is more common in relatives of patients with fibromyalgia, suggesting the contribution of both genetic and environmental factors
In 2010, a systematic review of the most recently used conventional drugs for fibromyalgia was published in a leading scientific journal, Nature Reviews Rheumatology (Clauw, 2010). The author asserted that although some drugs had beneficial effects, they had significant limitations and there existed a need to utilize other treatment options.
Studies published in leading medical journals have reported encouraging results from homeopathic treatment of fibromyalgia.
The first controlled trial testing the homeopathic treatment of patients with fibromyalgia was a sophisticated double-blind “crossover” trial. The study was published in the British Medical Journal, (Fisher et al, 1989). The researchers found that there was a substantially significant degree of improvement in the reduction of tender points, reduced pain and improved sleep when the subjects were taking the homeopathic medicine, as compared to when these same subjects were taking a placebo.
Another randomized, placebo controlled, double blind study published in the highly respected journal, Rheumatology (Bell et al, 2003) reported that individualised homeopathy is significantly better than placebo in lessening tender point pain and improving quality of life and global health of persons with fibromyalgia.
People suffering from fibromyalgia tend to have distinct and unusual symptoms that may be unique to the individual and it is this distinctiveness of symptoms that actually makes it easier for homeopaths to successfully treat their condition. Aside from its effectiveness other advantages of using homeopathy over conventional drug therapies include lower cost and the avoidance of the common side effects of anti-inflammatory and drugs.
In my own clinic I often integrate the homeopathic treatment of fibromyalgia with a range of gentle bodywork modalities such as craniosacral therapy and fascial release techniques to speed up the patient’s progress.