What Causes Fibromyalgia?
Dr. Rutherford: I’m Dr. Martin Rutherford. I am a board-certified
chiropractic physician, and I am a certified functional medicine
practitioner. This is…
Dr. Gates: Dr. Gates, and I am a chiropractor as well as a board-certified
Dr Rutherford: The largest part of our practice is treating chronic pain,
and within the framework of that we treat a lot of fibromyalgia. A lot of
fibromyalgia. And I have fibromyalgia.
A lot of people want to know what’s the cause. People ask us all the
time, “What’s the cause of fibromyalgia?”
So I think the most important thing we could do in a couple of
minutes here is just delineate the definition between cause and trigger.
And I would say that there is a distinct difference. Most of our
fibromyalgia patients, Dr. Gates will elaborate on this, will have kind of
as the cause underlying problems that are set off by triggers. And this is
very important, because once the trigger is there, with the possible
exception of stress, it’s usually gone. And we’re still trying to treat
the trigger when the cause is sitting in front of us and needs to be
figured out. Triggers.
My trigger was pneumonia. I had an overwhelming pneumonia infection
that didn’t get taken care of very well, because of me, and it morphed into
fibromyalgia. It affected my immune system. It affected my stress
mechanisms. Overwhelming infections, stress is a big one. Stress can be a
trigger and it can perpetuate it. Traumas, for example motor vehicle
accident. We are chiropractic physicians, we have done musculoskeletal
work over the years. I’ve had scores of patients that had a motor vehicle
accident and the next thing, everything in their body hurt, their life fell
Surgeries, surgeries. Very frequently, the person goes in, they have
a surgery, the next thing they know every part of their body hurts, they
start getting pain everywhere, they start getting chronic fatigue, their
hair starts falling out, et cetera. How could that be? How could they get
this flu-like symptom all over the place?
And I think the last thing, and the biggest one of what we see
consistently, is pregnancy. Either getting pregnant and during the last
trimester of pregnancy, or delivering the child. I delivered my child, the
next thing I know I put on a bunch of weight, my hair started falling out,
I was totally lethargic, chronically fatigued, et cetera.
Those are the big triggers that I hear all the time. Absolutely.
And those triggers set off, probably what I would define as the cause of
this, of fibromyalgia. And I think maybe, you want to do the?
Dr. Gates: Go into the causes? Yeah. Absolutely. So, like we talked
about in one of the other videos, let’s step back and know that
fibromyalgia is basically a problem where the brain keeps focusing on the
pain. The pain has become learned in the brain. And that happens due to a
variety of mechanisms, there’s probably twenty-five things long. However
we know that chronic stress, or stress that has become learned, those
stress hormones actually make your brain and spinal cord learn pain. And
it can be mental stress or it can be physical stress. And chemical stress.
It can be a bad gut that’s out there forever, it can be your worries and
fears about whether you have cancer or whether you’re over, it can be a lot
of things. It’s not just emotional, continued emotional stress, although
that can be part of it.
Dr. Rutherford: And then also underlying autoimmune problems or immune
inflammation. Just know that the immune system sends little signals to
each other, via little messengers, kind of like an army. And sometimes the
pro-inflammatory messengers start to increase due to a variety of
mechanisms. One can be the gastrointestinal tract being affected.
And so those pro-inflammatory messengers can then increase
inflammation throughout the body. And it’s not really inflammation in the
muscle that’s so much the issue, like so many of you complain about. It’s
really that that inflammation causes the nerves that send pain signals to
the brain, causes them to actually increase their signals to the brain. So
those are some of the underlying causes relative to fibromyalgia.
Dr. Gates: And I’ll jump in and say the two most common autoimmune causes
would be, and without getting into it because it’s not going to be a long
segment here, without getting into the physiology of it. You just heard me
say a person gets in a car accident, the next thing they know their hair
starts falling out, they put on weight. This is what happened to me, I got
pneumonia, next thing you know I put on 35 pounds, I’m lethargic, I don’t
have the energy I used to have, I hurt in every fiber of my being.
Part of that is brain, but the most common is thyroid. A lot of you
folks have thyroid problems. You want to know cause, you probably have an
undiagnosed thyroid problem or you have a mismanaged thyroid problem, or
you probably have something called Hashimoto’s. We’ve done segments on
that, you can access those. Or you may have developed a gut problem.
Celiac is very common in patients like yourself. Many of you have had a
test on this and you’ve been told it’s normal. The testing is
inconsistent, it’s not very good. It really needs to be ferreted out.
Dr. Rutherford: Or you may have non-Celiac gluten sensitivity.
Dr. Gates: It can get pretty complex, but just know that these are the
most common ones. So you’ll get all of the symptoms of a hypothyroid, and
then part of the symptoms of an overactive thyroid. Oh, I have occasional
heart palpitations. The cause is that you have had an immune system set
off that has set off your thyroid and now you have, now you’re putting on
weight, you’re lethargic, your hair is falling out, the next thing you know
you’ve got heart palpitations, anxiety, night sweats, and everybody thinks
you’ve gone crazy.
So those are the causes. Any more causes, I would say autoimmune
problems. We talked about long-term emotional stress. Unfortunately, the
shocking thing to us is consistently and nauseatingly, I mean I have no
idea why we’re getting into this, but we consistently see a history of
sexual abuse. In some of the cases we’ve heard, I can’t even imagine. But
sexual abuse, physical abuse, verbal abuse, being in an abusive
relationship, both ways. Both ways. Men and women. It’s just really
amazing. But it affects your brain and it sets off a stress mechanism that
sets your brain off forever.
Your brain’s going a million miles an hour over time, this causes
your adrenal glands to put out a lot of chemistry. These are the causes.
So, there are triggers. Once you’re pregnant and you’ve had the kid, the
trigger’s gone. You need to deal with what the cause is.
Once you’ve had the car accident and it set off an immune response
trying to heal your tissues, and it overwhelms your tissues, it attacks
things. That’s the problem. What’s it attacking? Is it attacking the
thyroid? is it attacking the gut? Is it the immune system? Is it the
thyroid? There’s like 80 different things, or more, that can be the cause.
They’re all known. In an organized fashion they can be ferreted out. But
we’re just trying to give you an idea of the complexity of what you’re up
against and why you’re probably searching this in the first place.
Dr. Rutherford: And we just did an hour long segment on this topic in a
lot more detail. So if you’re interested, go to Powerhealthtalk.com. Go
to the “Hangout” section and it will be up there, and we have a lot of
other information on fibromyalgia that you can access. Hope this was