Signs of Fibromyalgia
Dr. Rutherford: I’m Dr. Martin Rutherford. I’m a board certified
chiropractic physician and, more importantly to you, I am a Certified
Functional Medicine Practitioner. This is Dr. Randall Gates.
Dr. Gates: I am Chiropractor and a Board Certified Chiropractic
Dr. Rutherford: And we treat mostly, our practice is mostly treating
chronic pain and chronic pain conditions. We treat a lot of fibromyalgia
and I think I am uniquely qualified in this, as I have fibromyalgia, and so
I have that perspective on it also.
We’re going to talk about signs. We see a lot of people are
searching for the signs of fibromyalgia.
We’re going to cover it from kinda two different perspectives in the
next few minutes. The way we work our practice, is, we kind of, we sort of
qualify patients that come in, relative to, if they’re going to be really
someone who can respond to the types of non drug therapies that we do and,
so I’m kind of, people come to us with fibromyalgia, they’ve either made a
self diagnosis off the internet, maybe one of their doctors have diagnosed
it. There’s really, as most of you already know who are watching this,
there’s really not a good diagnostic scheme in the medical model. We’re
not anti-medicine by any stretch of the imagination. It’s just that
fibromyalgia, as you probably already learned, doesn’t really lend itself
to the medical model.
Most people that come in are wondering if they have it, or they’ve
been diagnosed with it.
From my perspective, these are the things that tell me the patient
may have fibromyalgia. Patient comes walking in to the consult with a
thick file form ten different doctors that they’ve been to. That’s always
a sign because you’ve been from doctor to doctor to doctor to doctor.
Nobody really knows, nobody’s really helping you.
You’re kind of maybe wondering if it’s in your head. Maybe it’s been
implied that it’s in your head, or that maybe it’s been implied that you
need to see a psychologist while you’re sitting there and you know for a
fact that you are hurting and you’re having all these problems.
Another thing else that will let me know in the beginning that I’m
probably listening to a fibro history is, you have stacks of testing, and
the blood tests are normal. There’s a lot of reasons for that. The
testing that really is required is poorly understood. A lot of times it’s
not covered by insurance companies. A lot of times it’s not interpreted
right because the doctors just aren’t familiar with these cases.
A lot of times people just come walking in with two big bags. One of
them has a lot of supplements in it. The other has five to 25 medications
in it. And, in the functional medicine world, we’re looking at that and
going, “Autoimmune problem, probably autoimmune problem, definitely a
possibility of fibromyalgia here.”
Patient walks in to me and tells me that I’m going to be the hardest
patient that they’ve ever had. These are the type of mental thought
processes that, if you’re having them, if you’re having these type of
things. If you’ve got the, you know, three tiered lazy susan of drugs and
If you’re having problem with your spouse or significant other
because they don’t really understand why you’re so tired and you look good.
You look relatively healthy but, you can’t get out of bed, that’s another
These are some of the more esoteric signs that you may, very well,
have fibromyalgia. Now, there’s a lot more specific signs that you are a
fibromyalgia patient that we will then delve into, once we’ve kinda made
that unfortunate assessment. But, in your particular case, it would be
fortunate because, once you know what you’re dealing with, at least at our
office, you can deal with it. Dr. Gates, would you like to go over some of
the more specific signs of fibromyalgia that are a little bit more solid as
we will, as I would say.
Dr. Gates: And I’ll go symptoms and signs. Lots of times, [inaudible
00:03:57] of fibromyalgia patient are complaining of chronic widespread
pain that maybe of a burning quality, it maybe of a numbness or tingling
quality, maybe it’s just a deep aching pain in all of your muscles and
joints. And, you’ve been screened for rheumatoid arthritis and other. . .
Dr. Rutherford: Your husband goes to hug you [crosstalk] and whoever goes
to hug you and you go ugh. . .
Dr. Gates: And your shirt bothers you and all that
Dr. Rutherford: It’s called central sensitization.
Dr. Gates: And so, basically, your brain has learned pain. That’s what’s
going on. I can push on Dr. Rutherford now and he’s not painful but, a
lot of you fibromyalgia patients, someone goes to pat you on the back and
you go ah, ah, ah. And so, those are a lot of the symptoms of
fibromyalgia. A lot of fibromyalgia patients have other, what are termed
comorbidities such as interstitial cystitis where they just feel like they
have to urinate a lot and and they’ll have a lot of pain above the pubic
symphysis, that’s right at the lower part of your abdomen. A lot of pain
in the bladder. A lot of you have migraines or chronic headaches. A lot
of you have depression and other psychiatric issues. Not psychiatric issues
from the standpoint that you’re crazy. But these are more depressive and
anxiety symptom relative to the way we think.
And there are reasons why you suffer with those things. And so,
that’s what I’d say relative to the symptoms.
Dr. Rutherford: A lot come in. A lot of Chronic Fatigue, a lot are
overweight, a lot of them have their hair falling out because you have, as
you might learn from looking at some of our other things, a lot of times
thyroids are involved, that gets set off, your blood tests are normal, they
tell you it’s not thyroid but it is. Can’t lose weight. A lot of you have
constipation because one of the most common causes of constipation happens
to be a low thyroid. A lot of you have your gall bladder out, your gall
bladders out, your uteruses out, your appendixes, your thyroids out.
Iif you have multiple organs that are disappearing, that’s a sign of
fibromyalgia and I would say [inaudible 00:05:54]. Here’s the thing, we
could have 100 different fibromyalgia patients and they could all be
different. So, who’ll have gut problems and who’ll have gas and who’ll
have diarrhea and who’ll have constipation and who’ll have alternating gas
and constipation, who’ll have bloating after they eat. You don’t have to
have all these but, if you have lots of those and you come in my office the
way we talked about at the beginning, there’s a good chance you have
There can be 80 different symptoms or more but, those, I would think,
cover the main ones that we see pretty consistently. And those are the
ones that start making us think, okay, you know what, you don’t fall asleep
at night, your brain’s going a million miles an hour and then you finally
get to sleep, you wake up and you can’t go back to sleep. You put those
together, you have five or six or eight of those, there’s a good chance
you’re looking at a case of fibromyalgia.
Dr. Gates: If they want more specific signs, you can go to the 2010
American College of Rheumatology’s guidelines and diagnosing fibromyalgia.
Or you can go to PowerHealthTalk.com where we spent about two hours, this
morning, on fibromyalgia. So that, we just have a ton of information out
there. And we had a really nice one hour vignette, really a video, on
fibromyalgia, the causes, the mechanisms, how the brain perceives pain at a
more detailed bubble than we can purview in these little five minute clips.
Dr. Rutherford: Go to powerhealthtalk.com Might make you feel a lot
better just knowing you’re not crazy.
Dr. Gates: Yeah.