What Kind of Doctor Treats Fibromyalgia? (video)

Fibromyalgia can be difficult to treat, and not all doctors may understand it. You need to find a physician who listens to you, who has treated many cases of fibromyagia, and who has an interest and knowledge in treating it.

General practitioners, neurologists, rheumatologists or pain specialists may be qualified. It's important to find a doctor who listens to you so you can find a treatment plan that works for you. Ultimately, you may get best results from a team of doctors who communicate with each other and coordinate your care.

Careful management can help you control pain and fatigue, and restore your quality of life.

This video was created by Healthguru.com and Dr. Betty Keller; Dr. Keller practices at the Optimal Wellness Center in Franklin Lakes, NJ.

Are you tired of being tired? Could you have Chronic Fatigue?

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is overwhelming fatigue that is not explained by a known medical condition.

CFS gets worse with too much activity and is not relieved by rest. The cause of CFS in unknown, however there are many theories. In some cases it may be caused by viral illnesses including Epstein Barr, HHV-6, and parvo.

There is also evidence to suggest it can develop after a bacterial infection like Lyme or prolonged respiratory infections.. There may be impairment of the immune system or hormonal imbalances of the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, or adrenal glands. Other theories include excessive stress, from any source including, physical, emotional, chronic diseases, or infections. Most likely it is a combination of genetic and environmental factors, and that multiple triggers alone or in a combination can cause the onset of chronic fatigue.

How is Chronic Fatigued Syndrome Diagnosed?

There is no single test to confirm CFS.  To make the diagnosis of CFS underlying medical conditions need to be ruled out.  A comprehensive work up should be done and include a comprehensive history, physical and appropriate laboratory tests. Some of the more common causes of fatigue including anemia, diabetes or an underactive thyroid can be easily ruled out with simple blood tests.  Additional diagnostic tests should be done based on an individuals symptoms and physical findings.

 

The diagnosis of CFS is based on the following criteria. Severe persistent or relapsing fatigue lasting six months or more, in which the fatigue is not caused by a known disease, and is not relieved by rest. The fatigue also causes a significant (50%) reduction in a person’s activity level. In addition, to diagnose CFS four out of the following eight symptoms needs to be present.

  • Not feeling refreshed after sleep
  • Impaired memory/concentration
  • Muscle pain
  • Joint pain, involves one joint to another without swelling or redness
  • Headaches
  • Sore throat
  • Tender cervical/ axillary lymph nodes
  • Extreme exhaustion lasting more than 24 hours after physical exercise

What are the risk factors for developing CFS?

Risk factors for developing CFS include age, female gender, genetics, high stress occupations and or lifestyle.

CFS occurs more commonly in people in there 40s and 50s.  Anyone can develop CFS, but it is more common in women, this may be that women are more likely to seek treatment for fatigue.  There appears to be a genetic link as well. People with a first degree relative with CFS have an increased risk of developing CFS.  Those with high stress lifestyles are also more susceptible to developing CFS.

Associated Conditions

Some people with CFS also fit the criteria for FMS (a chronic pain syndrome). People with CFS who do not get help are at risk of developing anxiety, depression, social isolation, lifestyle changes (reduce activity level), and increased work absences.

Treatment for Chronic Fatigue

The treatment for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome must be individualized; a comprehensive holistic approach can help the body return to a healthy state. There is no magic pill that will make your symptoms disappear. It will take time for your body to recover. It is best to find a Practioner who has experience in treating CFS.  The first step your doctor should do is to confirm the diagnosis, making sure there is not another cause for your fatigue. After your diagnosis is confirmed they need to help you develop an individualized treatment and wellness plan. Your wellness plan is not limited to but should include the following:

  • Stress management plan– tools and ways to reduce and manage stress. Excessive production of stress hormones can cause fatigue and make it difficult to recover.
  • Nutritional plan– you are what you eat you need to follow a whole food diet, avoid processed foods and artificial sweeteners, and chemical additives. It is best to work with a practitioner who can help you develop a healthy eating plan.  A diet rich in nutrients   can help heal your body.
  • Vitamins/ Supplements- Appropriate vitamins and supplements if indicated.
  • Medications– Appropriate medications when indicated.
  • Sleep Hygiene Program– a program to help you get enough restorative sleep, so your body can heal.
  • Exercise program– individual exercise program tailored to your energy level.
  • Psychological support: Appropriate support in dealing with emotional issues, making sure to address automatic negative thoughts.  Negative thinking can further fatigue your body.  A referral to a good mental health professionals can help you when indicated.
  • Additional Treatments: Additional treatments to consider in your wellness plan include, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Acupuncture, Massage, Physical therapy, and Chiropractic therapy.
  • Support: on going support, working with a doctor who is there to support your recovery. It will take time to recover but with the right treatment and wellness plan you will get better.

Spring Allergies: Steps to Ease Your Allergy Symptoms

Springtime is a welcome change, with warmer weather, sunny days and beautiful flowers. Unfortunately for people with spring allergies it means the return of pollen and symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion, postnasal drip, and red irritated eyes.

Spring allergies are the result of pollen from trees, which can start pollinating anytime from January to April.  They can also be secondary to grass, which occur in spring and summer.

When pollen is in the air it can land on your skin or in your eyes, nose, or lungs and cause allergic reactions.

What you can do to reduce your exposure?

First know the pollen count. A great way to stay up on daily counts is to go to Pollen.com and sign up for daily pollen email alerts. Now with this information in hand limit your outdoor exposure on the days with the highest pollen counts. If you have to go out try and avoid the early morning hours between 5am and 10am as these are the highest counts of the day. If you insist on gardening wear a mask. (It will give the neighbors something to talk about.)

Next,  keep the pollen out of the house! Keep your indoor air clean.  Remove your clothes and wash promptly, in addition make sure to shower off after coming inside to avoid spreading pollen around the house.  Keep the windows closed and use the air conditioning. The worse thing you can do is sleep with the windows open and let all that pollen get inside your home.  You might want to use a portable high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter in your bedroom. Also, I know this is a tough one, but keep your pets out of the bedroom and off your bed; pollen gets in their fur and can easily spread to your linens.

What can you do to ease your allergy symptoms?

One of the best ways to reduce symptoms is to use a saline nasal rinse. (Salt-water rinse) Rinsing twice a day can significantly reduce allergy symptoms by removing mucus and allergens from your nasal passages.

What else can you try?

Try over the counter medicines if your symptoms are mild.

There are several types of nonprescription medications sold over the counter to reduce allergy symptoms. These include:

Oral antihistamines: Antihistamines help reduce sneezing, itching, runny nose and watery eyes. Claritin and Zyrtec are two examples.  Benadryl is also an antihistamine but can cause drowsiness.

Decongestants. Oral decongestants like pseudofed reduce nasal stuffiness. Nasal decongestants like Afrin also reduce nasal congestion but are limited to a three-day course; prolonged use of nasal spray decongestants can actually worsen the symptoms.

There are also combination medications:  These medications combine an antihistamine with a decongestant, like Clairton D.

What else can you do?

Make sure to drink plenty of water, and eat an anti-inflammatory whole food diet. Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, lean protein and avoiding processed foods, white flour and sugar.