Chronic illnesses are on the rise. From something as common as asthma and migraines, to ALS and cystic fibrosis – a chronic illness that can impact your quality of life in ways that are unfathomable to the healthy. The one we hear most complaints about here at The Hearty Soul though is definitely fibromyalgia.
What the heck is fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a chronic illness resulting in pain throughout the body – in muscles, and tendons, and tenderness in the joints. Fibromyalgia also comes with fatigue, insomnia, foggy memory or forgetfulness, and mood instability. In some cases it also comes with tension headaches, TMJ disorders, IBS, anxiety, and depression.
Fibromyalgia can be caused by physical trauma, surgery, infections, or physical and psychological stress. In these circumstances, it is often sudden in onset. But fibromyalgia may not have a singular cause, or even a reliable starting point. This means it is the result of an accumulation over the years.
Approximately, one in 50 people will develop fibromyalgia in their lifetime. It’s also the second most common disorder affecting the musculoskeletal system (after osteoarthritis).
Women are much more likely to develop fibromyalgia than men, about 80-90% of all cases are attributed to women. It also seems to be connected through families, a woman with a family member who has fibromyalgia may also suffer the illness.
A total of 50% of people living with fibromyalgia have difficulty with (or cannot perform) daily activities, 30 or 40% need to stop working or change jobs. Finally, the average sufferer is hospitalized once every three years.
What Can Sufferers Do?
While there is no official cure for fibromyalgia, people are always looking for hope. So, of course, when I found this article I felt I had to share it with you. This blog post is from Barbara Sinclair, a woman who claims to have healed herself of the condition using several different holistic methods.
An Incredible Story
Barbara Sinclair lived with fibromyalgia for seven years. Seven years of being unable to move freely, or experiencing limited movement. She developed fibromyalgia in 2002 (at the age of 48).
It all started with a single fever.
A one-day thing.
But for the next seven years she lived with pain that meant even light breezes caused her agony. She tried Western medicine, they could find nothing wrong and prescribed her other prescriptions to deal with her anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
She wasn’t satisfied. She wanted to address the root of the problem. She found Ayurveda. Well, first she found physical therapy: she found massages and chiropractic adjustments… and acupuncture.
On her acupuncturist’s advice (https://carriecegelis.com/), she stopped taking her Ambien and swapped over to a St. John’s Wort tincture to help her sleep. She says, “It took a couple of weeks, but all of a sudden I miraculously started sleeping! I also noticed a significant decrease in my pain, especially at night. And I had a brighter outlook on life.”
Ayurveda came later. It was a recommendation from an employee at her work. It took her months to find the right doctor.
He told her, “Your Vata is off the charts deranged.” Vata is a part of your body’s balance, the air/space dosha. He told her that was why slight breezes affected her.
She started making progress, slow progress, but progress. When she expressed her frustrations, he told her: “It takes the body a long time to get like this (out of balance) and it can take an equal amount of time to come back into balance.”
It took years of digging, thoughtful combing through her past, but what she found was a mountain of sadness: a failed 30-year marriage and other traumas and things to grieve. She repressed it. It came back at to her. She only realised it after she was cured. It would have been a good place to start.
Before things got better though, she had one more stop on her journey. She confesses that when her Ayurvedic doctor had left town, she had drifted away from his teachings.
But a friend set her on a new path, to a Tibetan Buddhist doctor, named Yeshi Dhonden. She walked into his office. He sat next to a translator. When the translator opened her mouth to speak – Dr. Yeshi cut her off. He said (through translator) “She has pain all throughout her body. It is worse in the heat of the summer and the cold of winter. She has numbness in her limbs and cannot sleep.” He told her all the things that were wrong with her. He gave her a list of foods to avoid. He gave her a personalised set of herbs and told her she could get them every month, with a small sum of money she sent by cheque to his clinic in India.
She finishes by saying, “For several months I faithfully followed Dr. Dhonden’s recommendations and slowly but surely my symptoms disappeared, one by one, never to return. The end was not nearly as dramatic as the beginning.”
You can find the complete story here. As this version was edited for brevity.