This fascial continuum is crucial for proper motor coordination and the final movement to take place. Everyday movements of the body are possible thanks to the presence of the fascial tissues and their inseparable interconnection, which allows the sliding of the muscular framework and the sliding of nerves and vessels between/around contractile fields and joints, the same way all the organs can slide and move among each other, influenced by the position of the body. An alteration of the bodily movements would have a negative influence on neural, peripheral, and central processes, which would induce modifications in the motor patterns. An alteration of the function and structure of the lumbar fascia could cause disturbances to the whole back, shoulders, neck, and motor imbalances of the muscular area of the abdomen and thorax.”  From the study being discussed today (BTW, the authors are talking about the THORACOLUMBAR FASCIA that you can actually watch move HERE)

Although there are not a lot of things we know for sure about FIBROMYALGIA (it’s heavily associated with both CHRONIC PAIN and SMALL FIBRE NEUROPATHY), a team of Italian researchers, once again led by DR. BRUNO BORDONI, hit the nail on the head with a study linking fibro to the most abundant connective tissue in the body; FASCIA. The study (Fascial Preadipocytes: Another Missing Piece of the Puzzle to Understand Fibromyalgia?) published in this month’s issue of Open Access Rheumatology, concluded that “The fibromyalgia patient has many myofascial system abnormalities, such as pain and fatigue. This paper revises the myopathic compensations, highlighting the possible role of the fascia in generating symptoms, being aware of the new information about the fascia’s activity in stimulating inflammation and fat cell production.”  Let’s begin by talking about some things we already know.
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Firstly, fascia has a number of unique qualities, including the fact that it acts as a SECOND NERVOUS SYSTEM. Secondly, there are many experts who believe that fascia is the most potentially pain-sensitive tissue in the body (HERE).   Furthermore, it is extremely difficult to image with standard testing procedures (see link at top of page).  As you can imagine, this combination can be trouble if things start going wrong.  After mentioning that FM affects a whopping 2% of the world’s population or 152,000,000 people, Bordoni talked about FM’s symptom profile.

“FM is characterized by various symptomatological manifestations such as widespread chronic pain (allodynia), hyperalgesia, morning stiffness, altered sensory perception (light, sounds, temperature, touch, smell), sleep disorders, mood disturbances (anxiety and depression), general fatigue, memory loss, irritable bowel, restless leg, migraine, cognitive difficulties, dysmenorrhea, and temporomandibular joint disorder”

What does this mean in English and why is it important to be able to recognize this cluster of symptoms? Because other than symptoms, there is not a definitive method of diagnosing Fibro.  “Despite the large amount of scientific literature available, FM etiology is still uncertain. The diagnosis is based on the clinical presentation and the severity of the symptomatology.”  While some are self-explanatory, allow me to take you through them quickly.

  • ALLODYNIA / HYPERALGIA:  Allodynia is defined as an exaggeratedperception of pain, while hyperalgia is characterized by the sensation of pain when there should be no pain.  As you might expect, most experts now believe that FM involves some degree of CENTRAL SENSITIZATION and GLIAL CELL activation.
  • ALTERED SENSORY PERCEPTION:  This is one of the myriad of symptoms that could fall under the umbrella of SYMPATHETIC DOMINANCE.  Quite often there is a heightened sense of smell (this is often related to MCS or Multiple Chemical Syndrome.  When the body becomes saturated with TOXICITY to the point it cannot detox (BIOTRANFORMATION) quickly enough, numerous symptoms, many of which are listed here, begin showing up.  This bullet is also where I put dizziness / VERTIGO / abnormal gait or movement patterns — common problems in those with FM thanks to something known as CEREBELLAR ATAXIA, which interestingly enough, is highly related to GLUTEN SENSITIVITY, whether celiac or non-celiac.
  • SLEEP DISORDERS: These are also a function of Sympathetic Dominance and are characterized by people who are exhausted all the time, but have trouble sleeping, particularly at night.  You’ll have to decide for yourself if SLEEPING PILLS are right for you.
  • MOOD DISTURBANCES: Interestingly enough, if you really dig into the research you’ll see that both ANXIETY and DEPRESSION are caused by inflammation.
  • GENERAL FATIGUE:  This can’t be surprising considering that when I first heard of Fibromyalgia back in the early 1990’s, it was referred to as Fibromyalgia / CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME.
  • MEMORY LOSS / COGNITIVE DIFFICULTIES:  This is usually referred to as “Fibro Fog” and goes way beyond generalized forgetfulness or an inability to concentrate.
  • DYSMENORRHEA:  Fibro is mostly found in females, with this bullet referring to a wide range of female issues (HEREHEREHEREHEREHEREHERE and HERE are a few of them).
  • IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME:  IBS is an autoimmune disease characterized by both CONSTIPATION and diarrhea, not to mention SIBO.
  • RESTLESS LEG SYNDROME:  RLS is another autoimmune disease that’s a form of NEUROPATHY.  Be aware that many experts believe that FM is itself an AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE (“The origin could be immune-mediated“).
  • TMJ PROBLEMS:  If there is any problem I like to deal with less than TMJ, I’m not sure what it would be.  This probably has to do with the fact that a significant amount of TMJ is not mechanical but neurological.
  • OTHERS:  When it comes to severe fibro, there are any number of other symptoms that are common.  For example, show me a woman with fibro who does not have a HARDCORE SUGAR / CARB ADDICTION, and I’ll show you a hundred that do.
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Author: Dr James Robber

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