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Fibromyalgia and the Mind-Body-Spirit Connection
18 Replies
Theadora - March 9

From authors William B. Salt II, MD, and Edwin H. Season, MD, This is about treating the pain and fatigue associated with fibromyalgia and the role the mind/body/spirit connection plays in the condition.


Theadora - March 9

Dr. Season: Fibromyalgia is wide-spread muscular aching pain and stiffness, associated with tenderness on palpation of characteristic paired sights called trigger, or tender points located in the neck, the back, and the extremities. Fibromyalgia, in addition to having widespread muscular pain, also has fatigue, a sleeping disorder, and some type of stress-anxiety and depression.


Theadora - March 9

Dr. Salt: Fibromyalgia is considered to be a functional illness, so the symptoms are real and not imagined, and the medical tests are normal. Most patients and doctors view and understand fibromyalgia and related functional illnesses through what we call a bio-medical model, that fails to explain illness where there is no evidence of disease. The model is based upon "reductionism," where all problems can be explained A to B, cause and effect, and based upon dualism, that the mind and body are split and separate. But the reality is, all illness is multi-dimensional. In other words, fibromyalgia and other functional illnesses can really be understood through what doctors call a biopsychosocial-spiritual model. Dr. Season and I propose that people, patients and doctors, need to use a common language to understand the cause of fibromyalgia, and how to feel better with it. It's important then to understand that the functional illnesses like fibromyalgia are best addressed by recognizing, understanding, and accepting the connection of body, mind and spirit, the inter-relationships of body, mind, and spirit with genetics, environment, and society, and the impact and influence of conscious as well as unconscious mind, though, and motion and stress.


Theadora - March 9

Dr. Salt: The symptoms are not all in the head, but they are in the mind-body-spirit. The organ in the head, the brain and the mind, is connected to the body, and we know this through the spinal cord connection, through the autonomic nervous system, and through the neuropeptide messenger communication system, that is, small protein molecules that circulate through the body and communicate messages back and forth between brain and body and vice versa. So we know that we have to look at the mind-body, and really the spirit, from a holistic perspective to begin to understand that the symptoms, though real, cannot be explained through a bio-medical model which looks at body only.

We believe there's a relationship between fibromyalgia and an abnormal reaction to stress, or an abnormal stress response. Stress can be defined as the perception of a physical or psychological threat, and the perception of being ill-prepared to cope with that threat. Anytime an individual is undergoing excessive stress, that can be a contributing factor to fibromyalgia. Remember 2 things about stress -- the first is that stress is perceptual. One person's poison is another person's potion. Second, the perception of stress may be occurring at an unconscious mind level, so we may be unaware that we're under the stress from a cognitive perspective.


Theadora - March 9

Dr. Salt: We feel strongly that the most important element for people and patients with fibromyalgia, IBS, and other functional illnesses, is knowledge and understanding, that it is important to understand and accept the mind-body-spirit connection. We feel that everyone, people, patients and doctors, tend to underestimate our individual power to heal. We feel strongly that treatment and healing are not the same; treatment is the application of something external, or something given to the patient, often by a doctor but even a natural substance like an herbal preparation.... but healing, by contrast, comes from within. We believe that people and patients who suffer with these conditions, tend to underestimate their own power to heal and that they are more powerful than we all give them credit for. Neuropeptides can be turned on and off through thought, belief, relaxation, exercise, diet, sleep, and medication.


Theadora - March 9

Dr. Salt: That brings up two very important issues; the first is that it's very common for people and patients who suffer from functional illnesses such as fibromyalgia and IBS to report the onset of their condition and symptoms in conjunction or related to some kind of stress, be it physical or psychological stress or strain. The second is that it's also common to have fibromyalgia in association with, or concurrent with another organic condition.


Theadora - March 9

Dr. Salt: To illustrate the mind-body relationship and the expression of stress and emotion into the body, one of the administrators at my hospital shared an interesting observation; she said, "When I'm under stress, I have a numbness and tingling that occurs in my left arm between my elbow and my wrist." I thought that was fascinating and evident of the mind-body connection. But then she added, "And I have learned that I may not be actually aware that I am under stress at the time. I may not actually feel stressed at the level of my mind, such as anxiety. I have become aware that when that physical symptom occurs, that I am under strain and then I become aware of that strain." This brings us back to one of the points Dr. Season and I would like to emphasize. We all experience stress and emotion expressed in the body, and that stress and emotions occur at the conscious and unconscious level. It is not a weakness or mental illness to have the expression of stress and emotion in the body.


Theadora - March 9

The steps are: 1, connecting mindbodyspirit. 2, learning about fibromyalgia and myofascial pain. 3, healing with diagnosis and education. 4, making the connection. 5, emphasizing self-care and wellness. 6, managing your fibromyalgia. 7, taking action if symptoms persist.


Theadora - March 9


Theadora - March 9

Good luck and Good Health!


tcmby - March 9

Oh wow.... that is really interesting! A friend of mine sent me a link about Fibro & the mind/body connection a few weeks ago. It makes a LOT of sense to me. Doctors never talk about this stuff & treat us like cars (which part is broken, lets tune it up, cut it open, replace it, or pour some concoction down it to "hopefully" fix it) and they barely ever ask the important emotional questions like these doctors in this article are. I especially like how they take the time to explain how they are NOT saying that the pain is "in our heads" which is very important coz thats what most people think when this kind of stuff is brought up. Then of course they get mad & insulted & completely miss the message. I know that my aunt got Fibro after the stress of a major car accident & mine started after a terribly stressful time in my life too. I have always seen that connection. That link to Dr Brady's website is really awesome how it explains how stress causes our symptoms! This is really quite exciting actually. Thanks for posting this info Theadora! I may just order that book after I google & research this around a little bit more. Nice Post!


larry - March 9

Welcome back Theadora!!!!

How are you feeling? Does Dr. Salt also talk about the glandular hormone imbalances, the nutrional deficiences and the underlying infections? I would be interested to know this.


Iinda - March 11

The cut & pasted article above is good, but the link to that other website is really enlightening. I think there was a lady here (Patrice?) who was looking for info on how stress can bring on Fibro. This link is a great place to start. Tcmby: I think I may order that book too. I had given up buying into new concepts for fibro, but it makes a great deal of sense for me as well. We all get a lot of advice and "info pasting" on this site.... but this one is really worth a look at. Everyone should at least have a peek, I think it could really help some people :::


Theadora - March 11

I am so happy this info is helping you ladies! I will post more about how this stress makes terrible agony and pain for us. This has helped me so much, it feels so good to share. Blessings!


Adaire - March 15

That website was very interesting. It makes total sense to me too. I have also ordered Dr Brady's book. I'll let you guys know what happens. I am actually kinda excited and hopeful, which I haven't been in a LONG time... thanks.


Iinda - March 15

I am also getting the book (from the library). I can't wait to read it in its entirety. Lets keep each other updated. It would be great if a group of us read and worked through the material together!


Adaire - March 18

I came across another great book about the mindbody connection and fibro. Its called FREEDOM FROM FIBROMYALGIA, by: DR NANCY SELFRIDGE. She is a doctor who practices in Wisconsin but once had terrible fibro and has cured herself using mindbody medicine as well. Reviews on Amazon are really good for this one too. These doctors all seem to be saying the same thing. Its exciting and encouraging.



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