Tag Archive: Fibromyalgia Treatment

Fibromyalgia pain no longer dominates my life

I have Sjogrens, Lupus, Fibromyalgia & Raynauds. When I first contacted you I was desperate for relief. My pains were almost completely gone after one month of using Banjo, and only came back (rather quickly) in a very “muted” state after I stopped using it. Meaning to say, that I know they are there but…

Fibromyalgia pain and IL-8

Natural fibromyalgia relief using anti-inflammatory herbs

On cytokines, inflammation, pain and fibromyalgia Cytokines are inter-cellular chemical messengers produced mostly by white blood cells. Some are generally pro-inflammatory (inflammatory cytokines turn inflammation ‘on’) while others are generally anti-inflammatory (they turn inflammation ‘off’). High levels of inflammatory cytokines indicate an ongoing inflammatory process. There might not be the appearance of ‘inflammation’ as we…

Evidence suggests an inflammatory process in fibromyalgia

Inflammation in Fibromyalgia

While the abstract referenced below is short, it makes mention of a number of key points, each suggesting that an inflammatory process may be at work in fibromyalgia: The cerebro-spinal fluid (CFS) of those with fibromyalgia has been shown to contain higher than normal levels of substance P and corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH). The blood…

Aquatic exercise for fibromyalgia

Exercise for Fibromyalgia

  Mild to moderate exercise is often recommended as a treatment for fibromyalgia. In the study summarized here, researchers followed changes in both pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokine levels over an eight month program of exercise. Give it time Results at the mid-point were not significant, but by the conclusion of eight months there was a…

How growth hormone deficiency worsens fibromyalgia symptoms

Growth Hormone Molecule

Growth hormone in fibromyalgia. Growth hormone is one of the numerous chemical mediators of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPAA,) a very complex system that governs many functions, including the immune response to stress. Various abnormalities of the HPAA have been implicated in fibromyalgia, including abnormalities in the production and release of growth hormone. Some research has…

Cytokine therapies for fibromyalgia?

Cytokine therapy for fibromyalgia

It is hard to describe a possible cause for all of the diverse symptoms of fibromyalgia without making reference to cytokines, especially the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-1, IL-6 and IL-8. Only pro-inflammatory cytokine excess offers a single, reasonable explanation for fatigue, sleep impairment, cognitive impairment (fibro-fog,) autonomic dysfunction (e.g.postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome – POTS,) depression, anxiety,…

Pregabalin (Lyrica) treatment effects on FIQ score

Lyrica Fibromyalgia FIQ Effects

  Determining the minimum significant change in the FIQ score. The data from three clinical trials of pregabalin (Lyrica) in the treatment of fibromyalgia were analyzed. These trials involved over 2,200 patients. Because these trials assessed each patient using multiple tests, analysis of the data allowed for the comparison of FIQ score changes with other…

Cymbalta shows modest effect on FIQ scores

Cymbalta for Fibromyalgia Image

  Cymbalta modestly improves total FIQ scores. Just over 200 subjects were enrolled in a 12 week placebo-controlled trial of Cymbalta (duloxetine.) Just under 90% were female and 38% had a concurrent diagnosis of major depression. Approximately half the trial participants received a placebo, while the remaining half received duloxetine 60 mg twice a day….

Tai chi may reduce FIQ score, relieve fibromyalgia symptoms

Tai Chi Therapy for Fibromyalgia

  Non-pharmacologic treatments are needed Fibromyalgia is a common and poorly understood pain disorder that afflicts an estimated 200 million or more people worldwide. Pharmacological treatments for fibromyalgia are not available to the vast majority of these individuals. Even when available, prescription treatments for fibromyalgia are often marginally effective or entirely ineffective. Standard drug treatments…

Sodium oxybate (Xyrem) significantly improves FIQ score

Sodium oxybate Xyrem image

  Sodium oxybate (Xyrem) appears superior to current FDA approved medications. An 8 week trial of sodium oxybate in the treatment of fibromyalgia resulted in a significant decrease in fibromyalgia impairment as measured by the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ.) Among those receiving sodium oxybate, the 4.5 gm dose resulted in a 20.4 point reduction in…

Is growth hormone an effective therapy for fibromyalgia?

graph of growth hormone increase

Growth hormone deficiency in fibromyalgia. Growth hormone is one of the many chemical mediators of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPAA,) a very complex regulatory system affecting nearly every bodily function but especially critical in homeostatic regulation of the stress response. Is growth hormone low in fibromyalgia? Some studies (including the second study referenced below) have shown…

Savella for fibromyalgia – impact on FIQ score

Savella - milnaciran label

  A 12 week trial of Savella in the treatment of fibromyalgia. Approximately 500 patients received Savella, 50 mg twice a day, for 12 weeks. Prior to the 12 week period, patients had their dose of Savella gradually increased over 4 to 6 weeks in preparation for the 12 week stable dose phase of the…

Will Banjo cure my disease?

Banjo only treats symptoms.

Banjo is not intended to be, and is not claimed to be, a cure for any ailment.

Banjo ‘only’ treats symptoms, and may reduce or even eliminate many symptoms related to inflammation.

In certain cases (such as mild osteoarthritis) it has been reported that symptoms (such as joint pain) entirely disappear after only a very short course of treatment with Banjo, and that they sometimes do not reappear for an extended period of time. However, this does not mean that the underlying condition or process has been cured.

Can children use Banjo?

You should consult with your child’s doctor. You and your child’s doctor need to determine the best course of treatment for your child. There are many synthetic chemicals offered by large pharmaceutical companies that are frequently prescribed for children. Be certain to ask your doctor about the side effects of any prescribed medication. And, since…

How often does Banjo work?

It’s not possible to say, at this point, for what percentage of people Banjo ‘works’. Pain, fatigue and other signs and symptoms of inflammation are present in a large number of conditions, some of which are quite severe and difficult to treat, others of which have generally milder symptoms. ‘Common sense’ suggests that a greater…

A role for cytokines in the pathophysiology of fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia Central Sensitization Image

There is substantial evidence that central sensitization plays a significant role in the pathophysiology of fibromyalgia, but several questions remain unanswered. How does central sensitization originate? How to account for the diversity of symptoms, common among those with fibromyalgia that cannot be explained by means of central sensitization?

Cytokine abnormalities may provide some basis for answering both questions. As noted in the publication briefly summarized below, cytokine abnormalities are associated with fatigue, sleep impairment, pain, stress, and aching. Cytokine abnormalities may also contribute to (or determine) the initial onset of central sensitization.

Fibromyalgia – symptoms other than pain add to disability

Fibromyalgia Disability Image

Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition that affects approximately 5 million individuals in the United States. These individuals comprise an estimated 5%–6% of all patients in primary care clinics and 10%–20% of all rheumatology outpatients. Those with fibromyalgia experience significant impairment in quality of life, disability, and incur total health care costs that are three…

Fibromyalgia exercise leads to a decrease in IL-8 elevation

Interleukin 8 in Fibromyalgia Graphic

Elevation of cytokines in fibromyalgia, including IL-8, provides evidence in support of an inflammatory hypothesis. With exercise, the level of circulating markers of inflammation, including IL-8, are shown to decrease in fibromyalgia. It is well established that exercise reduces inflammation generally. Fibromyalgia symptom response to exercise is consistent with, and supports, the inflammatory hypothesis in…

Inflammatory cytokine IL-8 elevated 300% in fibromyalgia

Elevated Cytokines Graph Image

Substantial evidence has accumulated that cytokines, especially IL-8, may play an important role in the initiation and progression of fibromyalgia.

Cytokines are small molecules that serve as inter-cellular messengers. There are many different types, each with multiple, diverse and sometimes overlapping functions. Understanding of cytokine function is limited, but cytokines are known to play an important role in regulating the immune system.

Alterations in cytokine levels (cytokine dysregulation) has been linked to sleep disorders, hyperalgesia (excess sensitivity to pain signals), stress, ‘aching’, anxiety and cognitive difficulties (e.g. such as with “fibro fog”.)

On investigation, the level of IL-8 in fibromyalgia patients was 300% of that found in healthy controls. Furthermore, only IL-8 levels were shown to increase over time.

Fibromyalgia and irritable bowel syndrome – what’s the connection?

Fibromyalgia and Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Fibromyalgia and irritable bowel syndrome frequently occur together (they are frequently “co-morbid”.) Up to around 40% of those with fibromyalgia have irritable bowel syndrome (reported figures vary from around 30% to around 60% or even higher.) And up to around 30% of those with irritable bowel syndrome have fibromyalgia.

What might account for this frequent association?

A novel theory of fibromyalgia

Natural fibromyalgia relief using anti-inflammatory herbs

This site presents a novel theory. It is proposed that fibromyalgia results from a form of ‘inflammation’ – specifically a dysfunction in the inflammatory response system leading to cytokine imbalance, including a persistent elevation in pro-inflammatory cytokines, especially IL-8.

Cytokine abnormalities, including elevations in IL-8 and other pro-inflammatory cytokines, are well-documented in fibromyalgia. Of special interest, pain intensity has been shown to correlate with IL-8 elevation. When IL-8 levels decrease – so does pain.

IL-8 is a potent activator of NF-kappaB (a central mediator of inflammation.) Once activated (by IL-8 or any one of many other agents,) NF-kappaB triggers the production of more pro-inflammatory cytokines, including more IL-8. This positive feedback loop (IL-8 acts via NF-kappaB to increase the production of IL-8) could easily become a vicious cycle. It seems that might be what happens in those with fibromyalgia, as suggested by the observation that such individuals have excess IL-8 as well as excess NF-kappaB activation.

Osteoarthritis is not caused primarily by wear and tear

Osteoarthritis is a chronic, progressive disease characterized by inflammation in and around the joint space. Inflammation eventually results in damage to joint structures, especially the cartilage covering the end of each bone at the joint space.

Because osteoarthritis commonly makes its appearance late in life, it has often been called “wear and tear” arthritis. That term, however, is generally misleading. An actual tear or other damage to a joint component will increase the likelihood of later developing osteoarthritis and will speed the progression of osteoarthritis. But in the absence of such physical damage, moderate exercise is beneficial to the joint, as it reduces inflammation. If osteoarthritis was simply the result of normal use (e.g. “wear and tear”) then additional wear and tear would not be expected to have a beneficial effect.

Why do so few men have fibromyalgia?

Men with Fibromyalgia

The answer is simple. A lot of men actually do have fibromyalgia – but technically, officially, many don’t. At least not according to the most widely recognized diagnostic criteria, which defines fibromyalgia in such a way that few men qualify (official diagnosis) but a lot of men almost qualify (they have the same condition, but…

Severe fatigue afflicts 75% of those with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

Fatigue, it seems, is a near constant companion of pain, which has led many to conclude that pain is the cause of fatigue.

It’s true of course that pain is ‘fatiguing’ – but it seems something else might be at work. Perhaps both pain and fatigue result from a form of mild, chronic inflammation.

It’s noteworthy that lupus patients, for example, often report that while pain abates during a remission, in many cases fatigue does not…

Practical research – invent a light bulb or study electrons?

Image of Light Bulb

Earlier today I was reading up on the latest research in chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. Some of what I read was complicated – very complicated. I read one article with a title like “Ion-gated channel activator and hyper-kinetic porphyrins in a rat model of post-encepaletic fatigue.” (OK, that wasn’t the real title – and some…

Is chronic fatigue syndrome the same as fibromyalgia?

There’s substantial research suggesting that it might be – and substantial research suggesting it isn’t.

Approximately 95% of those with chronic fatigue syndrome have diffuse pain in addition to chronic fatigue.

Over 75% of those with fibromyalgia report extreme, often debilitating fatigue.

Approximately half of those with either diagnosis meet the formal diagnostic criteria for the other.

Both conditions have been associated with excess activation of NF-kB, pro-inflammatory cytokine elevation and certain other dysfunctions in the inflammatory response system.

All of the above suggests that we may be dealing with two variations of a single underlying problem.

One notable difference between the two is that a far higher percentage of men comprise those with chronic fatigue syndrome vs. the percentage of men found among those with fibromyalgia. However…

Relief of longstanding fibromyalgia, diabetic neuropathy and arthritis

I just wanted to say that after trying Banjo for the last month I have had an increase in stamina and energy that seemed impossible for the last 15 years when I was diagnosed with what the Rheumatologist called “old fashioned” Rheumatism. Which is now called Fibromyalgia. Also my osteoarthritis is greatly improved and my diabetic neuropathy pain is slowly getting better. I have not had the stabbing pain that I would frequently get with the neuropathy that actually prevented me from sleeping since I started Banjo. It’s great to finally be able to get though the day without…

Fibromyalgia as a neuro-immunoendocrine disorder

Fibromyalgia is associated with increased levels of corticotropin-releasing hormone – corticotropin-releasing hormone has been shown to activate NF-kB.

Fibromyalgia is associated with increased levels of substance P, which is also known to activate NF-kB.

Fibromyalgia is associated with inflammation, as evidenced both by the frequent occurrence of other inflammatory conditions in those with fibromyalgia, and by the observation that pro-inflammatory cytokines are found at higher levels in the blood and cerebro-spinal fluid (CSF) of fibromyalgia patients.

The author of the study briefly summarized below suggests the use of anti-inflammatory supplements in the treatment of fibromyalgia and notes that these may be safely combined with other treatments.

Lyrica (pregabalin) treatment of fibromyalgia – how it works?

Substance P Image

Fibromyalgia is associated with increased levels of “substance P” – a neurotransmitter and neuromodulator that is found in the brain and spinal cord and that is associated with inflammatory processes and especially pain processes.

Pregabalin is used in the treatment of seizure, neuropathic pain and fibromyalgia. It is thought to act by binding to a specific receptor on nerve cells and reducing or slowing nerve transmissions in the central nervous system.

In this study it was shown to reduce the ability of substance P to activate NF-kB.

Neurogenic inflammation in fibromyalgia skin

Skin Rash in Fibromyalgia

Some fibromyalgia patients seem to respond relatively well to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs.)

Some fibromyalgia patients (about 30% in the study below) have evidence of neurogenic inflammation on skin biopsy. This might explain, at least in part, why some patients respond better than others to NSAIDs.

Fibromyalgia symptoms – severity related to cytokine levels

Some pro-inflammatory cytokines elevated in fibromyalgia; correlation with pain intensity This is an important publication because it clearly demonstrates that fibromyalgia is a disease of inflammation and that symptomatic relief can be achieved through the reduction of inflammation. Higher than normal levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines in the blood indicate ongoing inflammation. When inflammation is relieved,…

Fibromyalgia ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease linked

Fibromyalgia and Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Common musculoskeletal conditions among those with inflammatory bowel disease – arthritis and fibromyalgia.

Three observations suggest that we might be looking at a single underlying mechanism of disease.

Mugwort in acupuncture for fibromyalgia

Mugwort is an inhibitor of NF-kB, which accounts for its frequent historic use in herbal medicine in many countries.

In a process known as “moxibustion,” mugwort is burned – generally in a rolled up shape resembling a cigar. This burning ‘mugwort cigar’ is held near the patient’s skin at acupuncture points until it either warms or sometimes burns the skin.

It may be that the patient benefits from the inhalation of mugwort fumes/smoke or that in the warming process, when the mugwort is in direct contact with the skin, that some absorption of herbal actives takes place.

There is no good explanation of why this might work, and scant evidence – save the publication referenced below – that it does work.

Nonetheless, it is reported that 93% of fibromyalgia patients improved when moxibustion was combined with standard therapy, whereas only 57% improved with standard therapy alone.