Fibromyalgia: Advances in treatment
December 20, 2017
Fibromyalgia has become one of the most widespread chronic pain conditions, affecting an estimated 10 million people in the United States and approximately 5 percent of people in the world. What’s more astounding is that 75 to 90 percent of people with this disorder are women.
As the field of fascial research grows, scientists are finding the missing pieces to help people manage their pain by focusing on fascial intervention rather than neurological inhibition.
Although it’s widely understood that overactive pain-sensing nerves are a key factor of fibromyalgia, there are other, even more important, triggers of pain that must be addressed in order to get significant pain reduction. In this disorder, the sensory nerves send too many messages to the brain, altering neurotransmitters and lymphatic regulation, and ultimately creating excessive inflammation. Like the sensory nerves, this inflammation lives in the connective tissue system. If you treat just the brain and the nerves without taking steps to help the environment they live in, more symptoms occur. This leaves the person out of touch with their body, unable to sense themselves at all because all they feel is pain.
Recent research has shown that fascial adaptation can occur as a reaction to neurological distress, and this is now being investigated as the true source for the deep burning pain people describe, as well as the excessive inflammation, muscle disruption, and chronic contractility. Research is now examining whether the fascial adaptation could be the catalyst for the sensory nerve overactivity, rather than the other way around. Two large European studies found that after 20 sessions of myofascial release, fibromyalgia subjects reported significant pain reduction. What is really great is that this intervention provided long-lasting pain relief.
We’ve known for a long time that MELT’s gentle self-care techniques can greatly reduce pain and restore function as well as hope to clients worldwide suffering from chronic pain. The first step is getting them back into their body and going slowly to restore the environment their sensory nerves live in. Doing this without causing more sensitization is the trick. MELT is an interruption of the pain cycle and helps people regain their sense of their body instead of just sensing pain.
First we need to get a person’s brain to sense their body. I know that must sound weird, but think of it like talking through a soundproof window. The person is right there in front of you, but you can’t hear them at all. It’s the same with this issue. When I ask a person in pain, “Can you sense whether your ribs are on or off the floor?” their answer is often, “I’m not sure what I feel.” It’s their body, but their mind can’t seem to connect with it.
The Mini Hand and Foot Treatments and the Rebalance Sequence are often the best places to start. In the MELT Method book, I outline a step-by-step process for people suffering with neurological and systemic disorders to begin helping themselves.
Fibromyalgia creates a vicious pain cycle. People with this issue can go a day feeling good and then try to do something, perhaps too much, and crash, then get more depressed and fatigued and the cycle starts over again with them trying to feel better. I’ve worked with many people who had struggled for a decade or more to no avail. Doctors give them antibiotics, which then cause even more side effects and damage.
It’s been so rewarding to hear about the results people get from working one-on-one with MELT instructors like Christine Kwok in Los Angeles. One of her clients suffered for nearly a decade and had been taking antibiotics for 18 months until her gut got so bad it caused so many other issues she barely left the house.
“When we first started working together, she could barely do anything, maybe one or two exercises and walk for five minutes. When I got trained in MELT, I shared the techniques with her slowly and tracked her progress. Now we can do multiple sequences and exercises and she can do 20 minutes of cardio daily. That’s a huge improvement for someone who barely left the house from this debilitating pain disorder,” says Christine, who was recently interviewed by Lori Corbin of ABC News.
Fibromyalgia may not have a cure yet, but we are making headway in managing the pain responses and helping those with the disorder to get back to a healthy lifestyle. The first step is changing your brain’s messaging as well as your body’s supportive environment. The MELT protocol addresses both, allowing someone with fibromyalgia to finally get off the merry-go-round of pain.
To find an instructor near you, go to https://www.meltmethod.com/finder/. You can also get immediate access to the entire MELT video library, which includes the Mini Hand and Foot Treatments and Rebalance Sequence, with a subscription to MELT On Demand. Purchase the MELT Hand and Foot Treatment Kit to get started with the treatments.