The Mind-Body Solution (to Fibromyalgia?)
I’ve been giving this fibromyalgia diagnosis a lot of thought. I haven’t come up with any ironclad conclusions – though neither has the medical community, frankly – but I’ve definitely had a few insights which might be worth your consideration if you too are a woman in menopause who has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia.
The first pertains to the connection between low estrogen levels in menopausal women which often leads to low serotonin levels in the brain. Low serotonin levels are also linked to chronic joint and muscle pain. If raising one’s serotonin levels helps decrease joint and muscle pain, it’s not too much of a stretch to understand why physicians write prescriptions for antidepressants (which artificially raise serotonin levels) to women in menopause who are complaining of depression, and chronic joint and muscle pain – both symptoms of fibromyalgia.
So, there’s that.
Then there is the fact that low vitamin D levels are also associated with chronic joint and muscle pain. Low vitamin D levels are also associated with depression. People who suffer with SAD, seasonal affective disorder, for example, often live in climates that have long winters (such as Alaska and North Dakota) and tend to spend a lot of time indoors which limits their exposure to sunshine, which subsequently lowers their vitamin D levels, which subsequently leads to depression. It’s also important to note that low serotonin levels are present in people who suffer with chronic depression – hence, why they are also prescribed antidepressants.
Women in menopause who are diagnosed with fibromyalgia often also deal with depression, which too contributes to chronic muscle and joint pain, and as such, they also suffer with low vitamin D levels as well. Are you seeing a pattern here? I certainly am. Menopausal woman, low estrogen, low serotonin, chronic aches and pains, depression, low vitamin D levels, more chronic aches and pains, more depression, more low serotonin, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
It would certainly be easier if we could isolate symptoms, and associate them with a neatly defined “condition” with clear boundaries and no messy bleeding (pardon the awful pun) into other areas of our health. But as we all know, that is just not the case.
Of course, this doesn’t stop medicine from trying to treat our symptoms as if they are some isolated set of events which just randomly “show up” one day in an otherwise perfectly healthy human being. But that’s another rant for another day.
What I really want to tell you about is a book I bought some time ago entitled The Mind-Body Mood Solution by Dr. Jeffrey Rossman, PhD. When I bought the book, I was struggling with depression and looking for a way out of the deep, dark hole I just couldn’t seem to crawl out of.
I knew I didn’t want to take antidepressants. But, I also knew that if I didn’t do something my condition would only worsen, and eventually it did. I believe my fibromyalgia diagnosis is the evidence of that.
I plan to use The Mind-Body Mood Solution book to help me overcome fibromyalgia. I am convinced that this is a condition which must be attacked from all angles, the body, the mind, and the spirit. I make no authoritative medical claim that this book is the definitive answer to fibromyalgia.
But, given that almost half of all physicians (48%),don’t believe fibromyalgia even exists, and those who do are no closer to explaining it much less effectively treating it, then what harm is there in my taking “fibromyalgia by the horns” and wrestling it to the ground by my own efforts?
I don’t see any.
If you’re interested in following me down this rabbit hole then pick up a copy of the book for yourself, and check back with me on my next blog post. I’ll have more to say about it then.
Magnolia Miller is a certified healthcare consumer advocate in women’s health and a women’s freelance health writer and blogger at The Perimenopause Blog.