||FMS Community Newsletter #105. May 18,
|Editor: Mary McKennell(Photo in left
As usual I have some story as to why this has not appeared in a timelier manner. Suffice
it to say, I have CMP/FMS/CFS and life just does not always go as I plan it in my head. I
think it also has to do with bronchitis that lasted from December to April.
I have developed a new hobby which is fun and helpful at the same time. I started messing
around with essential oils because of my massage therapist. She uses a combination
of things on me, depending on what is bothering me the most or what pops into her brain.
One of the things that she frequently treats is bronchitis. I decided after a previous
bout with bronchitis that I should buy some of my own oils to treat these troublesome
respiratory problems. So I bought a book on essential oils and got started on my learning
One bottle led to another until I developed quite a collection. My respiratory brew
has worked on most people. I dont know that I was a good advertisement for the
concoction, since I could not get well. But all sorts of people around me have had the flu
or colds and felt miserable enough to let me practice on them. They improved with the use
of essential oils. Did they improve faster than normal or did it just make their symptoms
more tolerable? In my case, it made things more tolerable and maybe I would have been sick
for longer without the use of it.
I have had some things that worked wonderfully for me. I have had a lavender aromatherapy
jar on my desk for several years. When I feel myself getting stressed out, I just open the
jar and take a whiff. Geranium oil (with some lotion) has worked great when I wake up in
the middle of the night with cramps in my feet. Lavender and peppermint on a cotton ball
help me to go to sleep when my head is pounding and I dont want to take more
medication. Clove oil mixed with some lotion helped tremendously with the terrible cough
that I had. My massage therapist tells me that clove oil has antibacterial properties. She
always carries a cotton ball with clove oil on it when she flies to scare off the germs. I
certainly am trying it this week when I fly, as I got this terrible bronchitis after a
One of the secretarys at work and I have been doing a little experiment. I have this
blend called peace and calming and we started putting one drop on our wrists
in the morning when work began and then again after lunch. We concluded that we were
better able to withstand the chaos of the workday with its assistance and not be as
Another blend called no more grazing has worked well at controlling food
cravings. It also has worked well for the 10 people in my weight loss class who were
willing to try anything! None of us are certain why it has been effective, but agree that
it has worked. Is it because we are doing something distracting before we actually pick up
the food? Or is it the smell itself that discourages eating?
I have been using this blend called enlightenment on the soles of my feet at
night. I have extremely blissful sleep and pleasant dreams the nights that I remember to
I have not experimented with anything specifically for pain so I have nothing to report
about that. The only true disaster that I have had was 3 years ago when someone put
peppermint oil on my feet. I went through the roof! I wound up with excruciating pain and
had a (mild) shock reaction. I had a similar reaction when I gingerly tried a drop more
Speaking of pain relief, if you have not discovered Biofreeze, try it! Its a staple
in our household. It comes in either roll or in a gel. They have introduced a new version
that goes on warm rather than cold that is nice. It has nothing to do with essential oils,
it just popped into my head, while I was thinking about pain. And I have no commercial
interest in the product. I get mine through my chiropractor but I have also seen it at
beauty supply stores.
I have been buying most of my essential oils through a company called Birch Hill
Happenings. One of the reasons that I kept buying through them is their excellent customer
service. I cant believe how fast that box arrives on my doorstep! I have no
commercial interest in giving the company a plug here. They also have a series of
unscented products for the multiple chemical sensitivities folks out there. It was
coincidental that Birch Hill had an article on Fibromyalgia recently in their newsletter.
Wishing you joy in the journey!
ARTICLES IN THIS ISSUE:
1. Fibromyalgia and Aromatherapy
2. Not Only Cars Deserve Maintenance
3.What Is Quercetin? Why You Should Care?
4.Pain in Fibromyalgia Is Linked to Changes in Brain Molecule
5.Cortisol Could Alleviate Chronic Fatigue & Fibromyalgia
6.Brain scans reveal smokers' clouded judgment
7.1 in 5 veterans found with mental disorder
8.Trauma Patients Suffer Even 12 Months After Injury
9.Prevalence of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome in a Cohort of Multiple
10.Fibromyalgia: The Misunderstood Disease
11.FDA now requires suicide assessment of new drugs prior to approval.
12.Sore Wrists and Hands Can Result from Our Work: but Is It Carpal Tunnel
13.Demolishing Angers Walls
Fibromyalgia and Aromatherapy
by Penny Keay
We have been asked often about Fibromyalgia the past few months. So in this newsletter
issue we will give a few suggestions of what essential oils or massage blends you can use.
Aromatherapy and Massage therapy are often suggested to help those afflicted with
Fibromyalgia. These complimentary alternatives will often time work on the symptoms to
help give the sufferer some relief.
Fibromyalgia has the following symptoms; pain that can be moderate to severe when touched
lightly on any muscle. Other symptoms include chronic fatigue and having trouble sleeping.
When we are asked about Fibromyalgia we usually will address the sleeping issue and the
First we start out by suggesting the use of Lavender or other relaxing essential oils to
be used about 30 minutes prior to bedtime. You can diffuse it in the air or just inhale a
few breaths from a tissue or Personal inhaler. Also put a drop or two on your pillow at
the same time to get a little Lavender in the bedroom.
The rest of this article can be found at:
It's Not Only Cars That Deserve Good Maintenance-Brain Care 101
Last week, the US Car Care Council released a list of tips on how to take care of your car
and save big money at the pump in 2008.
You may not have paid much attention to this announcement. Yes, its important to
save gas these days; but, its not big news that good maintenance habits will improve
the performance of a car, and extend its life.
If we can all agree on the importance of maintaining our cars that get us around town,
what about maintaining our brains sitting behind the wheel?
A spate of recent news coverage on brain fitness and brain training has missed
an important constituency: younger people. Recent advancements in brain science have as
tremendous implications for teenagers and adults of all ages as they do for seniors.
In a recent conversation with neuroscientist Yaakov Stern of Columbia University, he
related how surprised he was when, years ago, a reporter from Seventeen magazine requested
an interview. The reporter told Dr. Stern that he wanted to write an article to motivate
kids to stay in school and not to drop out, in order to start building their Cognitive
Reserve early and age more gracefully.
What is the Cognitive Reserve?
Emerging research since the 90s from the past decade shows that individuals who lead
mentally stimulating lives, through their education, their jobs, and also their hobbies,
build a Cognitive Reserve in their brains. Only a few weeks ago another study
reinforced the value of intellectually demanding jobs.
Stimulating the brain can literally generate new neurons and strengthen their connections
which results in better brain performance and in having a lower risk of developing
Alzheimers symptoms. Studies suggest that people who exercise their mental muscles
throughout their lives have a 35-40% less risk of manifesting Alzheimers.
As astounding as these insights may be, most Americans still devote more time to changing
the oil, taking a car to a mechanic, or washing it, than thinking about how to maintain,
if not improve, their brain performance.
The remainder of this article can be read at:
What Is Quercetin? Why Should You Care?
Quercetin is a natural antioxidant found in red grapes, red apples, green tea, onions, and
broccoli and belongs to a class of compounds called bioflavenoids, pigments found in
thousands of plants. Quercetin is beneficial in reducing bladder irritation from various
causes and improves the quality and duration of sleep for patients. Quercetin is also
believed to enhance visual performance, and has been claimed to improve upper respiratory
symptoms in allergies and colds. The effect is thought to be the result of a stabilizing
effect on the break-up of certain infection-fighting cells called mast cells. These cells
contain histamine, which produces many of the symptoms that we associate with colds and
allergies. In the presence of a chemical or biological irritant, these cells rupture and
release their contents into the circulation at the site of irritation, producing pain,
swelling, and increased secretion of fluids in the area. Quercetin is believed to prevent
the rupture of the cell walls of these inflammatory mast cells.
Read the rest of the article to find out what this has to do with CFS and Fibromyalgia.
Pain in Fibromyalgia Is Linked to Changes in Brain Molecule
Newswise Researchers at the University of Michigan Health System have found a key
linkage between pain and a specific brain molecule, a discovery that lends new insight
into fibromyalgia, an often-baffling chronic pain condition.
In patients with fibromyalgia, researchers found, pain decreased when levels of the brain
molecule called glutamate went down. The results of this study, which appears in the
journal Arthritis and Rheumatism, could be useful to researchers looking for new drugs
that treat fibromyalgia, the authors say.
If these findings are replicated, investigators performing clinical treatment trials
in fibromyalgia could potentially use glutamate as a surrogate marker of
disease response, says lead author Richard E. Harris, Ph.D., research assistant
professor in the Division of Rheumatology at the U-M Medical School's Department of
Internal Medicine and a researcher at the U-M Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center.
The molecule glutamate is a neurotransmitter, which means it conveys information between
neurons in the nervous system. When glutamate is released from one neuron, it diffuses
across the space between cells, and then binds to receptors on the next neuron in line and
causes the cell to become excited, or to be more active.
This molecule was suspected to play a role in fibromyalgia because previous studies had
shown that some brain regions in fibromyalgia patients appear to be highly excited. One
such region is the insula.
In functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies, researchers at U-M had previously
shown that the insula displays augmented activity in fibromyalgia, which means neurons in
these patients are more active in this part of the brain. The U-M team hypothesized,
Harris notes, that more activity among these neurons might be related to the level of
glutamate in this region.
To gauge the linkage between pain and glutamate, the researchers used a non-invasive brain
imaging technique called proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (H-MRS). H-MRS was
performed once before and once following a four-week course of acupuncture or sham
Researchers used either acupuncture or sham acupuncture to reduce pain symptoms. The sham
procedure involved using a sharp device to prick the skin in order to mimic real
Read the rest of this article at:
Cortisol Could Alleviate Chronic Fatigue & Fibromyalgia
Newswise Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and fibromyalgia (FM) are two serious and
debilitating diseases with no confirmed cause and limited treatment options. However,
results of a new comprehensive literature study propose a simplified treatment process
that could help alleviate symptoms for patients suffering from these diseases.
Kent Holtorf, M.D., medical director of the Holtorf Medical Group Center for Endocrine,
Neurological and Infection Related Illness in Torrance, Calif., is advising a simplified
treatment process that may help alleviate CFS and FM symptoms. From an extensive review of
more than 50 published studies that assessed adrenal function in CFS and FM patients, Dr.
Holtorf found that that the majority of CFS and FM patients displayed abnormal adrenal
function due to hypothalamic-pituitary dysfunction. The comprehensive review also showed
that the majority of patients could be treated for this adrenal dysfunction. Dr. Holtorfs
analysis, recently published in the Journal of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, demonstrated that
patients that were given cortisol as part of a multi-system treatment experienced
significant improvement in their symptoms.
My review of existing studies suggests that a treatment protocol of early
administration of cortisol may help improve and reduce the symptoms of chronic fatigue
syndrome and fibromyalgia, said Dr. Holtorf. This research provides a new
understanding that treating the known causes of illness in CFS and FM can improve the
symptoms and quality-of-life of patients who suffer from these conditions.
CFS and FM primarily affect women in their 30s and 40s. According to the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) more than one million Americans suffer from CFS while
it is estimate that FM affects about 2 percent of the U.S. population. Unfortunately, both
of these diseases are poorly understood by many physicians and there is no generally
accepted test to accurately detect them. In addition, many CFS and FM patients express
frustration because there is no clear treatment path for their conditions.
There is more to be found about this cortisol study at:
Brain scans reveal smokers' clouded judgment
A defining feature of smoking addiction is that smokers pursue their habit even when it's
clear they are forgoing other benefits, such as good health. Now brain scans suggest that
this dodgy decision-making may extend into other areas of their lives.
Pearl Chiu and her colleagues at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, studied
31 chronic smokers and 31 non-smokers as they played a game inside an fMRI scanner. The
players had to invest money in a simulated stock market over several rounds. After each
round, they were given feedback on the returns from their investment choices, including
how they might have earned more had they invested differently.
While non-smokers generally used this feedback to shape future rounds of investment, the
smokers' behaviour was barely affected. Brain scans revealed that they were processing the
information but, unlike the non-smokers, they could not seem to act on it to alter their
performance (Nature Neuroscience, DOI: 10.1038/nn2067). The finding may help researchers
home in on brain differences in people who are prone to addiction.
Editorial comment: If you are already having problems with a fibrofog-why make it worse by
1 in 5 veterans found with mental disorder
By Julian E. Barnes, Los Angeles Times | April 18, 2008
WASHINGTON - The latest and most comprehensive study of veterans of the Iraq and
Afghanistan wars has concluded that nearly 1 in every 5 veterans is suffering from
depression or stress disorders and that many are not getting adequate care.
The study shows that mental disorders are more prevalent and lasting than previously
known, surfacing belatedly and lingering after troops have been discharged into civilian
and family life.
An estimated 300,000 veterans among the nearly 1.7 million who have served in Iraq and
Afghanistan are battling depression or post-traumatic stress disorder. More than half of
those people, according to the study conducted by the Rand Corp., are slipping through the
cracks in the bureaucratic system, going without necessary treatment.
The Rand study underscores one of the hard lessons of modern counterinsurgency conflicts:
Such wars might kill fewer soldiers than traditional fights but can leave deeper
Screening techniques for stress disorders are vastly improved from previous wars, making
comparisons with Vietnam, Korea, or World War II difficult or impossible. But a chief
difference is that in Iraq and Afghanistan, all service members, not just combat infantry,
are regularly exposed to roadside bombs and civilian massacres. That distinction subjects
a wider swath of military personnel to the stresses of war.
"We call it '360-365' combat," said Paul Sullivan, executive director of
Veterans for Common Sense. "What that means is veterans are completely surrounded by
combat for one year. Nearly all of our soldiers are under fire, or being subjected mortar
rounds, or roadside bombs, or witnessing the deaths of civilians or fellow soldiers."
Military officials praised the Rand study yesterday, arguing that its findings were
consistent with their studies and said it would reinforce their efforts to try to improve
mental health care. Veterans Affairs officials, while questioning the study's methodology,
said their department has intensified efforts to find discharged service members suffering
from mental disorders.
The Rand Study was undertaken for the California Community Foundation, which has funded
other programs for returning veterans. Lieutenant General Eric Schoomaker, the Army
surgeon general, said the study would help draw the nation's attention. "They are
making this a national debate," Schoomaker said.
The Army previously has said that an estimated 1 in 6 service members suffers from a form
of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, a slightly lower rate than Rand's study found.
In addition to PTSD rates, the Rand study found that 19.5 percent of people who had served
in Iraq or Afghanistan suffered a concussion or another traumatic brain injury during
their combat tour, a number similar to Army estimates.
Taken together, the study shows that 31 percent of those who have served in combat have
suffered brain injuries, stress disorders, or both.
Combat-related mental ailments and stress can lead to suicide, homelessness and physical
health problems. But more mundane disorders can have long-term social consequences.
The rest of this article continues at:
© Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company
Trauma Patients Suffer Even 12 Months After Injury
Those with joint and extremity damage had chronic pain lasting years
(HealthDay News) -- One year after suffering major trauma, many patients have moderately
severe pain, a U.S. study finds. Researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle,
who noted that post-injury pain can lead to disability, depression and post-traumatic
stress disorder, analyzed data from 3,047 patients (ages 18 to 84) who were hospitalized
for treatment of acute trauma and survived at least one year.
"At 12 months after injury, 62.7 percent of patients reported injury-related pain.
Most patients had pain in more than one body region, and the mean (average) severity of
pain in the last month was 5.5 on a 10-point scale," the study authors wrote.
"The most common painful areas were joints and extremities (44.3 percent), back (26.2
percent), head (11.5 percent), neck (6.9 percent), abdomen (4.4 percent), chest (3.8
percent) and face (2.8 percent)," the researchers wrote. They also found that 59.3
percent of patients with injury-related pain had three or more painful areas one year
after injury, while 37.3 percent had a single painful area.
Patients 35 to 44 years of age were most likely to experience pain one year after their
injury, while patients 75 to 84 were least likely to have pain.
"The reported presence of pain varied with age and was more common in women and those
who had untreated depression before injury. Pain at three months was predictive of both
the presence and higher severity of pain at 12 months. Lower pain severity was reported by
patients with a college education and those with no previous functional limitations,"
the researchers wrote.
The study was published in the March issue of the journal Archives of Surgery.
"The findings of this study suggest that interventions to decrease chronic pain in
trauma patients are needed. The high prevalence of pain, its severity and its effect on
functioning warrant such interventions. This may consist of interventions during the acute
phase of hospitalization to aggressively treat early pain and better manage neuropathic
pain," the study authors concluded.
The U.S. National Institute of General Medical Sciences has more about trauma and other
kinds of injuries.
Copyright © 2008 ScoutNews, LLC. All rights reserved.
Editors note: I am certain any number of PWFM or PWCMP could testify that this
information is correct. I still feel the results of a car accident that happened in 1982!
Prevalence of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome in a Cohort of Multiple Sclerosis
More than 50% of multiple sclerosis patients experience chronic pain syndrome. This study
suggests that multiple sclerosis patients are at a higher risk of developing complex
regional pain syndrome than the general population.
Background: More than 50% of multiple sclerosis patients experience chronic pain syndrome.
We set out to determine the specific type
of chronic pain that was seen in our multiple sclerosis patients.
Methods: Patients with multiple sclerosis were catalogued between
January 2002 and April 2006 and identified by a search of the database.
Only MS patients that met the 2005 revised McDonald criteria
Results: We determined the prevalence rate of complex regional
pain syndrome in a cohort of multiple sclerosis patients. In our sample
of 205 multiple sclerosis patients, the prevalence of complex regional
pain syndrome was 4 cases per 205 compared to an expected age and
sex-adjusted total prevalence of 0.078 cases per 205 (p < 0.0001).
Conclusion: This study suggests that multiple sclerosis patients are
at a higher risk of developing complex regional pain syndrome than
the general population.
Key words: Multiple sclerosis, complex regional pain syndrome,
Pain Physician 2008; 11:133-136
Fibromyalgia: The Misunderstood Disease
ScienceDaily (Jun. 2, 2007) Fourteen years ago, Josephine* began to experience
severe pain throughout her body. As her symptoms became worse, she sought help from a
variety of specialists, but no one could diagnose her condition.
I was told they didnt know what was wrong with me; the blood tests came back
good, x-rays came back clear, she says. They had no idea and theyd
shuffle me to another doctor, another specialist. She saw rheumatologists,
neurologists, internists, and blood specialists, but there was still no answer.
After more than a year, she was finally diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a chronic and
debilitating condition that causes severe pain throughout the body. Ongoing research at
the University of Michigan is demonstrating that fibromyalgia may affect millions of
Americans, and research using sophisticated imaging techniques is helping the medical
community better understand this disease.
Fibromyalgia is a condition thats characterized by widespread pain involving
the muscles, the joints, and in fact, any area of the body, explains Daniel Clauw,
M.D., director of the U-M Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center. In addition to
pain, individuals with fibromyalgia often experience sleep fatigue, difficulties with
sleep, and difficulties with memory and concentration, among other symptoms.
Click on the link below to finish reading this article:
Editors comment: Some creative person out there needs come up with a jingle from
that Dr Pepper commercial of several years back. Dr Pepper so misunderstood.
Maybe next year for Awareness Day?
FDA now requires suicide assessment of new drugs prior to approval
Mark Dombeck, Ph.D.:
For many years, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has served a screening role to help
insure the safety of new drugs coming on to the United States health care market. Simply
put, the FDA must approve drugs for sale and approve them for specific uses before they
can be legally sold in the United States. The FDA doesn't do it's own evaluation of drug
safety, however. Instead, it requires that the pharmaceutical companies evaluate the
safety of their own new drugs, albeit according to strict research guidelines and rules.
You'd think that this is like asking the fox to watch the hen house, and in many ways it
is like that. Pharmaceutical companies are, for instance, seemingly free to run as many
studies as they like and to ignore the ones that fail to show positive effects or which
otherwise make the drugs they are evaluating look bad. Drugs don't get approval if no
studies demonstrate that the drugs work, however, and drugs are also not approved when
unsafe side effects are noted. It's a flawed system, but it isn't all bad.
Apart from the fact that the company with a vested interest in getting drugs approved is
running the show regarding the approval testing process, which is a killer flaw, if you
ask me, there are other flaws in how the approval process occurs. One of them has to do
with how broadly drugs are tested for dangerous side-effects. For instance, many drugs are
not routinely tested for safety when used with child and elder populations. Also, many
drugs are not routinely tested to see if they create subtle changes in behavior (rather
than obvious physical changes) which might cause people to develop mental illness style
side effects such as heightened suicidal ideation and suicidal urges. This was the case
with antidepressants and children not so long ago when it became known that some
antidepressant medications were associated with heightened suicide risk. The FDA responded
by issuing a mandate that such medications carry a black box warning detailing the
possibility of suicidal side effects. A warning is a good thing, but the agency can do
better. Today, the New York Times is reporting another step the FDA is taking to improve
drug safety, namely to require that new drug evaluations routinely include an evaluation
of suicide symptoms.
Sore Wrists and Hands Can Result from Our Work: but Is It Carpal Tunnel
Newswise Do you feel numbness, burning pain or a tingling sensation in your hand or
wrist that seems to increase at night; have difficulty holding objects without dropping
them; or find it increasingly difficult to perform repetitive movements such as using your
computer mouse or keyboard without pain? If so, then you may be one of the estimated 2
million people in the United States affected by carpal tunnel syndrome, according to the
American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS). About half of all cases are
work-related, and in fact, carpal tunnel syndrome accounts for the highest average number
of days missed at work, when compared to all other work-related injuries or illnesses.
An estimated 260,000 carpal tunnel surgeries are performed annually in the United States,
and of those, more than 35,000 were performed in 2006 by neurosurgeons, according to AANS
statistics. A neurosurgeons primary role in the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome
is diagnosis, interpretation of test results, and when necessary, surgery. There are
frequently other medical professionals involved in the treatment process, such as physical
Carpal tunnel syndrome most often occurs when the median nerve in the wrist becomes
inflamed, caused by a combination of thickened ligaments over the nerve and repetitive
movements. Carpal tunnel syndrome is most prevalent in women ages 40 to 60, and also
tends to affect people more frequently who use their hands excessively, such as pianists,
concert violinists, hairdressers, computer operators, manual laborers, artists, sculptors,
dentists, and even neurosurgeons, says James R. Bean, MD, AANS president-elect.
Any repetitive motions that cause significant swelling, thickening or irritation of
membranes around the tendons in the carpal tunnel can result in pressure on the median
nerve, disrupting transmission of sensations from the hand up to the arm and to the
central nervous system.
The remainder of this article can be found at:
Demolishing Angers Walls
Anger, when channeled into the pursuit of change, can be a useful tool in our emotional
palette. Anger is experienced by most people, some more than others. It is when anger has
no outlet and morphs into resentment that it carries with it the potential to cause great
turmoil. Allowing us to assign blame for the pain we are feeling, thereby easing it,
resentment tends to smolder relentlessly just below the surface of our awareness, eroding
our peace of mind. The target of our resentment grows ever more wicked in our minds and we
rue the day we first encountered them. But resentment is merely another hue on the
emotional palette and therefore within the realm of our conscious control. We can choose
to let go of our resentment and to move on with our lives, no matter how painful the event
that incited it.
Hanging onto resentment in our hearts does not serve us in any way. Successfully divesting
ourselves of resentful feelings can be difficult, however, because doing so forces us to
mentally and emotionally confront the original source of anger. When we cease assigning
blame, we realize that our need to hold someone or something responsible for our feelings
has harmed us. We thought we were coping with our hurt when in fact we were holding onto
that hurt with a vice grip. To release resentment, we must shift our attention from those
we resent back toward ourselves by thinking of our own needs. Performing a short ceremony
can help you quell resentful feelings by giving tangible form to your emotions. You may
want to write down your feelings and then burn the paper and close your ceremony by
wishing them well. When you can find compassion in your heart, you know you are on your
way to healing.
Free of resentment, we have much more energy and attention to devote to our personal
development. We can fill the spaces it left behind with unconditional acceptance and joy.
And, as a result of our subsequent freedom from resentment, blessings can once again enter
our lives as the walls we built to contain our anger have been demolished.
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