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FMS Community Newsletter #110
August, 2008

~ My Journey With Lyrica - Update!
~ Migraine Sufferers Face Higher Risk of Serious Disease
~ Coping with the Cognitive Dysfunction of Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
~ What is WAON therapy?
~ Efficacy of Waon therapy* for fibromyalgia.

My Journey With Lyrica - Update!

Many of you remember our series of articles detailing my journey with the newly approved drug for Fibromyalgia, Lyrica. If you were not a subscriber to the newsletter during this time you can read the entire series at
I have been taking the drug Lyrica(c) for nine months. I am still experiencing lower pain levels and less fatigue.
I went off of the drug for ten days, not feeling it was doing all that much for me. Well, let me tell you, by day eight I was begging my doctor to call in refills. My old friends ache, burning muscles, cement muscles and foot pain all came to visit at the same time.
I immediately went back on the Lyrica as soon as I picked up my refill and have been using it faithfully ever since.
I am happy to report that the extra belching I was experiencing at first has subsided, now if I have a problem it is because I ate to much at the picnic.
I have not had the dose changed and am still taking 75mg, twice a day.
Now for the downside, come on, you were waiting for the other shoe to drop weren't you?
I just turned 50, I have maintained the same eating habits for many years and have never varied more than a pound or two in either direction. Over the past 9 months I have gained ten pounds.
I am not eating more than usual, I am actually more active now that I feel better. I have resumed some gardening chores, evening walks and social obligations.
In the interest of fairness I have to state that I have not had any medical tests done to see if there is any cause other than Lyrica that could be responsible for the weight gain.
For now, I am blaming the drug. The weight gain seems to have leveled off so for me it is a good trade off, I will take the ten pounds in exhange for the lack of pain. This may not be for everybody. I just wanted to pop in an let you know how the trial was going.
Jane Kohler

Migraine Sufferers Face Higher Risk of Serious Disease
August 17, 2008 03:13 PM EDT
views: 14 | rating: 10/10 (6 votes) | comments: 8
Rallie McAllister, M.D., M.P.H.
Migraines are more than just occasional, minor headaches. Not only do they produce significant pain and suffering in susceptible individuals, they’re also linked to a higher risk of stroke.

Studies show that among all migraine sufferers, including men and women, the risk of experiencing a stroke is more than double that of people without the condition. Recent research suggests that the risk of stroke among female migraineurs is especially high.

The latest findings from the Women’s Health Study demonstrated that compared to women without the condition, those who had migraines at least once a week were three times more likely to have a stroke. The study followed nearly 28,000 women age 45 and older for more than 12 years.

Although the exact cause of migraine headaches remains a topic of intense scientific debate, most experts agree that the condition is related to a disordered function of nerves, blood vessels and neurotransmitters in the brain. Regardless of the cause, migraines are considered to be a lifelong condition of recurring headaches that can strike as often as several times a week or as infrequently as once a year.

Migraine headaches can affect anyone, but they’re roughly three times more common in women than in men. More than two-thirds of cases occur in women between the ages of 15 and 55.

Approximately 30 percent of migraineurs experience a phenomenon called an “aura” before or during the headache. The most common form of aura is a visual illusion of bright flashes of light that appear as stars or sparks, or as complex geometric patterns that shimmer across the visual field.

The associated headaches are often so intense that they send their victims scurrying to the nearest dark, quiet place. In addition to pain, migraine sufferers typically experience overwhelming nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and noise.

In most cases, the onset of symptoms is associated with specific substances or situations called triggers. Common triggers for migraines include stress, fatigue and hunger.

Cheese, chocolate, alcohol and the food additive monosodium glutamate (MSG) may also be to blame. Among women, hormonal fluctuation -- especially around the time of menstruation -- is an important trigger.

The results of a study conducted by researchers at Thomas Jefferson University’s Headache Center in Philadelphia suggest that women are twice as likely to experience migraines with aura during the first two days of their menstrual cycles compared to the remainder of the month. The researchers also noted that women have a significantly lower risk of having migraines during the time of ovulation, which typically occurs around the 14th day of the menstrual cycle.

Although migraines are relatively common, drugs designed specifically for the treatment of the condition are few in number. Many medications prescribed for the treatment of migraines, including painkillers and anti-nausea medications, are extremely sedating. For some individuals, the treatment of migraines can be just as incapacitating as the condition itself.

Fortunately, the frequency and severity of migraine headaches can be reduced by implementing a few preventive strategies. Avoiding known migraine triggers is an excellent place to start, and taking a few key nutritional supplements may help even more.

A number of studies suggest that because migraineurs have low magnesium levels, taking supplemental magnesium can be an important part of an effective migraine-prevention program. Magnesium is known to help regulate serotonin, a neurotransmitter involved in the onset of migraine symptoms.

Many foods are rich in magnesium, including dark green vegetables, whole grains, beans, bananas and seafood. For individuals with a magnesium deficiency, however, eating a well-balanced diet isn’t sufficient.

Taking a nutritional supplement containing the mineral may be most beneficial. In recommended doses of 400 to 600 milligrams daily, magnesium supplements are generally safe and well tolerated by healthy individuals, with the most common side effect being diarrhea.

In addition to magnesium, vitamin B2 and an herb known as feverfew have long been used in the prevention and treatment of migraine headaches. The recommended dose of vitamin B2, or riboflavin, is typically 400 mg a day.

In clinical trials, migraine sufferers who took feverfew extract on a regular basis enjoyed a significant reduction in the frequency of migraine attacks. When they did experience headaches, they reported less severe pain, nausea and vomiting.

Nutritional supplements won’t necessarily cure migraines, but for migraineurs in search of relief, they could make the condition far more bearable.


Rallie McAllister is a board-certified family physician, speaker and the author of several books, including “Healthy Lunchbox: The Working Mom’s Guide to Keeping You and Your Kids Trim.” Her website is To find out more about Rallie McAllister and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at

Copyright 2008 Creators Syndicate Inc.

Coping with the Cognitive Dysfunction of Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Source: DFW CFIDS datum: Thursday, 14 August 2008

Written by The Arthritis Foundation

Many people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia experience episodes of unclear thinking or cognitive dysfunction. They become forgetful, lose their train of thought, forget words or mix them up.
This is what is popularly called 'brain fog' or 'fibro fog.'

Following are some basic memory and communication tips that can help you deal with episodes of minor cognitive dysfunction.

Here are some common-sense pointers that can help you clear the fog:

1. Repeat yourself. Repeat things to yourself over and over again. Repetition will keep thoughts fresh in your mind.

2. Write it down. Whether you write in a calendar, in a notebook or on sticky notes, if you're afraid you won't remember something, putting pen to paper can help.

3. Pick your best time. If there is something you need to do that requires concentration and memory, such as balancing your checkbook or following a recipe, pick your best time to do it. Many people with fibromyalgia say they perform best early in the day.

4. Get treated. Depression, pain and sleep deprivation can influence your ability to concentrate and remember. Getting your medical problems treated may indirectly help your memory.

5. Engage yourself. Reading a book, seeing a play, or working a complex crossword or jigsaw puzzle can stimulate your brain and your memory.

6. Stay active. Physical activity, in moderation, can increase your energy and help lift your brain fog. Speak to your doctor or physical therapist about an exercise program that is right for you.

7. Explain yourself. Explain your memory difficulties to family members and close friends. Memory problems often result from stress. Getting a little understanding from the ones you love may help.

8. Keep it quiet. A radio blasting from the next room, a TV competing for your attention, or background conversation can distract your attention from the task at hand. If possible, move to a quiet place
and minimize distractions when you are trying to remember.

9. Go slowly. Sometimes memory problems can result from trying to do too much in too short a period of time. Break up tasks, and don't take on more than you can handle at once. Stress and fatigue will only make the situation worse.

Source: This excerpt is reproduced with kind permission of The Arthritis Association (, publisher of The Good Living with Fibromyalgia Workbook, 2003 The Arthritis Foundation.

What is WAON therapy?

The treatment modality “thermal therapy” that I have worked on since 1989 is a warming therapy for soothing the mind and body equally, with 60C dry far-infrared sauna bathing. Therefore, if “thermal therapy” is referred to as “Waon therapy,” it is easy to understand the true meaning as distinguished from, for example, “local high-heat therapy for cancer.” “Soothing warmth: Waon” is a word I have coined, and “Waon” can be understood in Japanese as “soothing warmth,” meaning “warmth that comfortably refreshes the mind and body.” In other words, “Waon” is the essence of the “thermal therapy” that I have been improving and refining for eighteen years. Therefore, to obtain a correct understanding of my “thermal therapy” modality, I would like to refer to it as “Waon therapy: soothing warmth therapy” and I would like to familiarize readers further with the idea.
Read Entire Article.

Efficacy of Waon therapy* for fibromyalgia.

Matsushita K, Masuda A, Tei C.

The First Department of Internal Medicine, Kagoshima University Hospital.

OBJECTIVE: Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a chronic syndrome
characterized by widespread pain with tenderness in specific areas.
We examined the applicability of Waon therapy (soothing warmth
therapy) as a new method of pain treatment in patients with FMS.

METHODS: Thirteen female FMS patients (mean age, 45.2+/-15.5 years
old; range, 25-75) who fulfilled the criteria of the American College
of Rheumatology participated in this study. Patients received Waon
therapy once per day for 2 or 5 days/week. The patients were placed
in the supine or sitting position in a far infrared-ray dry sauna
maintained at an even temperature of 60 degrees C for 15 minutes, and
then transferred to a room maintained at 26-27 degrees C where they
were covered with a blanket from the neck down to keep them warm for
30 minutes. Reductions in subjective pain and symptoms were
determined using the pain visual analog scale (VAS) and fibromyalgia
impact questionnaire (FIQ).

RESULTS: All patients experienced a significant reduction in pain by
about half after the first session of Waon therapy (11-70%), and the
effect of Waon therapy became stable (20-78%) after 10 treatments.
Pain VAS and FIQ symptom scores were significantly (p<0.01) decreased
after Waon therapy and remained low throughout the observation
period. CONCLUSION: Waon therapy is effective for the treatment of
fibromyalgia syndrome.

PMID: 18703857 [PubMed - in process]

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