Once again, this subject has been covered in detail in the paper Pain, Pain Go Away in the pain management section of this site. I view fibromyalgia as little more than a pathologically sensitive pain center in the brain. Granted that this is not a simple issue and has a multitude of contributing factors, but I believe that the underlying pathology of this debilitating condition can be found in this specialized area of the brain that registers painful stimuli. How does this area become so sensitive that normal, everyday activity yields unrelenting pain? The aforementioned paper goes into great detail and chronicles my recovery from this horrible syndrome.
In a nutshell, there are things that normally affect the function of the pain center and cause it to become more sensitive, lowering the threshold of pain for our protection. Viruses are a good example. Even simple upper respiratory and flu viruses cause muscle and joint aches by lowering our pain threshold at the level of our pain center. This is done as a protective mechanism to enforce rest in both humans and animals. This is done for our protection and well-being. We (and they) need the rest and really have no business performing our daily tasks while ill. In animals (and us), this may even lead to a fatal mistake. However, there are viruses that become chronic and latent in our body that can have long-term affects on our pain center. The most well known is Epstein-Barr, the “guy” behind mononucleosis. He has been linked to both chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia and, I believe, rightfully so. Once our immune system is ill enough to unleash this virus from its resting (latent) state, it begins its work on the pain center doing what viruses do: signaling our brain that we are ill and that we need to slow down for our own protection.
However, there is much more to the pain phenomenon than this. Again, this is well-described in the pain paper and involves the neurostimulating amino acids glutamate and aspartate which are found in the same foods that are causing the immune suppression
(which has been outlined so many times in the papers on this site). It is the old “double whammy” again. Those foods (grains, dairy, and soy) that are rich in the pain-producing substances are also the ones causing the serious damage to the duodenum, resulting in the malabsorption of those nutrients vital in maintaining the health of the immune system. The pain that they cause through the amino acids glutamate and asparate are meant to be warning signs of the impending disaster that is just around the corner: the crash of the immune system. Once the crash takes place, then “full-blown” fibromyalgia (and chronic fatigue syndrome) occurs as Epstein-Barr is released from its jail. This situation is a great illustration of the concept of latent viruses and how they become unleashed once the immune system fails.
The “cure” then comes by reversing the process. By eliminating the foods that do the intestinal harm, we are also getting rid of the biggest suppliers of the neurostimulants that are sensitizing the pain center. To make the most rapid recovery, the sufferer needs to acquaint themselves with all of the sources of glutamate and aspartate and eliminate as many as possible. The initial recovery can be rapid and dramatic in many cases with the pain threshold rising within a week or two. Then, as the duodenum heals and the malabsorption syndrome reverses, the “real” recovery can commence, allowing the immune system to get the E-B virus back under its thumb. The million dollar question is whether we are capable of totally elimination Epstein-Barr from our body if we do everything right. I’ll put it this way: I now put no restrictions on our body’s abilities as long as we do everything right. Doing that is the trick. This can only occur through knowledge, application of that knowledge, and a heavy dose of will power.
You can gain more insight into the dietary control of pain by reading The G.A.R.D. Made Simple. Everything that pertains to epilepsy can be applied to pain. The pain centers of the brain are subject to the same insults and triggers as seizures.
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