Customer Reviews: Fibromyalgia and Chronic Myofascial Pain: A Survival Manual (2nd Edition)
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on November 1, 2001
I was loaned a copy of this book a year ago by a friend (and fellow FMS/MPS sufferer) after I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. By the time I was half-way through the book I had bought my own copy, I was that impressed by it.
It is easy to read right through. I picked up lots of information (that my doctor didn't know) about what is going on inside my body, and how to live and/or deal with it. It helps that the authors are also fellow sufferers of the disease, and they give their own insights and experiences as well as reviewing research and opinions of others.
After receiving the book back from another friend who has had a diagnosis recently, I am now flicking through it and reminding myself of things I had forgotten (because there is so much to absorb about the disease) and picking up new hints and tips for coping with this monster.
I expect this is a book I will continue to refer to for a long time to come, and I am recommending it to anyone I meet who has the disease. Also very good for explaining to friends and family what is going on with your life, as there is not much actually visible, and most people, including some doctors, think you are complaining about nothing.
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on March 18, 2003
Since being diagnosed with fibromyalgia, I have read several books. This book provides the basis and starting point to understand the problems and begin to find solutions. I found the personal applications touching - I laughed and cried as I read this book and began to see myself thru the pain and suffering of the author. I like the fact that she considers and recommends such a wide range of alternative treatments and therapies. The nutritional and diet information she gives has been the basis for my own treatment, based on her information on the yeast connection - something most medical texts on fibromyalgia do not discuss or consider. I recommend that any one with fibromyalgia/chronic myofascial pain/chronic fatigue get this book for their personal library. Read it first, take it all in, then follow her advice and start moving forward toward better health.
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on August 21, 2001
If you can buy only one book, this is the one. Devin's first survival manual was good but this book is GREAT. It is very up to date and easily understood. I like the way the chapters are broken down by topics. Chapter 8 (Signs and Symptons) is my favorite. It has sample questions (such as Do you have eye pain ?) and answers that are short but for more information on the question it refers you to which chapter(s) you can look at to learn more about it. The graphics are good and simple to figure out what they are refering to. There is a chapter on developing a strong support system which is something FMS suffers truly need. I have used this book many times already. This book is written by and for FMS suffers. Devin makes me feel like part of the "FMily". This is my new "bible". I have ordered 4 more of this book for friends just so that they leave mine alone!!!
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VINE VOICEon May 21, 2005
I have the first edition of this book (and will send the current update to my mom who has recently come to terms with being a fibromite).

It saved my life as well. This book suggests coping skills necessary to live through a severe FM/MPS flare.

Depressing? Ahem. As the leading cause of death among fibromites is suicide-- yeah, this isn't a fun disease that people make up to get attention. If I had cancer, no doctor would ever tell me "Well, its all in your head and if you want to get better you will." WHY is this acceptable for those of us with severe biochemical disturbances??

Find a good doctor, don't give up trying to find a schedule of medications and life that will allow you to function. You can come out on the other side, and you won't believe how beautiful it is just to go for a walk and *enjoy* without the pain. It can happen.
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on January 25, 2003
I understand that any negative review amongst this sea of praise is likely to be met with skepticism, so let me first say that, yes, I have read the entire book, and yes, there are some good points to it. Indeed, I admire anyone who, having found answers and relief, is motivated to share this information with others. The authors certainly have done extensive research and no one could accuse them of not being thorough in this 400 page, well referenced tome. In addition, amongst these pages are literally boatloads of good advice!
Synopsis Review:
I found this book extremely depressing & unfocused, with far too much extraneous information of questionable value. In addition, I believe that the authors may be deliberately attempting to deceive the reader about their credentials, and lifted too much material from other sources. Perhaps most distressing, however, are the long chapters on every conceivable new-age alternative therapy and the campy tone of pseudo science that prevails, which will undoubtedly reinforce the medical community's views of FMS & CMP as "fad" or "yuppie" diseases.
My recommendation: Get Clair Davies excellent "Trigger Point Therapy Workbook" as a start. It is everything that this book is not - Very focused, empowering, and immediately applicable to help you start feeling better NOW. In addition, Davies is such a consummate perfectionist that, though he isn't a doctor, (and says so up front) he clearly has acquired detailed knowledge of Anatomy which may even surpass that of many in the Medical community.

Full Review:
Now, let me discuss some of the reasons why I titled this review "Greatly Disappointed." The overwhelming positive reviews on this site, and the sheer volume of material presented, boded well for this being a landmark book on FMS & CMP. Now, perhaps it is. I haven't yet looked at many other books in this area, so maybe this is the best so book currently available. If that is the case, however, it is unfortunate.
1. Is the Author a Medical Doctor?
Although many reviews on this site remark on "Dr. Starlanyl's" expertise and how it's so nice that a Medical Doctor has FMS and hence can appreciate it, I can find little indication anywhere in this edition of the book that she actually is a Medical Doctor, or any doctor at all, for that matter. Neither her or her coauthor are listed as "Dr." on the book's cover, nor do they have "MD" or "PHD" designations after their names. In fact, Devin Starlanyl, who seems to be the lead author, has no certifying letters of any kind after her name. Her coauthor, Mary Ellen Copeland, has a Masters degree (Two, in fact). The only mention at all that I can find of their medical training is in the introduction, which says "I am not a practicing physician, and neither is Mary Ellen Copeland. My formal training was in emergency medicine, not myofascial medicine, although I have learned a considerable amount since then." Now I'm not sure what kind of "training" she refers to - as an EMT perhaps? A nurse? In any case, if she was a Medical Doctor I assume she would indicate this after her name. And if, in fact, she is not an MD, then this statement borders on deliberate deception.
Please understand, I actually have some disdain for much of the medical community in their dismissal of alternative therapies and lack of compassion for non-standard, difficult to diagnose illnesses. I also believe that a sharp enough "lay person" can understand even more about a particular area of medicine than a degreed physician.

2. This Book is Very Depressing!
As mentioned by other reviewers, the tone of the book is very bleak and filled with a tone of victimization rather than empowerment. Add to that the constant refrain that you have to completely change your lifestyle in almost every conceivable way if you hope to improve your symptoms, and many people will end up overwhelmed and depressed.
3. Misplaced Medical Terminology?

In several places, the authors attempt to explain what are complex medical processes in "laymen's terms." In these cases, the unfortunate effect is to give the book a campy tone of pseudo-science. Indeed the majority of the book seems to be written with the idea that if they couch their ideas using standard medical jargon it will give them an air of authority. Unfortunately, it has the opposite effect. Occasional digressions into the author's favorite TV science fiction shows don't help to lend an air of professionalism to the work either!
4. What is This Book About? Oh yeah, FMS & CMP
The authors, in there quest to be thorough, discuss every conceivable symptom and condition that anyone who has ever had FMS or CMP has manifested, and every conceivable course of action for each of these symptoms or conditions. In other words, the book is extremely unfocused, leaving the reader feeling like he has just skimmed through the complete contents of several medical encyclopedias rather than zeroed in on a treatise specifically about FMS and CMP.
5. Who Wrote this Book Anyway?
There appears to be an awful lot of "borrowed" material in this book, from chapters that appear to be simple re-writes of other's work, to whole sections which are (admittedly) lifted verbatim.
My recommendation: Get Clair Davies excellent "Trigger Point Therapy Workbook" as a start. It is everything that this book is not - Very focused, empowering, and immediately applicable to help you start feeling better NOW. In addition, Davies is such a consummate perfectionist that, though he isn't a doctor, (and says so up front) he clearly has acquired detailed knowledge of Anatomy which may even surpass that of many in the Medical community.
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on February 5, 2005
I could not believe my eyes when I read Mr. Bonro's "review" ("trashing") of this book. I wouldn't be ALIVE today if it weren't for Devin and Mary Ellen. Mary Ellen is degreed, yes, and Devin IS an M.D. She (Dr. Devin) has become a personal friend of mine, and referred me to Dr. Hal Blatman, who wrote the foreword and whose practice ([...]) has saved my life in many ways, more than once ... I travel from Nashville to Cinti to see Dr. B, and have since 1998. He is MORE than worth it, and I owe so much to Devin for sending me to him! He is working on his own book and plans on having Devin write the foreword for it! ('Tis only fair!) Yes, perhaps I am an "insider" here, and a bit biased, but I wasn't when I read the first edition of this book!

Dr. B teaches his patients about FMS/MPS, and he had one of the best possible teachers in the late Dr. Janet Travell. I know the facts about these condtions, and those facts are presented here! The information in this book is well-researched and well-documented. There is nothing "speculative" about it! It is, indeed, a "FMS/MPS Bible." Hands down. Don't let anyone sway you from this book. If you're interested in buying it, I can personally testify as to the authors' combined expertise and validity.
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on May 28, 2003
I own many books on the subject of Fibromyalgia. This book, Fibromyalgia and Chronic Myofascial Pain: A Survival Manual (2nd Edition) by Devin J. Starlanyl and Mary Ellen Copeland is one I come back to time and time again for more information. I consider this a "Bible" of Fibromyalgia and Myofascial Pain. I find this book an excellent resource with helpful drawings of the myofascial trigger points, alternatives for treating the illness, as well as helpful sections on disability and every day coping. It does not give the reader false hopes of cures but instead gives the reader a realistic view of treatment options for a illness for which there is no cure. This book is a valuable asset for anyone suffering from Fibromyalgia or Myofascial Pain, or for anyone with a loved one who is suffering.
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on February 1, 2006
This is the best book on fibromyalgia for the newly diagnosed and for those with extensive knowledge. In my opinion, it is a "must have" for everybody with this disorder, their health care practitioners, and their significant others.

I was diagnosed 6 years ago after having the disorder for at least 10 years. I have also been an RN for 20 years and have the added benefit of extensive medical knowledge and references. Having Fibromyalgia has taught me that many excellent physicians and specialists are actually clueless on how to help you or point you in the right direction, and are actually poorly educated or misinformed on the disorder!

I have an extensive library of FMS books; when I found the 1st edition, it was the most down to earth and informative book I had ever read. This 2nd edition is definitely not a disappointment.

There are so many books out there on fibromyalgia, CFID, related exercise, nutrition, etc. and it's hard to find one book for a primary reference. This is the book, along with Devin's other book "The Fibromyalgia Advocate".

This book does not mislead you into believing there is a cure, but informs you and guides you to achieving maximum wellness in living and coping with Fibromyalgia.
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on January 14, 2015
For those of us who've had FM for a long time, there was a time when this was the only book on FM you could get. It was like the Bible of FM. At that time, this was only available as a reference book I could read at the library, but not check out. When it finally became available used and more reasonably priced, I bought it.

I have to say, I have learned a lot since my early FM days (12 years ago). While much of the information in this book still remains very useful and illuminating -- especially about body work and trigger points -- other aspects of it are obsolete.

I found out through simple trial/error and pure accident that guaiafenesin is *not* harmless or without long term side effects. If you take it for a really long time -- as I did, based on the info in this book -- your body seems to develop almost a dependence on it, such that stopping it results in TERRIBLE rebound pain and stiffness... much worse stiffness than you probably would have had if you had never, ever taken guaiafenesin.

When I suddenly ran out, I had the worst attack of FM that I had ever had. I started back up on the guaiafenesin as soon as possible. But I still felt so debilitated, and like I was just getting stiffer and stiffer over time. Several months later I ran out of guaiafenesin again, and again went through a horrible flare of FM. Fortunately, I had started the Fatigued To Fantastic! (F2F!) protocol by then. That helped my a lot. and I have never taken guaiafenesin again (I can't remember if Teitelbaum recommends against guaiafenesin, or for it, or doesn't mention it at all -- I think he doesn't mention it, or maybe only in passing).

I plan to avoid guaiafenesin like the plague from now on. In a way, guaiafenesin seems to behave almost like some anti-spastic drugs -- in that, once you stop them, you suffer rebound spasticity.

NSAIDS don't help, much, either, except temporarily. Again, as with the guaiafenesin, if you take naproxen or ibuprofen ALL the time (like on a daily basis), you wind up in more pain and stiffness than if you only took them sporadically (like when you really, really need pain relief). It's been years since I was on a RX COX-2 inhibitor (I used to take Vioxx, but I think the only one left on the market is Celebrex), but it would not surprise me if that has the same effect, because all NSAIDS affect some part of the cyclo-oxygenase system.

Though I despise the way Teitelbaum has come to shill for his own supplement products -- much the way Priscilla Slagle, MD who wrote "The Way Up From Down" did -- I think his theory and protocol works. I started to see a lot of improvement in my daily energy plus a reduction of my pain/stiffness, just from primarily adding d-ribose, a very bio-available CoQ10, very low dose melatonin (with sleep herbs to improve sleep), and very low impact exercise (like, just walking) to my daily regimen. (I also inadvertently lost 15 lbs. in 6 months, which I attribute to finding a really great CoQ10 supplement).

But, this book is still a classic, and it will help you get a good foundation of understanding of fibromyalgia if you have been newly diagnosed. I wouldn't say not to read this book. I would say, don't believe it's the gospel. A lot of work has been done since even the 2nd ed. of this book was published, and more is being learned all the time.

I do agree with Teitelbaum, in that I think there is some kind of mitochondrial/cell metabolism disruption going on with FM and CFS. But I also agree with a lot of this book -- that massage, trigger point work, and (if possible) physical therapy helps greatly.

Just stay the heck away from the guaiafenesin, at least in the doses recommended in this book. (Temporary use during a cold/flu should be okay. But I don't even use it for that anymore, as it seems to trigger terrible rebound spasticity/stiffness/pain now -- for me, anyway).
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on June 10, 2003
My title for this review should be the title of this book.
I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 1993 and I have felt I was fighting in the dark, usually having to teach my caregivers about the disease rather than the other way around. I read what I could but still did not understand why there seemed to be so many things wrong with me. This book has become the light in my darkness. It explains in clear and simple layperson terms exactly what fibromyalgia is and does and why it causes so many disparate symptoms. It also tells me ways of dealing with all the aspects of this disease. I wish I had this book years ago. It would have saved me much suffering and anxiety. I am buying copies for my caregivers and my relatives and my friends. Yahoo!
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