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105 of 106 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clear, concise and courageous. But bittersweet given the best advice for improvement.
In my opinion, Dr. Liptan does a great job at presenting information in a very clear and basic manner. It was apparent to me shortly into the book that Dr. Liptan is a true patient advocate and is certainly not out to recommend any fad approaches and take our money! She does not offer false hopes or make any unrealistic claims- and she does not hesitate from politely...
Published on January 7, 2012 by Gary Cote

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58 of 66 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
I am someone who has spent at least a few thousand dollars and hundreds of hours trying to cure myself and researching fibromyalgia. I was excited when I discovered this title, that it was the latest research and effective techniques. I appreciated her research and especially around the fight or flight response. She reviews dozens of "western" medical approaches,...
Published on January 23, 2012 by Always Learning


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105 of 106 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clear, concise and courageous. But bittersweet given the best advice for improvement., January 7, 2012
This review is from: Figuring out Fibromyalgia: Current science and the most effective treatments (Paperback)
In my opinion, Dr. Liptan does a great job at presenting information in a very clear and basic manner. It was apparent to me shortly into the book that Dr. Liptan is a true patient advocate and is certainly not out to recommend any fad approaches and take our money! She does not offer false hopes or make any unrealistic claims- and she does not hesitate from politely criticizing those professionals and others who are marketing products or services that are questionable and/or clearly do not work. Note: In addition to her professional credentials as a medical doctor and adjunct professor at a research university, Dr. Liptan developed fibromyalgia just prior to her second year of medical school.

Here are some often asked questions about fibromyalgia with corresponding answers as translated from Dr. Ginevra's book:

What is at the root of fibromyalgia?

A malfunction in the regulatory processes that occur deep within the brain. It is in this area that the that master controller to the body's pain and stress response systems is found. For the individual with fibromyalgia, these systems become stuck in an overactive mode. From the book:

"Chronic overactivation of the stress response in the brain starts a chain reaction leading to poor deep sleep, muscle pain, and fatigue. Ultimately, all the symptoms of fibromyalgia stem from abnormal activation of the fight-or-flight nervous system."

What are the likely causes of fibromyalgia?

The start of the fibromyalgia chain reaction is likely a genetic predisposition along with a triggering event or two (e.g. accident, PTSD, childhood trauma and major illness). However, she notes that some individuals cannot seem to identify a triggering event.

Can individuals' "stress response systems" be returned to their prior states? Can fibromyalgia be "cured?"

No. From the book:

"We have not found a way to reverse the fight-or-flight dominance in fibromyalgia permanently. Once we find that, I think we will have discovered the cure to fibromyalgia. The best we can do for now is treat the problems caused by fight-or-flight dominance and try and encourage the nervous system to shift into rest-and-digest mode whenever possible."

Dr. Liptan states that her fibromyalgia is only about 10% of her most severe level, though she is clear that her symptoms can worsen if she does not partake in her particular self-management steps.

Here's my note of discontent:

The drug that Dr. Liptan speaks so highly of (Xyrem or sodium oxybate)- in fact, the only drug noted to actually shut down the fight-or-flight system at night so that deep sleep is possible, is not available to the vast majority of fibromyalgia sufferers. Dr. Liptan's use of the drug for fibromyalgia was off-label; more important, the drug costs over twenty-thousand dollars a month! My inference from her writing is that she likely would not be where she is today in her recovery had she not had access to this drug. Dr. Liptan states how paramount (deep) sleep is as the foundation to system improvement and is the starting point in fibromyalgia patients. Sadly, for the vast majority of us without access to this medication, we are not treating the true source of the problem, and therefore are unlikely to produce significant symptom improvement.
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40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Figuring out Fibromyalgia - one of the best reads!, May 11, 2011
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As a Certified Health Coach who specializes in helping women with fibromyalgia, I read a lot of information on fibromyalgia. "Figuring out Fibromyalgia" is definitely one of the top books I've read; it will be one I will be recommending over and over to my clients.

One of the things that impressed me most about Dr. Liptan's book is that she includes both traditional western approaches and CAM (complimentary and alternative medicine) approaches. Most books I read really lean one way or the other. As someone who has suffered from fibromyalgia myself -- and come through the other side, like Dr. Liptan -- I know first hand the value in both sides of that debate! Fibromyalgia is best treated with a mixture of therapies, not with one magic bullet.

I love the personal touch that Dr. Liptan provides by sharing her own journey of sickness and healing. It lent an authenticity to the book that would not have been there otherwise. It is much easier to believe someone who has "been there, done that" than it is to believe someone who has never walked in your shoes. Dr. Liptan is one of those people you can believe.

I was also fascinated by Dr. Liptan's theory that the pain we feel in fibromyalgia being caused by the fascia. This really rings true to me. Some of the most effective treatment I've received for some of my deeper leg pains have been with a massage therapist using a cupping technique, working on the deeper layers of fascia.

The only area where I might disagree a bit with Dr. Liptan is when she discusses some of the treatments that, in her opinion, aren't very effective. It was a little less than clear if Dr. Liptan was meaning that these treatments are ineffective for everyone with fibromyalgia. Just looking at studies for thyroid or magnesium treatments fibromyalgia, for example, I would agree that not everyone who has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia would improve by being treated with magnesium or thyroid -- because not everyone would necessarily be low in either. However, low thyroid can cause lower body pain and fatigue, while magnesium deficiency can cause tight muscles. If a person is hypothyroid or deficient in magnesium, then treating these will absolutely improve their symptoms.

In my case, I had an undiagnosed autoimmune thyroid disorder, Hashimoto's. My regular TSH levels looked normal, but my immune system was attacking my thyroid, trying to kill it. By going to a doctor who really understood about thyroid disorders, who knew what to look and test for, we discovered the disorder and I was treated. My energy level improved greatly, along with my pain level. I suppose you could argue that the fatigue and pain that improved was not fibro pain & fatigue, but I'm not going to complain about how I got to feeling better! Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms? When My Lab Tests Are Normal: A Revolutionary Breakthrough In Understanding Hashimoto's Disease and Hypothyroidism by Datis Kharrazian is a great place to start in learning more about undiagnosed thyroid disorders.

All in all, "Figuring out Fibromyalgia" is a fantastic book. It contains great information for the newly diagnosed and for those of us who are more educated on the subject. A must-read for anyone interested in keeping up-to-date on fibromyalgia.
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74 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars READ THIS BOOK if you have fibromyalgia, March 15, 2011
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This review is from: Figuring out Fibromyalgia: Current science and the most effective treatments (Paperback)
Since being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia I ordered and read any and every book from amazon with Fibromyalgia in the title. A lot of them are repeating what I already knew or outdated. This book does not do that. It was published in Jan 2011 making it extremely current. The information presented was thorough and easy to understand. It gave me hope and if you have Fibromyalgia you know how precious that is. Read it - I think it will help
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Figuring out Fibromyalgia: A MUST READ!!, April 15, 2011
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Thank you to Dr. Ginevra Liptan for writing this book for all of us who suffer daily with Fibromyalgia.

My symptoms and complaints to my doctors began two weeks after a hysterectomy. Fast foward almost 7 years later when a doctor finally listened to my complaints and sent me to a rheumatologist who diagnosed me as having Fibromyalgia who informed me that there was absolutely no reason why I was not given the diagnosis years prior.

Since 2007 I have read virtually every book, article, and study related to Fibromyalgia and yet never felt like I had been given any true information. Dr. Ginevra Liptan words changed that. I know feel empowered and more importantly I feel like I have a better understanding of this horrible syndrome.

I purchased the kindle version, but honestly, I believe that I should have purchased the actual paperback so I could highlight passages, and share the book with my doctor! I plan on talking to my doctor about the ELISA/ACT blood testing at my next appointment.

If you have fibromyalgia, or believe you may have fibromyalgia, I promise you that this will be the last book that you will need to spend your money on!!

Dr. Ginevra Liptan, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for writing this book.
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69 of 78 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An empowering book for fibromites everywhere, February 18, 2011
This review is from: Figuring out Fibromyalgia: Current science and the most effective treatments (Paperback)
Lots of people with fibromyalgia like to write about it. Unfortunately, many of the resulting books are overwritten, overemotional accounts of the writer's efforts to negotiate this condition. As someone with FM, I don't generally find that sort of book to be helpful or interesting to me, although I recognize that they may speak to others.

This book is different. Dr. Liptan writes succinctly and bravely about her experiences as a patient as well as a health-care professional, without becoming maudlin. Her discussion of research trends and opportunities -- including the potential of myofascial release therapy for FM management -- is comprehensive and easy to understand, even for this lay person. This can be a powerful tool for many patients, who are often intimidated into silence and pain by medical providers, family, and friends.

Dr. Liptan's book is exactly what I needed to find. I hope it helps you, too.
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58 of 66 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed, January 23, 2012
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This review is from: Figuring out Fibromyalgia: Current science and the most effective treatments (Paperback)
I am someone who has spent at least a few thousand dollars and hundreds of hours trying to cure myself and researching fibromyalgia. I was excited when I discovered this title, that it was the latest research and effective techniques. I appreciated her research and especially around the fight or flight response. She reviews dozens of "western" medical approaches, supplements and alternative treatments. I'm only giving this book two stars because of what I think were her top most successful treatments. The first is the Elisa/Act allergy testing. Even though I already knew I had delayed allergic responses to many foods and extreme chemical sensivity, I thought I must be missing something. So I paid $740 for a complete test and it was a complete and utter waste of money. My report came back with only one out of many, many of the substances I have problems with--from citrus, to chocolate, to sulfites, eggs, grains and more. None of them showed. I took advantage of the "free" consultation with the Elisa/Act nutritionist to tell her I thought they got my blood mixed up with someone else, and how could substances that I know I have issues with not show up. She explained that there must have been some other metabolic problem. Well, in that case the whole testing is misleading and a complete waste of money. They gave me a booklet on "The Alkaline Way" which further just pixxed me off because I already eat that way. I think the research around Elisa/Act is flawed. Regarding sleep, she wrote nothing I didn't already know. The research on Xyrem is great, but it's not FDA approved for fibro and even if it were it costs about $30,000 a year and it's nearly impossible to get a doctor to prescribe it unless you have narcolepsy. Regarding myofascial work. Also great, but if you have an HMO they won't pay for it. Without insurance you can find a good body worker for around $150 (where I live). But my relaxtion response was short lived. If you can afford to get MF work every other day, that's great. I resisted drugs for the longest time, but ultimately tried many before I finally, very slowly tritrated up to 20 mg. of Cymbalta which has turned me back into a functioning human being. I take temazapam to sleep and have to exercise at least 5 days a week at 75-80% of heart rate to keep the pain under control. My biggest complaint is the endorsement of Elisa/Act. After so many failed treatments that was the final blow. If you don't know anything at all about your pain syndrome then this is a good book, just don't waste your money on Elisa/Act. Do an elimination diet instead. If you have the money for regular MF work and Xyrem then you are lucky.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Figuring out Fibromyalgia, February 15, 2011
As a long time sufferer of post traumatic stress disorder, I found this book extremely helpful and full of good, practical advice. Check out chapter 12! Figuring of Fibromyalgia is not just for the fibro patient, but also for anyone wanting to live a more productive, happier, and healthier life.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very informative and helpful book, August 11, 2011
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This book is very informative and scientific. I'm personally sick of books that tell you to take a ton of supplements, herbs, and change your diet and exercise in ways that only hurt you. This book has great and realistic advice on those things and tells you how to exercise carefully so that it actually helps and can't hurt you.

It's true that the vast majority of people can not and never will be able to afford the massage treatments she describes. For those who can it's nice to know what type of massage is beneficial and worth your money.

As for the extremely expensive medication. Don't give up hope! Although it would probably be hard to get your doctor to prescribe it since it's highly regulated and abused by evil people (it's basically a different form of the date rape drug), you can probably afford it or even get it completely free through the drug company's patient assistance program. Anybody who doesn't have insurance or struggles with their insurance company should know that EVERY DRUG COMPANY HAS A PATIENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM THAT CAN HELP YOU GET YOUR MEDICATION, OFTEN FOR FREE OR NEARLY FREE. GOOGLE IT!
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Figuring Out Fibromyalgia: Current Science And The Most Effective Treatments, March 15, 2011
By 
Kari Wendt (Seattle, WA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Figuring out Fibromyalgia: Current science and the most effective treatments (Paperback)
I am a woman working full time in the stressful legal field and have lived with the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia for more than ten years. As a current, chronic pain patient of Dr. Liptan's, I respect her honesty in revealing her personal struggle with Fibromyalgia and her medical knowledge about this difficult to diagnose and treat condition. She doesn't believe in diagnosing and dumping the Fibromyalgia patient simply because the condition is challenging and often time consuming to deal with. Dr. Liptan always generously answers my questions about new theories and treatments and understands that one particular approach might not be appropriate for all of her patients. She is a caring, persevering physician who understands this patient's often constant pain and exhaustion in dealing with this condition and is committed to fleshing out the truth about Fibromyalgia. In this book, she lays out the exciting, new options available to treat it whether they be new drugs, sleep treatments or body work that can bring relief and also warns of what expensive cure-alls should be avoided. Dr. Liptan understands that I want to engage in life despite my Fibromyalgia limitations and she strives to help me discover the best pain relief and treatments so I can preserve my energy to get the most out of living. She also shines a light on the prejudice within the medical community regarding the myths of this condition and bravely challenges dismissive physicians to give their patients the benefit of the doubt and start treating their patients compassionately and respectfully throughout their patients' experience with Fibromyalgia. You really owe it to yourself or a family member or friend who lives with this condition to discover the new information and answers she shares in this immensely helpful book.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Review, May 2, 2011
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This review is from: Figuring out Fibromyalgia: Current science and the most effective treatments (Paperback)
I found this book helpful in finding out what strides they have made in figuring out Fibromyalgia. I'm a nurse and some of it was a little beyond people who do not have a medical degree because it got deep into the cellular level. What I didn't like was that there were so many references to things that were helpful but many of the options are not obtainable. Example the med that is so helpful but isn't even FDA approved in the United States. You don't find that you can't get it until you read the whole thing. I wish I had this book prior to my diagnosis. It would have saved me a lot of time and money by not trying any of the things that didn't work. Too late because I've already tried a lot of the items that didn't work for the author. I have been suffering for 8 years to be told by physicians I don't know what's wrong with you. Everything that I have been going through is in there. I have actually recommended it to my physicians so that they can help future patients coming to them with "unrecognized" symptoms and see that it is REAL.
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Figuring out Fibromyalgia: Current science and the most effective treatments
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