Most helpful critical review
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Started strong, but then sends mixed messages
on May 12, 2008
My background: An often debilitated Fibromyalgic of 10 years who has tried numerous treatments, supplements, medication, and has done extensive personal research studying the body, mind and how it all works together.
The beginning of the book has a good amount of info detailing the scientific basis of FMS and its triggers, although it is not quite comprehensive. There is a good amount of discussion about tests, overlapping conditions, and interacting with doctors. For the most part, the advice given is sound.
However I got irritated with the mixed messages about medications. Why are doctors still walking on eggshells about properly medicating the FMS patient? FMS has prevented me from gainful employment for the past 2 years, with an overall spotty work history, yet going for a refill of cyclobenzaprine (which I only use during flares, and is the only thing that relieves the extreme torturous pain and muscle tension, thus far) gets me the "junkie glare." That is ridiculous.
Chapter 8, Page 121, "If your doctor has prescribed a drug such as amitriptyline or cyclobenzaprine to make fibromyalgia go away, the results may have already been disappointing." The author's round-about discouraging of cyclobenzaprine usage is irritating, especially since I know personally how cyclo saves me from going to the ER when I am racked with pain and am unable lay down in my bed.
Then we have a chapter telling us to be positive, etc. etc. If the author validates the FMS patient as having a real physiological illness with "damage" to the "central nervous system," then why is he now back to the positive thinking as a cure bit? I've done almost every non-medicinal modality in this book and I'm still unable to work. I lost weight, take supplements, eat right, meditate, do yoga/pilates, trigger point therapy, and other exercises when I am able, and still cannot work. The author alludes that lifestyle changes are going to make it all better without medication. That's just not true for the worst of us. Yes, I am much improved, but it's not enough. It's like asking a Parkinson's patient to think positive, and that will cure their dopamine imbalance. Then we are suddenly back to medications. Ok. So let's see an example of what is recommended. "Best at night - Cyclobenzaprine." More mixed messages.
Overall, the book is generally very supportive of the FMS patient, which is a better step in the right direction. I had higher hopes for this book though. I was really looking forward to an assertive breakthrough treatment plan. I'm tired of hearing how happy thoughts will cure me, or that Fibromyalgia is not a permanent illness. Really? Then let's have the cure now. One can increase their wellness through management, but that is not the same as a cure. Relapses can come very easy. I relapse all the time for every inch of progress I make. The FMS patients threshold is very small. One good medication recommendation is the SNRI class. There have been a lot of fibros getting relief through Cymbalta so I'm going to talk to a doc about testing it.
Chapter 11 is about "putting it all together," offering treatment plans for the different types of triggered FMS. Stress, illness, physical injury. But how about for people like me who have had all of those traumas? We are really in dark waters.
Still though I think that docs and patients should read this book for the overall info, despite the perceived flaws.
Pros: Lots of great scientific info and validated support for the FMS patient. Nice charts.
Cons: Sends mixed messages about medications. Falls back on positive thinking as a "cure."