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Your Symptoms Are Real: What to Do When Your Doctor Says Nothing Is Wrong Hardcover – October 1, 2007

4.5 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

If you're one of the millions of people who suffer from debilitating pain or chronic fatigue that has gone undiagnosed, it is possible that your symptoms are caused by an "invisible illness" such as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), fibromyalgia (FM), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS). Because your symptoms are undetectable, your doctor may have misdiagnosed you or told you there's nothing wrong, or, worse yet, that it's all in your head.

Now help is at hand. In this insightful book, Dr. Benjamin Natelson draws on his eighteen years of dedicated research into "invisible illnesses" that defy medical explanation to reassure you that your symptoms are real and empower you to take charge of your health with a step-by-step blueprint to wellness. First, he addresses you—your feelings, your symptoms, and the options available to you despite the diagnoses or treatments you may have already received. Next, he arms you with the simple tools you need to seek out the doctors and specialists who are most likely to recognize and treat your symptoms and explains how to talk with them so that they'll actually listen. Finally, he explains the dietary, medicinal, and gentle physical conditioning programs that can gradually help relieve your symptoms and offers a look at the cutting-edge research and promising treatments that are on the horizon.

You'll learn how alternative treatments such as acupuncture and hypnosis and stress relievers (including exercise and imaging techniques) can help ease your symptoms. You'll also discover how to budget your energy effectively in order to work with your fatigue and how changing what—and how—you eat can help you feel better. Throughout the book, Dr. Natelson includes case histories sharing lessons others have learned along the way to taking charge of their health.

If you—like millions of others—feel alone and powerless against the chronic pain and fatigue you're faced with every day, this book is the weapon you need to take charge of your health and get your life back.

From the Back Cover

Praise for
Your Symptoms Are Real

"Thank God for this book. It provides the help that millions of Americans with 'silent illnesses' like chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia have been waiting for. Dr. Natelson is a brilliant and compassionate clinician who covers the best treatments that medical science has to offer, along with a thorough consideration of complementary approaches. Short of cloning him, this book offers the specific help you need to work in partnership with your own physician."
—Joan Borysenko, Ph.D., author of
Minding the Body, Mending the Mind

"Natelson is the kind of doctor every patient is looking for: smart, thoughtful, empathetic, and supportive. Reading Your Symptoms Are Real is the next best thing to having a world-renowned specialist managing your case."
—Charles W. Lapp, M.D., Director of the Hunter-Hopkins Center
and Assistant Consulting Professor at Duke University Medical Center

"Do not throw up your hands and give up when one doctor after another tells you there is nothing wrong with you—instead, read this book! Benjamin Natelson is the person you have been looking for to guide you on your path to recovery."
—Sandra Blakeslee, coauthor of The Body Has a Mind of Its Own

"Natelson superbly incorporates research studies, clinical trials (even on drugs in development), and patient case reports in this book. If you are battling pain and fatigue symptoms but your tests are all normal, you will enjoy reading Natelson's pro-patient approach to explaining the real nature of your illness, his recommended treatment approaches, and how to cope with everything that is going on in your life."
—Kristin Thorson, editor of the Fibromyalgia Network and President of the American Fibromyalgia Syndrome Association

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (October 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471740284
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471740285
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #321,338 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kacie on December 16, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Natelson has done a real service for all those with "invisible illnesses" like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, and IBS, as well as those with undiagnosed symptoms. In the book, he explains why a disconnect exists between patients with these disorders and their doctors and how to overcome it. Then he provides a practical approach to dealing with symptoms, including specific treatments that are backed up by research and experiential data. Complementary treatments are included as well, with practical, real-life strategies that will help you feel better and improve functioning. There may be no cure for many of the illnesses he addresses, but if you are looking for a concise, sensible handbook to help in dealing with the various symptoms, this is it. I've had CFS and Fibromyalgia for 14 years, and oh, how I wish I had had this book years ago to help manage my illness.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is not a book for someone who wants to learn about how to fight chronic fatigue syndrome using all sorts of alternative therapies. It's clear Dr. Natelson is not a fan of much of what is promoted as treatment for ME/CFS. But that's of little matter. Dr. Natelson is a thorough, professional and highly compassionate physician/researcher who has obviously thought about this subject deeply.

First he takes the reader on a fascinating journey into the realm of a doctor encountering this mysterious and frustrating disease. As he winds his way through the possible causes and treatments for FM and ME/CFS he carefully explains why he does and does not use embrace one treatment or another. An engaging writer, he draws us skillfully and painlessly into the complex world of ME/CFS research. A prolific researcher, towards the end of the book we gain some intriguing insights into his latest findings and some new therapies I haven't seen discussed before.

Dr. Natelson's views may not fit everyone (not unusual in this field!) but when physician of his experience speaks (and he speaks very well) everyone should give him a listen. All in all a thoroughly engaging and above all educational book by one of our foremost researchers and physicians.
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By Sue on January 27, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I found this book to be a welcome new addition to the many that I have read in the past decade covering neuro/immune/ muscular type illnesses. It addresses issues that relate to those initially dealing with symptoms,to those diagnosed who struggle to cope with adapting to the many changes that occur and the management of ongoing symptoms. Being diagnosed over ten years ago after a long frustrating path of disabling illness, I wish that I had this book when few if any were available on M.E.,CFIDS/FM,etc..
Dr. Natelson imparts a hopeful and optimistic attitude to the patient who is weary of dealing with a skeptical medical field. Particuarly, the chapters which outline options for those wanting to exercise to maintain their independence and abilities; he is measured and practical keeping in mind the fear of flares or relapse potential if pushed beyond one's limitations. This book is filled with a blend of past and present treatments and research information. It is a rational, measured approach by one who has listened. observed and studied this area for many years. It is definitely well worth one's time and energy. Sue
( New Jersey)
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Format: Hardcover
This book is EXCELLENT! It is written by a medical doctor who has done a great deal of research in the area he is writing about. And HE CARES! I am an RN with a Bachelor's degree in science. Everything in this book makes sense to me. It is not the usual questionable information I often have found in books about CFS, FMS. This is a book you can hand to your doctor and say I want these tests.....It is very easy to read for the regular person and it is written with compassion. This is a doctor who actually believes he needs to LISTEN to his patients. The blood work, X-rays, etc. are all important, but if they say there is nothing wrong-it doesn't mean that your symptoms aren't real. What a wonderful concept. I think this book should be required for every medical student, resident out there. Who knows, doctors might start listening again to their patients!
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Dr. Natelson has written a much needed book on unexplained illnesses. The book empowers both the patient and the doctor. He helps the patient to determine if their current doctor is the right match for them, and he explains the qualities a patient should look for in a doctor. He explains his step-by-step diagnosis procedure and enumerates medications that might help symptoms, all supported by research. He discusses complimentary medicine that might help, and the pitfalls that vulnerable patients might fall into with ads of "miracle cures". He even helps the patient to be pro-active by improving their symptoms through diet and through a very graduated exercise program. At the end, he discusses latest research findings.

Even though Dr. Natelson's book is helpful for doctors, it is written in a way that is also very easy for patients to understand. If he needs to bring up something in one part of his book, such as problems with sleep, in reference to the current topic, but the detailed discussion of that topic comes later in the book, he tells the reader that he will go into it in detail in a specific subsequent chapter. At the end of each chapter, he includes a very helpful summary, and tells the reader what he will discuss next. These writing techniques make the book easy to understand (especially for those of us with CFS "brain fog"), and also provides a reference book of information at our fingertips.
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