- Paperback: 214 pages
- Publisher: Visceral Books LLC; 1 edition (January 15, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0982833970
- ISBN-13: 978-0982833971
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 163 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #483,871 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Figuring out Fibromyalgia: Current science and the most effective treatments 1st Edition
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About the Author
Ginevra Liptan, MD, is a graduate of Tufts University School of Medicine, and is board-certified in internal medicine. After developing fibromyalgia as a medical student, she spent many years using herself as a guinea pig in a search for effective treatments. She is now medical director of the Frida Center for Fibromyalgia, and an associate professor at Oregon Health and Science University.
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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.
Dr. Liptan has a serious medical and scientific mind and presents her personal anecdotal evidence as personal anecdotal evidence while also providing an invaluable summation of important studies related to this cruel affliction. She, herself, has been a sufferer since medical school and her struggle and personal research has been invaluable to me. I was able to achieve more relief than I had known in years with a handful of changes to my sleep habits and vitamin regimen, and utilizing relaxation techniques I had left moldering in my mental attic for decades. While hardly cured, it was a remarkable blessing to wake in the morning rested again less than a week after reading the book and adopting an initial handful of her many suggestions.
Hopefully, the medical community will take Dr. Liptan's work as an opportunity to author new studies that might lend humane relief to millions of Fibromyalgia patients.
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.