Fibromyalgia is a chronic syndrome affecting millions of people world wide. We have little understanding of this disease, almost no idea what could be its root cause, and only a hit-and-miss record in treating it successfully (no matter the chosen treatments).
The problem with fibromyalgia is that, as far has been learned, it is not a disease but a grouping of symptoms (a syndrome). So it cannot be tested for using blood, x-ray, or any other type of modern technology. It’s a problem that can only be diagnosed through thoughtful, clinical, physician-to-patient interaction and detective work. It is thus an ailment that does not generally do well in modern medical practice, but is almost perfectly suited for homeopathic treatment.
What Is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a combination of symptoms, which may (or may not) include: myalgias (muscle pain, often called “tender points”), stiffness, fatigue, migraine headaches, dizziness, paraethesias, irritable bowel syndrome-like problems, sleep disorders, anxiety/depression (often fluctuating), memory and concentration problems, and so forth.
Some sufferers have only a few of these symptoms, some have nearly all of them. Many are mis-diagnosed with other problems first, before being given a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. It is most often diagnosed in women aged 20-50, but has been found in men and even teenagers.
Some study into the syndrome has suggested a genetic link, as family members often share symptoms, but so far no proof of any source for fibromyalgia has been discovered.
The conventional treatment for fibromyalgia is to prescribe treatments and pharmaceuticals for each individual symptom, in order of severity. A recent study’s title, as published in Nature Reviews Rheumatology, says it all: Fibromyalgia Drugs are ‘As Good as it Gets’ in Chronic Pain.
The trouble with the way most clinical trials are conducted in order to test the efficacy of specific drug treatments is that they are usually exclusive. Since fibromyalgia is series of symptoms rather than a singular disease or ailment, one treatment or drug is not likely to alleviate the ailment. Yet most clinical trials of pharmaceuticals or mainstream treatments focus on only one thing at a time, excluding all others.
This despite the fact that most patients with this syndrome are usually prescribed multiple drugs and treatments. This gives the obvious advantage to the homeopathic approach for treatment of fibromyalgia.
Homeopathy and Fibromyalgia
The practice of homeopathy has two main focuses: doctor-patient interaction and customized treatment for the patient based on that interaction. A homeopath does not spend five minutes with the patient and then hand them a scrip for a “cure.” Like fibromyalgia, homeopathic medicine is individual to the patient.
Most homeopathic medications are prescribed because, in large doses, they would actually cause the same symptom being treated. The idea being that if the patient has a specific symptom, the body’s own defense systems will counter the root cause of the symptom, so exacerbating the symptom just enough to increase the body’s response will cure the underlying illness.
With fibromyalgia, which is basically a list of symptoms, homeopathy treats each symptom individually rather than the idea of “fibromyalgia” as a whole. This contradicts the general mainstream approach, which labels the problem and looks for a one-stop cure-all for it.
Science Proves Homeopathy’s Treatment of Fibromyalgia
Much study has gone into the treatment of fibromyalgia. A study done in 2003 as a crossover study* and published in the journal Rheumatology (Oxford Journals), showed that even patients receiving only one homeopathic remedy were significantly better off than those receiving a placebo.
Another study, published in the Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine in 2004, showed that not only were patients receiving homeopathic treatment (over a placebo) better off, but that individualizing the dosage meant even better responses. This study was a culmination of four studies that were published in the journal Rheumatology.
A search of Google Scholar shows many, many more studies (most of them in Britain) on the efficacy of homeopathic treatments in fibromyalgia. Yet homeopathy is continuing to receive little but vitriol from mainstream academics and medicine.
A study published in 2000 by the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine shows that most “scientific” response to homeopathic studies is hardly scientific at all. It’s usually based on name-calling and cries of “bias” against the researchers (despite the fact that most mainstream scientific research is easily biased as well).
There is much evidence to support the efficacy of homeopathic medicine in treating fibromyalgia’s symptoms and little to refute it. The syndrome and the treatment are perfectly complementary.
For More Information..
*A “crossover study” is a clinical trial method in which one treatment is compared to another in a way similar to a double-blind, placebo study, but where patients are switched halfway through in order to make comparisons.
..on homeopathy and how it works, read this excellent exchange of letters published in the British Medical Journal in 1994.
..on the use of alternative medicine for fibromyalgia, see this article in Arthritis & Rheumatism, 1996.