Fibromyalgia Part 1: The final frontier

Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

VIRGINIA, March 15, 2014 — There seems to be a great deal of “fibro-speak” on the internet, resulting from a proliferation of studies and research, as well as a great deal of opinion. Most of the accurate information deals with how to treat the symptoms of fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS).

Studies and research findings of possible causes tend to contradict each other. What one study claims is a cause of FMS, another implies is not. These wide variations in information create a world of confusion for victims of this horrific disorder.

New research from Duke University shows a connection between FMS and what is known as “intense creative energy,” or Type-A personality. Another solid study shows that FMS symptoms result from blocked AV shunts with peripheral nerve issues; a third study suggests a central nervous system disorder; a fourth, food additives; and yet a fifth, glandular issues and hormonal imbalance.

Perhaps FMS is akin to influenza or the flu. The symptoms for sufferers are similar, but science has revealed many different viruses as a cause of the flu. Until science uncovered viral causation of influenza, such symptoms were assigned to an assortment of different ills or religious conception.

Fortunately, science has shown that FMS is a physical syndrome, not, as thought for many years, psychogenic or “in the mind.”

FMS is a complex disorder. Like the flu, there is almost certainly an underlying, common causative factor that generates similar symptoms in most sufferers. It’s impact may extend to produce other syndromes of unknown origin but with similar symptoms or effects.

Perhaps a better comparison can be made with the rhinovirus or a common cold. There are over 200 different rhinoviruses that cause “the common cold.” Individuals respond differently to each rhinovirus, with some avoiding symptoms all together while others suffer from a wide range of ailments when exposed to the same rhinovirus.

Many researchers are now looking at a broader context for the cause of FMS, and whether elements people are exposed to regularly could trigger an FMS response in some.

The broader context is excitotoxins and neurotoxins found in the environment and processed foods. Interestingly, FMS did not truly surface as a global disorder until the world’s atmosphere became polluted from industry and chemicals and foods started being processed by the millions. FMS has historically been the domain of women in their child- bearing years but now, young males as early as age 10 are diagnosed with FMS.

Excitotoxicity is described as “neuronal injury caused by excessive release of excitatory neurotransmitters such as glutamate and aspartate causing damage to nerve and glial cells, which occurs in diverse neurologic diseases that may be acute” and “neuronal death resulting from increased intracellular glutamate.” An excitotoxin is a class of substances that damage neurons.

Neurotoxin is defined as “a natural or artificial toxic substance” and neurotoxicity as “the degree of exposure to a neurotoxin that alters the function of the nervous system”

Glutamate is the most abundant excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain and nervous system.

These are abridged definitions yet perhaps, herein lays fundamental connections that may explain cross-over multiple, similar symptom syndromes, particularly chronic pain syndrome (CPS) and FMS and the oft misdiagnosis of Lyme’s disease.


Paul Mountjoy, PhD, is a Virginia based psychotherapist

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  • J. M.

    How do you justify calling a study ‘solid’ when it is highly questionable? And there have been males (and females) younger than 10 diagnosed with FMS. So your statement about males as young as 10 is inaccurate. FMS is in fact HIGHLY overdiagnosed. All those things you mentioned may cause symptoms similar to FMS. I personally know of 5 people falsely diagnosed with FMS and have been in contact with countless others online that were falsely diagnosed with it. Most had something else like lymes, Vitamin D deficiency, hypo thyroid, etc. In many cases those underlying conditions had not been treated yet the doc slapped the FMS label on the person. Most docs seem to use FMS as a general label for pain–even when it is known to be from another condition. And the reports of it running in families cannot be trusted as most if not all of those people probably don’t really have FMS. I actually know 2 people that were not physically ill that were diagnosed with it. One is a hypochondriac and gets a condition just by hearing about it. She has managed to develop every condition that I have…what are the chances of that–especially an injury. Another faked it to get disability and suddenly made a miraculous recovery once her kids were to old for benefits and she didn’t have enough income. No one can be sure that they really have FMS until there is an objective test. It will be impossible to get an objective test until docs stop acting stupid and handing out an FMS diagnosis like candy. I have had symptoms since I was 5 (I am female). I first noticed them after 2 serious injuries that year. I have participated in a medical study with a respected researcher. I still continuously research on the chance that I do have something else altogether.

    • Still Searching for Info

      I did post a reply to yours J.M. It is above yours.

    • roe

      Is there a test that proves that you have the flu and all of the other strain s of the flu?

      • J. M.

        I would think they could do a blood test to see if you did in fact have the flu and what strain. This is something they can identify. They just usually don’t most of the time. After all, they have to be able to specifically identify the strains to make the vaccines….and with the common cold..they have identified a couple hundred from what I remember. If someone had the money to spend, they could request a test for a specific cold or flu. I assume it is done if the person does not get better and they are considering a different diagnosis.

        • Paul-author


          The flu and common cold analogy is just for comparative reason…no medical connection.

          • J. M.

            I didn’t say anything about there being a connection, your comment to be and the way it is presented make you look unreliable.

    • Paul-author

      J.M-thanks for responding:

      Let me say I understand the FMS diagnosis as a ‘throw away’ for some physicians

      The study I mentioned (AV joints) is not “highly questionable” as reason for symptoms.

      I really did not get into symptoms yet. This article is introductory as many more articles are forthcoming in a series.

      Serious injury is one cause of FMS symptoms as the CNS and PNS are affected.

      I hope to hear from you as we go.


      • J. M.

        The fact that 5 different studies claim 5 causes make all of them highly questionable. The fact that you think these are reliable takes away from any credibility you may have. Sure, people could have a blocked AV shut and have pain and fatigue and be MISDIAGNOSED with fms and actually have a different condition characterized by the block. Same as the other possible causes….there is no evidence that those conditions are actually REAL FMS.

        You say that there is likely a common cause, but are claiming studies pointing to 5 different causes are reliable. That is pure nonsense.

        A few months ago, the NJ Star Ledger published an article saying that as many as 30% of diagnoses are KNOWN To be wrong. That means there are many more misdiagnoses that are not known. That is completely unacceptable. And it is because alleged professionals just don’t pay attention and would rather whine about how high their malpractice insurance is, when their behavior shows it is not high enough.

        I have had a number of simple and what should have been easy to diagnose conditions that were MISSED by multiple doctors. For example, a desk fell on my foot when I was 15….about 10 years later the pain was unbearable. 4 docs x-rayed and shrugged and said they did not see a fracture and just blew me off. The 4th put the x-ray up in front of me on about my 3rd visit. I had to point out the large area of deformity–about half my foot has osteoarthritis.

        FYI, I am not a type A personality.

        For a medical study to be valid, it must be able to be replicated. The only possible cause that has multiple studies behind it is a problem with the neuro system. As of now, the others are as valid as the idiot theory that Guaifenesin cured FMS…which was disproven about 10-15 years ago, yet alleged professionals still claim it works. The study that said that vaccines caused autism was also called solid. All most if not all of these studies prove is that 5 different things cause FMS like symptom, not solidly indicate that they cause REAL fms

        • Paul-author

          What I am saying is the studies address symptoms not so much causation.etiology. I am not endorsing any particular study and I personally, do not think ‘type A’ is as relevant as the researchers claim.

          Read the series first before you weigh in and we can take it from there, OK?

      • Carol

        So they DO connect serious injury with Fibro? I’m most definitely a Type A personality (and most definitely agree with the correlation!), and 25 years ago had a 30′ fall off a ladder and landed on a cement floor ultimately leaving me with a broken back and feet so badly damaged they said I’d never walk again. I did! Immediately! (after the surgery and casts of course). Within I’d say about 3 years I was pretty much my old self. Only the odd problem with my feet. I then had 4 more children and 2 years after my last child i developed Menieres disease. 5 years after that, Fibro. I believe, when I look back now, that the signs of Fibro were there. The pain just got so bad that I finally discussed it with my doctor. I have made assumptions in my head, but haven’t read anything that makes the connection between my fall and the Fibro. If you have any more info or links etc that you could direct me to, especially if they make this connection, I’d very much appreciate it. (I’ve never posted here before. I hope I get notification if I get a reply 😉 )
        Thank you for you article! 😉

  • rubyslippers

    I was diagnosed at age 35 (I am now 59), but I can look back and I know I had symptoms since age 8 or 9. I contracted measles at that time, coincidentally. Growing up I was “lazy” or “distracted” or had a “sour stomach”, etc. My “growing pains” were cause for concern at one point. Finally, my parents took me to several doctors for x-rays. Of course they showed nothing outside of a normal growing 11 year old. I am 100% positive my father had FMS. He passed in 1984. He was slow and sore. Never one to play any physical sports. He was always tired. I can imagine the horrors of having to march and fight his way from Italy to Germany in WWII could have been a factor. I agree with JM that FMS is now being so very over misdiagnosed. It use to be that no doctor wanted to diagnose it (they would send you to a psychiatrist) and now everyone has it. The drugs being dispensed for FMS are ridiculous. I know sufferers who are taking oxycodone, methadone or have a fentynol patch. But guess what? All those narcotics don’t even stop the pain. I take Lyrica, which does nothing but make me drowsy so I am able to fall asleep. I don’t stay asleep because of the pain, but at least I don’t lay around for hours hoping to sleep. It doesn’t touch fibro pain. I hate how the pharmacutical companies saw the potential and jumped on the bandwagon, all for $$$$.

    • Paul-author

      Hi, Ruby:

      I feel for you, truly.

      Please keep reading as the articles appear. Perhaps there will be something to assist you, OK?