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Fibromyalgia board


Helena,

You have a very healthy attitude, that's great! You are right on when you say that your sleep pattern is the key to your pain. That is another thing that us Fibro's are usually treated for as soon as were are dx'd. There are many meds out there you can take at bedtime to help you relax and sleep the way you were meant to sleep. Interrupted sleep is one of the biggest problems we Fibro's have. Even physically healthy folks cannot tolerate a disrupted sleep pattern. You aren't getting the "resorative sleep" that you need. Research indicates that we need at least 4 hours of "restorative sleep". This doesn't mean that only 4 hours of sleep is what you need, it means the stage of sleep that you are trully SLEEPING. Someone help me out here, what the heck is that stage of sleep called? LOL Well, you know what I mean! :) 4 hours of restorative sleep is when your body does exactly that, it RESTORES. It is not unusual for Fibro's who start using meds to help re-establish their sleep to sleep for 12 hours at first. Your body needs that. IMO, you should talk to your doctor about some of the meds that will relax you and help you get into a healthy pattern of sleep. Trazadone, Flexeril, Soma, Klonopin, even Valium are typical medications used to help you get sleep. Strictly sleep meds are usually not good for Fibro's since they don't act as muscle relaxants. Flexeril seems to help a lot of Fibro's. It is a sedative muscle relaxant. Zanaflex is the same as is Soma. They are all muscle relaxants that have a sedative ingredient. There is another thread here where someone asked about Clonzepam/Klonopin. This is a benzo type med, very addictive, but also very good for sleep. It is an anti-anxiety anti-siezure medication and is given to FM patients for Restless Leg Syndrome and to promote healthy sleep. It works great for most folks. I took it for 3 years and just recently switched to Trazadone. I switched for the main reason that I was on Klonopin for over 3 years and it was time to stop, and since I am using Lexapro which has anti-anxiety ingredients, so the two meds would be too much together.

I encourage you to talk to your doctor about getting your sleep pattern under control, or you will never feel better. You are doing all the right things as far as your diet and exercise, but your lack of sleep is counteracting all that good, thereby causing you pain. And yes, depression can cause pain, and vise versa. It's a vicious circle. That was why the big "hoo ha" with Cymbalta went on in the FM community. Doctors developed Cymbalta and designed it to treat the pain that comes from clincal depression. Since most docs, and Fibro patients themselves, know that you can become clinically depressed because of the chronic pain we suffer, Cymbalta seemed perfect for us Fibromights. I noticed that it did help a bit with pain, but the side effects were rather unpleasant. :) And from what I read here, the side effects of Cymbalta are what causes people to quit taking it. Which is too bad.

You are doing good, Helena (lovely name by the way), and you have a good sense of approaching the use of your meds. You are right, tapering off a medication that may cause withdrawl does take patience, it's good that you already know you have the stamina to do so. I haven't heard about any withdrawl symptoms from Lexapro. I don't know how long it's been on the market, but maybe not long enough where there are very many documented cases of withdrawl problems.

Keep us all posted on how you are doing. Seems to me like you are on the right track to handling FM the way it needs to be handled! You go girl!

Here's wishing you a good spirit,
tk
Helena,

Here is part of my original post. I modified it a little bit, but it's info is still the same. It contains some pretty interesting information from this author. It's there for consideration not for any other reason. Just another alternative to prescription meds. Good for some, but not for all.


Dr. Murphee author's a book titled: Treating and Beating Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome - A Patient's Self-Help Manual. that provides the info about each subject. I believe this is a new addition to his book (A Patient's Self-Help Manual) already out titled "Treating and Beating FM and CF" (shortend, for space) This is a new "self help manual" out in April that address certain single problems we have with FM/CFS and takes us step by step showing us how to treat the ailment "naturally" and then there is a quesitonierre to help us understand exactly how these symptoms are affecting our lives and how we are best helped. Kind of a question and answer section for each ailment. Some of the info in this post is taken from parts of this book and manual as well as other sources of info that Dr. Murphee has written.

The Importance of Serotonin and Sleep

· Serotonin, a neurotransmitter, helps regulate sleep, digestion, pain, mood, and mental clarity. Normal serotonin levels help:
· raise the pain threshold (have less pain).
· you to fall asleep and stay asleep through the night.
· regulate moods. It is known as "the happy hormone." (*I like that! )
· reduce sugar cravings and over-eating.
· increase a person's mental abilities.
· regulate normal gut motility (transportation of food-stuff) and irritable bowel
· syndrome (IBS).

Next:

Here is some more info about serotonin that Dr. Murphee states in his book:

The amino acid (found in protein) tryptophan turns into 5-hydroxytroptohan, which turns into serotonin, and then into melatonin. Vitamins and minerals are essential, too, of course. A deficiency of any of the synergistic (I had to look this word up, but thought it was good for us to learn! ) nutrients magnesium, calcium, and vitamins B6, B12, B1, and B3 will prevent the production of serotonin. Prescription medications can block the production of these nutrients and so deplete serotonin.
Dr. Murphee says that we are naturally built with a "savings account" of the following chemicals, serotonin, dopamine, noriepinephrine, cortisol, DHEA, HGH, and others, these help us deal with stress. And everytime we experience stress or some kind of incident with our FM or CF Syndrome, it depletes this "savings account". He says that we are emptying this savings account by making more "withdrawls" than "deposits". He then goes on to discuss how we make "deposits" of these chemicals by obtaining deep restoritive sleep which makes serotonin. And since us Fibromites usually do not obtain deep restorative sleep, we don't make enough serotonin to replace what we lost during the day, so it's a vicious cycle. Here's where the anti-D's come into play. You know some of our docs push those SSRIS at us to "increase serotonin". Well, here is what Dr. Murphee has to say about these meds.

Why Not Just Take an Antidepressant?

Antidepressant drugs have been used with varying degrees of success in treating the sleeplessness of FMS and CFS. Many patients are on Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIS (Prozac, Paxil, Celexa, Lexapro, Zoloft, etc.). SSRIS are supposed to help a patient hang on to and use his or her naturally occurring stores of serotonin. This is like using a gasoline additive to help increase the efficiency of your car's fuel. But most of the patients Dr. Murphee sees, he claims, are running on fumes; there is no gasoline in their tank (no serotonin in their brain)! A gasoline additive (SSRI) won't help. SSRIS don't make serotonin, they only help a person hang on to and use the serotonin they already have.( *I did not know this, my doc never told me this part!) Unfortunately, most individuals with FMS don't have any serotonin. There is nothing to reuptake. (*Hmmmm.....)
No one has a SSRI (anti-depressant) deficiency.
This is where Dr. Murphee recommends 5HTP. He says it's like pouring gasoline straight into our "tanks". This is what he says about 5HTP: "5HTP is a derivative of the amino acid tryptophan. When taken correctly, it turns right into serotonin. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter or brain chemical that is responsible for regulating your sleep (getting you to sleep), raising your pain threshold (decreasing your pain), and elevating your moods. " He says that using this amino acid may take awhile to help build up your serotonin but he believes it is so much better than taking those scripts. Dr. Murphee also believes that 5HTP helps the additional problems: depression, FMS, insomnia, binge eating, pain, and chronic headaches. Now, mind you, these are just his determinations. He is a doctor, but he uses a homeopathic method to treat FM/CFS which may not be for everyone. A lot of folks are comfortable taking their prescriptions.

Okay, here is the part where he addresses all those sleep meds we take. He says that they simply "knock us out". We are not naturally falling into deep restorative sleep. If you don't dream for instance, you are simply medicated, you are not in natural sleep. I gotta say, I take one of these meds, and I am afraid to wean off of it, because it DOES, help me sleep straight through the night, but I DO notice that I usually wake up in the same position that I went to sleep in. I DO dream though. Not all the time, but I do. I like the idea that I'm not tossing and turning because of my back, I cannot turn myself over without help or support. Dr. Murphee claims that most of us will feel "hung over" in the morning while taking these sleep meds. I do feel that. Here is the list of meds that he says DO NOT (in his opinion) obtain restorative sleep:

Sleep Medications that don't Promote Deep Restorative Sleep:

· Gabitril (tiagabine) and Neurontin (abapentin)
· Zanaflex (tizanidine)
· Xanax (alprazolam), Ativan (lorazepam), Valium (diazepam), Tranxene (clorazepate dipotassium), Serax (oxazepam), Librium (chlordiazepoxide), and Restoril (temazepam)
· Soma (carisprodol) is a muscle relaxant that can be very sedating.
· Klonopin (clonazepam) ***this is what I have been taking for nearly 3 years for sleep, I also take Soma, and have tried Zanaflex***(Klonopin is an anti-anxiety med, as are some of the other med's listed)· Unisom (doxylamine) is an over-the-counter antihistamine.

Sleep Medications that do Promote Restorative Sleep

· Ambien
· Elavil
· Flexeril
· Trazadone
***I have taken Flexeril and Trazadone, and they haven't helped me, personally***

Okay, there you have it. I just had to tell you about the anti-D's (hate those things! LOL) and in Dr. Murphee's book he address how exactly to use 5HTP so that it benefits you the most. Also, just a bit of info for those of us with CFS. There has been research that shows that 5HTP does not work for CFS patients. It is recommended that for those of us who have CFS, 5HTP be taken during the day, if possible, to help build up serotonin during the day. Now they recommend Fibromties use it at bedtime as well as during the day, depending on how it helps them. There is info in Dr. Murphee's book and on the web as to how to use 5HTP if you choose to go that route to help you increase your serotonin.

I hope some of you get a little "out" of this info. Roll it around in your mind. It's not for everyone. I don't take anti-D's, but I do take Klonopin for sleep. I DO believe that there can be alternatives to some meds we are taking.

Enjoy the read.

Here's wishing you a good spirit,
tk

P.S. Please be sure to check with your doc before trying any of the therapies mentioned here or in any book that promotes "homeopathic" treatments using supplements and amino acids.