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Sunday, September 03, 2006

Chronic Pain Syndromes

"Dear Gary,
I was sorry I missed hearing you speak... I have had polymyalgia for 2 years and am on Prednisone 11mg daily, but it is barely keeping it under control and I will probably have to increase it. Can you please send some information that might help?"
Gary Moller comments:
I have been dealing with chronic pain syndromes for the last 30 years. These conditions present in various forms including polymyalgia, RSD, RSI and fibromyalgia.

These are characterised by disabling painful and inflamed muscles, tendons and joints that do not readily resolve despite medications, remedial exercise or rest. An episode of ill health or an injury might have been the precurser for the condition that may continues on with a life of its own.

These aliments are more common in women than men. There would appear to be an association in some cases with menopause. There are no known cures as such - just mangement and it runs its course, be that months or even years. I have been taking a renewed interest in these conditions, partly because I have had so many inquiries about them lately.

It is still early days; but I am highly suspiscious of two factors at play which, if properly dealt with, may asssist a healthy resolution.

Vitamin D deficiencyVitamin D has a growing list of health benefits, and "D" deficiency is associated with muscle and joint pain as well as immune system dysfunction. The people commonly afflicted by fibromyalgia and similar conditions tend to be office workers, women in their 50's and others who may have gone for long periods of deprivation of sunlight. An episode of illness, including hospitalisation sees to that.

Recent investigations of clients with "myalgic" conditions have returned positive blood test results for serious vitamin D deficiency. All that must be seen now is what happens over a year or so with deliberate boosting of vitamin D levels.

Mineral and vitamin DeficienciesMuscles and circulation do not function properly if minerals, especially magnesium and calcium are deficient. From work with athletes, I am aware of how common this health problem is and how easily a person can become deficient. Poor circulation, fluctuating blood pressure, aching muscles and joints eventuate. This may be accentuated by deficiencies in vitamins, the B Group in particular. It is too early to tell, but supplemetning with vitamins and minerals along with boositing vitamin D levels may be of benefit as would adding omega 3 oils like Evening primrose, flax seed or fish oil to the diet.

If the sufferer is a woman 50 years old or so, strategies to alleviate menopausal symptoms is an obvious action.

What about exercise?
Exercise, other than gentle and preferably done in a pool is of little benefit if the body's anabolic processes are faulty. Attention to diet, vitamin D levels and some supplementation will eventually have the body in a position to build its strength and vitality in response to exercise.

With all good things, these natural approaches require time and patience - several months or more for any lasting benefits to show. These "healthy measures" are complementary to medical treatment and which one should continue and be subject to ongoing review.

Prednisone and other medicines
Should you keep taking Predisone or any other prescribed medicines for chronic pain syndromes? The answer is "Yes!" if you already are. Some medicines like Prednisone, especially if you have been taking a lot of it for more than a few months, should never be stopped suddenly. If you are wanting to reduce your medication, get started by getting on a regime of vitamin and mineral supplementation, get your vitamin D levels measured via your doctor, take measures to boost your "D" if needed and give these time to take effect - then talk to your doctor about the possibility of a gradual cessation.

Discuss with your doctor before starting.

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