In my last post I mentioned Chris Moran’s observations that over three-quarters of his Fibromyalgia patients had first sufffered from whiplash and other injuries. This has been amply borne out by my own experience. To take 4 recent cases:
Case 1. A client in her 40s whose Fibromyalgia started following surgery after a car crash went wrong and left her with permanent nerve damage to her face.
Case 2. A client in her 30s whose Fibromyalgia started up after breaking both legs in a ski-ing accident.
Case 3. A client in his 30s who developed Fibromyalgia after a whip-lash injury from a car accident left him temporarily disabled.
Case 4. A client in her 60s with Fibromyalgia who had also suffered from Trigeminal Neuralgia for over 10 years.
Yet in each case the Fibromyalgia pain (although not always the other pain source) reduced or disappeared with changing circumstances. Case 1 found her symptoms were less when not caring for her very old mother. Case 2 at weekends when with her family and friends. Case 3 when not cooped up at home (he worked part-time). Case 4 when away on holiday.
So how does chronic pain link to Fibromyalgia? Here is my theory for what it is worth. Injuries and illness create pain in the first place and also a restricted, frustrating, life-style. This, in turn, leads to increased emotion (not only frustration but also sadness, anger and fear) as well as a reduction in joy. At this point the HPA axis is activated and eventually creates the further symptoms of Fibromyalgia – effectively prompting the individual to pay more attention to her emotional needs and change the way in which she has adapted to the pain.
Chronic pain is one of the most distressing experiences we can have. I well remember the pain I suffered for years from an undiagnosed appendix problem – as well as the intense pain that occurred the week before I was rushed into hospital when it ruptured. And yet my experience was small-scale compared to some of my clients. It’s no wonder they are emotionally vulnerable.
A year ago this month Dr Chris Moran, Chief Rheumatologist at Bournemouth Nuffield Hospital, died from Cancer. He was a staunch supporter of Reverse Therapy. In fact he first made contact with me when four of his Fibromyalgia patients returned to him for their appointments and told him they were now well after Reverse Therapy. Chris was a genuinely nice man as well as a humble one (despite his formidable intelligence). He once told me that he didn’t fully understand Reverse Therapy but, given that it worked, it was worth careful study. And it was Chris that found the money we needed to launch the clinical trials that are now under way. For that alone he has our gratitude.
In one conversation I had with him a few months before he died, Chris told me something very interesting about Fibromyalgia. Which was that over three-quarters of the people he saw with the condition had begun with whiplash and other injuries before developing symptoms. If Reverse Therapy worked by helping people get the emotional ‘message of the symptom’ then what, he wanted to know, was Bodymind trying to tell them about their pain through the Fibromyalgia symptoms?
It is that link I will be exploring in my next post.
- Autoimmune disease
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Cognitive Behavior Therapy
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Reverse Therapy
- Zen Buddhism