Fibromyalgia is a Syndrome characterised by Chronic widespread pain and fatigue not helped by rest.
Mainly women in ratio of 3:1
2-7% of the population
What are the symptoms
- Fatigue not relieved by rest
- Sleep disturbance
- Cognitive impairment affecting attention and thought processing – fog.
- Impaired stress response
- Migraine and IBS common.
- Dysfunction in everyday life plagued by unpredictable limitations determined by fibromyalgia.
- Withdrawal and Isolation
We don’t know for sure. A number of factors are suspected to contribute
- Early life trauma
- Traumatic life events
- Autoimmunity is suspected
- Central sensitisation is known to be a major contributor.
- Increased sensitivity to sensory signals
- Altered functioning in areas involved with pain processing.
- Alterations in the brain networks
- Hypersensitive or under sensitive.
- Areas underconnected or overconnected.
All these altered workings in the brain can impact on the experience of pain, our emotions, our thinking and sleep
Pain is experienced in the brain
Pain is experienced in the brain.
Counterintuitive when you feel the pain in your joints.
Signals pass from a site of injury to the spinal cord and on to the brain
Here the signals are experienced as pain.
So Pain is experienced in the brain. This appears counterintuitive as you think you feel the pain in your joints or your back etc.
Our brain produces natural pain killers, opiates called beta endorphins. These endorphins work through a pathway called the descending analgesia pathway which helps to reduce pain.
In fibromyalgia this pathway gets blocked and is under functioning. Morphine medication also uses this pathway, and this is why morphine is ineffective in fibromyalgia.
At the level of the spinal cord, a chemical called Substance P enhances pain signals. One of the effects of the descending analgesia is to use Serotonin to inhibit substance P.
In fibromyalgia, not only is there altered function in the descending analgesia pathway, there are reduced levels of Serotonin. This helps explain why substance P levels are often high in Fibromyalgia.
The areas in the brain that receive sensory signals from the body are often sensitised in fibromyalgia so that the experience of pain is enhanced and pain feels more intense than is expected. This is hyperalgesia – the volume is turned up. Allodynia is where normally innocuous sensations are experienced as painful. Some people even find the touch of their clothes is painful.
Because of the shared networks in the brain, as these pain networks any altered function in pain circuits impacts on emotional responses which results in Depression and Anxiety. Both of these are common features of fibromyalgia and are compounded by the limitations that the syndrome imposes on lifestyle choices.
Neurotransmitter levels are altered.
Serotonin and norepinephrine. Involved in many of the brain processes.
Common medications attempt to restore the levels of them.
The brain circuits are oversensitive and other medications help to reduce the excitability of the circuits . Ones with gaba in the name.
Medication to restore neurotransmitter levels and reduce excitability.
Serotonin and norepinephrine also help with depression and sleep.
Exercise or positive movement
Reflexology has been around for thousands of years.
There is evidence that ancient Egyptians employed it for healing. Modern reflexology was developed in Florida by Eunice Ingram in the 1920s.
Reflexologist work with reflex areas on the hands and feet. These reflex areas correspond to all areas and organs of the body.
Working the reflex areas promotes the natural balance of the the corresponding areas of the body by enhancing the body’s own healing processes.
Limbic Reflexology is a relatively new addition. It was developed working with a group of people living with fibromyalgia in Yorkshire.
Limbic Reflexology focuses on the brain and in particular the Limbic brain.
We are familiar with pictures of the outside of the brain. The Limbic brain is the engine beneath, the control centre for all of the body systems. This is the centre of Homeostasis where everything is kept in balance including our experiences of pain, emotion and our cognitions – our thinking.
The brain reflexes are all found in the hallux – our big toe, and it is there that Limbic Reflexologists focus their work.
Using precision reflex areas, we can detect imbalance and disturbed reflex areas would normally denote altered function in the corresponding area of the Limbic brain.
Fibro and Limbic
As we learned earlier, one of the main features of fibromyalgia is central sensitisation where there is altered function in the nuclei and networks of the brain.
There is a distinct pattern of disturbed reflex areas in fibromyalgia and by working those areas, Limbic Reflexologists can help the brain restore normal function.
We looked at the common symptoms
Pain circuits – ACC PAG Raphe amygdala LC
Fog PCC OFC sgACC Hippocampus
Video showing sequence of reflex area
Text of involvement in Fibro with voice over.
LR does not cure fibro but it helps manage it in a way that it gets your life back
You control fibro rather than fibro controlling you
How Many Treatments?
Over the years, working with those living with Fibro, it has become established that you will initially need eight weekly or twice weekly, one hour treatments. The effect of these are accumulative and need to be done without interruption.
So if you have any holidays or events planned that would not permit this continuity, it’s best to wait until you can commit to this regular schedule.
Thereafter, monthly maintenance treatments maintain the benefits. Limbic Reflexology is not a cure for fibromyalgia. It is way to manage it so that you control the Fibro rather than Fibro controlling you.
Most Reflexologists charge 30-40 per treatment
This is costly for the initial treatments. Talk to your reflexologist. Many will reduce the cost for the initial treatments.
Where do I find a Qualified Therapist
Not all Limbic Reflexologists have chosen to be on directory
Sponsor a reflexologist
Training costs £350, roughly the equivalent of the eight initial treatments.
Negotiate – win win situation.