As a Certified Health Coach who specializes in helping women with fibromyalgia, I obviously read a lot of information on the subject. Figuring Out Fibromyalgia: Current science and the most effective treatments, by Dr. Ginevra Liptan is definitely one of the best books I’ve read. In fact, I liked it so much, I gave away a signed copy!
One of the things that impressed me most about Dr. Liptan’s book is that she includes both traditional western and CAM (complimentary and alternative medicine) approaches. Most books I read really lean one way or the other. As someone who has suffered from fibromyalgia myself — and come through the other side, like Dr. Liptan — I know first hand the value in both sides of that debate! Fibromyalgia is best treated with a mixture of therapies, not with one magic bullet.
I love the personal touch that Dr. Liptan provides by sharing her own journey of sickness and healing. It lent an authenticity to the book that would not have been there otherwise. It is much easier to believe someone who has “been there, done that” than it is to believe someone who has never walked in your shoes. Dr. Liptan is one of those people you can believe.
I was also fascinated by Dr. Liptan’s theory that the pain we feel in fibromyalgia is caused by the fascia: the connective tissue that surrounds muscles, groups of muscles, blood vessels, and nerves, binding them together. This really rings true to me. One of the most effective treatments I’ve received for some of my deeper leg pains has been with a massage therapist using a cupping technique, working on the deeper layers of fascia.
The only area that was a little less than clear is where Dr. Liptan discusses some of the treatments that, in her opinion, aren’t very effective. Though she didn’t state it, I came to the conclusion that she meant that these treatments are ineffective for everyone with fibromyalgia. For example, looking at studies for thyroid or magnesium treatments in fibromyalgia, I definitely agree that not everyone who has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia would improve by being treated with magnesium or thyroid — because not everyone would necessarily be low in either. However, low thyroid can cause lower body pain and fatigue, while magnesium deficiency can cause tight muscles. If a person is hypothyroid or deficient in magnesium, then treating these will absolutely improve their symptoms.
In my case, I had an undiagnosed autoimmune disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. My regular TSH levels looked normal, but my immune system was attacking my thyroid, essentially trying to kill it. When I found a doctor who knew what to look and test for, we discovered the disorder and I was treated. My energy level improved greatly, along with my pain level. I suppose you could argue that the fatigue and pain that improved was not fibro pain or fatigue, but I’m not going to complain about how I got to feeling better! Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms? When My Lab Tests Are Normal: A Revolutionary Breakthrough In Understanding Hashimoto’s Disease and Hypothyroidism, by Datis Kharrazian is a great place to start learning more about undiagnosed thyroid disorders.
All in all, Figuring Out Fibromyalgia is a fantastic book. It contains great information for the newly diagnosed and for those of us who are more educated on the subject. I highly recommend it as a must-read for anyone interested in keeping up-to-date on fibromyalgia.
Have you read Dr. Liptan’s book? I’d love to hear what you thought about it!