Neurotherapy and Fibromyalgia
Dr. Mary Lee Esty believes fibromyalgia (FMS) is misnamed because
the dysfunction is in the brain, not in the muscle fibers.
Trauma-induced changes in the central nervous system (CNS)
perpetuate FMS symptoms. The CNS ability to filter and process
signals is modified, leaving increased perception of pain. Dr.
Esty has found that most FMS patients seen in her clinic have a
history of mild or moderate brain trauma. When brain cells are
damaged by physical or biochemical trauma, imbalances appear,
regardless of the cause of damage. The first 2 grades of
concussion do not involve loss of consciousness and many people
remain unaware that they have sustained a concussion. Brain
trauma is cumulative. Minor brain traumas through life can
culminate in a variety of major dysfunctions. The majority of
FMS patients have had brain trauma that is sufficient to affect
Improvements and enhancements to older equipment and treatment
protocols have resulted in Neurosymmetries, a treatment device that
can be used in treatment once or twice a week. In treatment
the EEG signals are recorded through surface electrodes held on the
scalp with a conductive paste by a standard EEG system that records
brainwave activity while the gentle stimulation of Neurosymmetries
is taking place. Neurosymmetries uses an invisible and
imperceptible pulsed electromagnetic signal and direct current
radiating to the scalp. Signal power is approximately the same
as normal brainwave activity (a trillionth of a watt). During
treatment the exposure length of stimulation is modified according
to the specific needs and responses of the individual patient.
The initial evaluation includes a history, a brain map, and a
treatment. The maps are painless measures of brain function
that reveal EEG patterns. Imbalances in energy distribution
are indicators of types of dysfunction and predictors of treatment
response. In a healthy person, brain waves are relatively
smooth. When healthy adults are awake the slower brain waves
(1-4 cycles/second) should have relatively low power and be equal in
energy and smoothness. EEG activity in FMS patients is
excessive in the front of the head, indicating an imbalance
consistent with energy, mood, restless mind, sleep, cognitive, loss
of libido, dysautonomia, and pain problems. This inefficient
energy state reflects the very real life problems of people with
FMS. When the brain functions efficiently, effects of body
therapies provide lasting results.
As the electroencephalogram (EEG) amplitudes begin to lower and to
smooth, FMS patients experience a reduction of symptoms. Dr.
Esty has found that patients with FMS are able to delete or reduce
medications substantially. As FMS "fibrofog" lifts, some
patients become aware of sharper, localized myofascial TrP pain.
These TrPs are then treated with appropriate bodywork, and localized
symptoms are relieved. The majority of people without chronic
infection who complete EEG stimulation treatment have achieved
virtual remission of FMS symptoms. The researchers found that
some FMS patients concentrate with their eyes closed because this
cuts down on sensory stimuli. This may be useful for us to
remember in times of fibrofog. A study using one form of EEG
stimulation, SyNAPs, is in progress in Flint, MI, with patients who
have both FMS and myofascial pain.
EEG stimulation treatment is effective for traumatic brain injuries.
Gentle stimulation "tickles" the brain and is thought to activate
symptomatic change by enhancing neural plasticity, the capacity of
the brain to change. Mechanisms that may be activated by this
stimulation include increased blood flow, changes in glucose
metabolism, stimulation of neuron healing, and a change in cell
inhibitory/excitatory potentials. For information contact:
Lee Esty, Ph.D., LCSW-C,
Brain Wellness and Biofeedback Center of Washington, LLC
7910 Woodmont Ave. #305
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