A Different Kind of Cocktail
Could a simple injection cure FMS? As it turns out, one nutrient concoction just might. The Myers Cocktail (named for John Myers, the physician who invented it), an intravenous micronutrient treatment containing magnesium, calcium, vitamin B complex, and vitamin C, has been used to treat fibromyalgia for 20 years. Like ribose, these safe nutrients promote cellular energy production and pump up ATP production, according to a study published in Alternative Medicine Review. “We have good clinical success with this treatment to reduce pain and promote detoxification,” says Virginia Hadley, RN, nutritionist at the Tahoma Clinic in Kent, Washington.
Yale researchers recently tested the Myers Cocktail on a group of 40 patients ages 18 to 75 in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial. They gave one injection a week for eight weeks through a large syringe containing 37 ml (about 7 teaspoons) of nutrient solution. The mixture was injected slowly over about 20 minutes. The yet-to-be-published study measured tender points, depression levels, and quality of life. “This three-month pilot study showed significant improvements in all pertinent outcome measures with the Myers Cocktail and none with the placebo solution,” reports David L. Katz, MD, associate clinical professor of epidemiology and public health at Yale University. The study participants still had less pain a month after the last injection. “Our results strongly suggest that Myers Cocktail may well offer therapeutic benefit in fibromyalgia. In the interim, we will continue to offer it to our patients,” says Katz.
Take a Little Needling
Many people with FMS get hooked on acupuncture, and for good reason. Numerous studies show the positive benefits of acupuncture for pain relief. One landmark study appeared in the June 2006 Mayo Clinic Proceedings. This randomized, controlled trial, led by David P. Martin, MD, an anesthesiologist from the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota, reports on 50 FMS patients, half of whom received acupuncture; the remaining 25 received sham acupuncture, which involved needles inserted at non-therapeutic points. After just six treatments spread over three weeks, the acupuncture patients reported significant improvement in symptoms, particularly fatigue and anxiety, lasting up to seven months. One month after treatment, those treated with “true” acupuncture had less fatigue and fewer anxiety symptoms than the sham acupuncture group.
Exercise More, Stress Less
A regular, gentle, exercise routine stands out as indispensable for FMS—to increase flexibility and reduce pain and stress. The severe pain that usually accompanies FMS makes it difficult for many sufferers to begin and maintain an exercise program. That’s why programs with gentle stretches and movements, such as therapeutic yoga, Pilates, and t’ai chi, are often a good fit for FMS patients.
Shomon finds tremendous relief with Pilates. “My body was often a knot of aches and pains—especially in my neck, shoulders, and lower back,” she says. “But I started Pilates for two one-hour sessions a week. It was life-changing. Gradually, I gained strength, my constant body pain faded, and I was able stop my daily doses of ibuprofen.” Shomon has been doing Pilates for about four years and says she rarely has body pain.
Yoga also eases muscle pain and stiffness. In a six-week randomized pilot study, researchers looked at a yoga program modified for FMS chronic back pain. The program improved balance and flexibility and diminished disability and depression. Continue reading on next page…