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Last updated January 1, 2014

Fibromyalgia & Chronic Myofascial Pain

A Survival Manual (Second Edition)

©2001 Melissa Kaplan

Fibromyalgia and Chronic Myofascial Pain: A Survival Manual (Second Edition)
Devin Starlanyl and Mary Ellen Copeland
New Harbinger Publications, Inc.
ISBN 1-57224-238-8 384 pages + index List: US $19.95

First off, for those of you who have been diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome but not fibromyalgia, don't stop reading! This book is for you, too.

This book could just as easily been titled: FM & CMP: Everything You Always Wanted To Know But Couldn't Find Or Remember Where You Previously Saw It. It covers so many aspects of symptoms, diagnosis, the systemic aspects of these diseases (immune function, sleep), treatments, lifestyle, and more, that you will delve into it time and again.

Over the course of the 28 chapters and appendices, readers - patients, family, and health care providers - will come to a deeper understanding of just how extensive these diseases are, how they affect the body and brain. There are also cogent descriptions of the various diagnostics and treatment modalities that many patients find beneficial.

The first several chapters discuss the basics of FM and CMP (formerly called myofascial pain syndrome, now recognized as a disease rather than a syndrome), including diagnostic criteria and discussion of the CMP trigger points (not to be confused with the FM tender points, also clarified in this book), and why having both is more pain and trouble than merely being the sum of both conditions.

Chapter 5 is devoted to the lymph system, its connection with the immune system, and how both can affect your health. Chapter 6 covers conditions which frequently occur with or develop before or after the onset of FM and/or CMP. Notable among them are arthritis, CFS, attention deficit disorder, esophageal reflux, irritable bowl syndrome, migraines, multiple chemical sensitivity, and many more that will be all too familiar to most of us.

Chapter 7, Initiating, Aggravating, and Perpetuating Factors, covers many of the things that may push a body over the edge into full-blown FM or CMP, or can complicate treatment and recovery.

The extensively illustrated Chapter 8, Signs and Symptoms, goes into many of the symptoms not typically covered in simple questionnaires or physician examinations and that may not be thought of as 'partnering' with FM or CMP. Signs and symptoms that resonated with me included: attracting mosquitoes, weird skin irritations, excessive scarring, fibrocystic breasts, "disturbed sweating mechanism" (my secretions are literally melting the plastic keys of my not inexpensive ergonomically designed computer keyboard!), easy bruising, pain when putting hands in cold water, high cholesterol, dizziness from some patterns or stripes, irritating fluorescent light noises, tinnitus, difficulty swallowing and chewing, unexplained toothaches, variable vision, words jumping on the page, the occasionally sore spot on top of my head, wildly fluctuating handwriting, weak grasp, muscle cramps/pain/spasms…to name a few.

Other chapters cover sleep, fatigue and pain; cognitive dysfunction; age and gender issues; dealing with life crises; and many aspects of healing and recovery (nutrition, treatments, complementary and alternative medicine, etc.).

Not only do the chapters themselves contain numerous literature references, the appendices include recommended reading for patients and for health care.

One of the many important things the authors stress is:

"Don't compare yourself with others. You don't know what their stressors are, nor what they deal with day by day. You may think you have it rough, and you may, but so do many of us. Those of us who have elaborate support systems built them, piece by piece. Each of us is different, and the comparison does not matter if it gets you down. Catch yourself when you start focusing on how bad your life is. You are victimizing yourself with that attitude, and adding another perpetuating factor to your list. At this point in time, there are more options and information available to people with FMS and CMP than ever before. Doctors are receiving proper training. Researchers are finding pieces of the puzzle. What matters most in your attitude is you, and what you have to work with, and what you need to do to change things for the better."

"…doing what you need to change things for the better" includes everything from finding a doctor who not only knows that FMS and CMP (and CFS, for that matter) are real diseases, but are keeping up with the research and using multiple modalities, tailored as much as possible for their individual patients.

Those who read the first edition of this book will find the second edition to be much more thoroughly documented, with lots of new information based on new research. The Survival Manual is to not only educate readers on what FMS and CMP is, but geared to help readers get to the point of "self-sustaining functioning."

As a sort of companion book to this book, Starlanyl's The Fibromyalgia Advocate (New Harbinger Publications, 1998, 377 pages, ISBN 1-57224-121-7) helps patients become health care advocates on their own behalf to get the services they need from the health care community.

These and Starlanyl's other books may be ordered through her website. When ordered through the following links, you will help support this website:

Fibromyalgia and Chronic Myofascial Pain: A Survival Manual
A1 Books, Amazon (CA UK,  US), Barnes & Noble,

The Fibromyalgia Advocate
A1 Books, Amazon (CA UKUS), Barnes & Noble,




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