Watching my daughter painfully crawl up the stairs to reach her bedroom due to crippling fibromyalgia syndrome left me feeling hopeless and powerless as a parent and a doctor. Seeing this lovely young woman’s life ruined by this confounding disorder drove me back into academia to seek real answers to the problem of chronic pain. Completing a three-year diplomate program in neurology at Northwestern Health Science University, I went on to become a board-certified neurologist. Building upon my years of clinical experience, this process of intense study and research eventually revealed to me the underlying causes of chronic pain and its effective treatment.
With the courage of a true warrior, my daughter applied the knowledge I had gained to fight back and conquer her fibromyalgia. Central to my daughter’s recovery, and now for thousands of others, was the FENIX Rehab System. The FENIX, named after my daughter, is a self-care device I invented that allows individuals to remove their pain-causing myofascial trigger points. Her personal ordeal also inspired me to travel the country lecturing to doctors on the cause and treatment of chronic pain. My study, research and teaching culminated in my book Why We Hurt.
Fundamental in the cause of chronic pain is the misunderstood myofascial trigger point – hyperirritable tissues in muscles that cause local tenderness and referral pain to other areas of your body, e.g., trigger points in the neck can create headaches. These trigger points cause your muscles to shorten and weaken. These muscle knots cause pain, stiffness and weakness creating alterations in patterns of movement causing stress to muscles – leading to more myofascial trigger points and pain creating a vicious cycle – until you remove your active and hidden myofascial trigger points.
Central to removing these pain-causing trigger points is addressing the metabolic problems of systemic inflammation and oxidative stress that set you up for the formation of these troubling muscle knots. Paramount to this process is eating a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, removing toxins from your personal environment and daily exercise. Specific nutritional and herbal products also can be extremely beneficial in helping you overcome the metabolic challenges of systemic inflammation and oxidative stress, such as ginger root, turmeric root and magnesium malate.
Research also has shown that properly applied sustained therapeutic pressure on the trigger point changes the tissue releasing these pain-causing muscle knots. This process is known by many names: trigger point therapy, myofascial release, pressure therapy or acupressure. By creating these physical changes in these muscle knots by utilizing sustained pressure, you substantially increase blood flow into the muscle tissue bringing oxygen and nutrients to the muscle cells. The muscle tissue can then produce more energy, allowing it to relax. You can now see why just rubbing the surface with a massage lotion or a vibrating massager is not adequate to remove these deep pain-causing trigger points.
As effective as trigger point therapy is, to truly be effective it takes repeated treatments over time with stretching of the myofascial tissue after each treatment. For real and lasting relief, it takes numerous treatment sessions for a therapist to release all the active and hidden trigger points involved in a chronic back pain, neck pain, and especially in fibromyalgia. It can become extremely expensive and burdensome to have someone properly perform this over many treatment sessions The answer is to turn this amazingly effective therapy into a home-care program with proper diet, specific nutritional support and an effective self-care trigger point tool.
However to really heal our self, the primary question to ask is not "How do I get out of my pain?" The question to ask is, "What good will I bring to life when I heal my pain?"
When we begin by imagining all the goodness we can bring to others, to the earth itself, with our newfound freedom from pain and suffering, it is then that we begin to truly heal. As a board-certified neurologist who specializes in chronic myofascial pain disorders, I can show you the paths to healing your pain. In my comprehensive book, Why We Hurt, I reveal to you practical and effective ways to accomplish this.