Equine fibromyalgia syndrome (EFMS) is one of the big diagnostic challenges
Fibromyalgia is a long-term disorder characterized by widespread pain in the body, accompanied by general fatigue. A person having fibromyalgia tends to have pain in specific areas of the body (known as tender points) that are extremely sensitive and painful. Even the slightest pressure on the tender points can cause pain. As mentioned, these tender points can appear in many locations in the body, but common areas are cervical, lumbar, shoulders, arms buttocks and thighs.
When these unexplained pains go on for more than three months at a stretch, the condition is diagnosed as fibromyalgia. In addition, research shows that the condition of fibromyalgia causes an amplification or intensification of the pain sensations in the brain.
No clear mechanism explains the cause of fibromyalgia. The most common theory suggests that people who have fibromyalgia are in fact, suffering from some problem with the pain reception. Such people develop an increased sensitivity towards pain. Their body’s tendency to feel pain can be higher as compared to others.
According to the American College of Rheumatology, up to 6 million Americans suffer from fibromyalgia syndrome, yet there are no diagnostic tests to confirm its existence.
Symptoms in Horses
EFMS horses might exhibit autoimmune problems, micro-circulatory deficits, cranial nerve problems, endocrine imbalances. Generalized chronic fatigue or a combination of these conditions. An important fact is that an individual horse or human can have two or three symptoms or as many as 20.
While most aspects of human fibromyalgia syndrome and EFMS are identical, the equine athlete will demonstrate more extreme symptoms when an already compromised immune system is stressed during work. Interestingly, in both human and equine syndromes, a fungal component exists either as a sequela or as a cause of the disease.
Autoimmune problems run from immune-mediated arthritis to toxicity to immune-mediated neuritis.
Often, previously injured joints will be most significantly affected, although the horse may exhibit signs of overall body soreness. Any transient lameness that shifts from fore legs to hind legs or from side to side should be suspect.
Immune-mediated neuritis can manifest itself as stringhalt or shivers or both (analogous to human restless leg syndrome). Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can be a component of the autoimmune response, often accompanied by parotid salivary gland enlargement (swollen glands), an occasional mucous nasal discharge, a non-productive cough, or a combination of these symptoms. The owner may report seasonal respiratory allergies that come and go.
Deficits in micro-circulation can lead to a multitude of problems, such as muscle deconditioning, hoof problems and skin infections. The racehorse with advanced EFMS and compromised alveolar function might exhibit exercise-induced pulmonary haemorrhage. Those individuals already hypersensitive to molds and fungi are prime candidates for developing asthma and COPD. Smooth muscle deconditioning can cause irritable bowel syndrome, leaky bowel syndrome, and their obvious sequelae (colitis and colic).
The most common cardiac muscle deficiency in humans is mitral valve prolapse; horses will sometimes develop a loud diastolic murmur with or without left ventricular enlargement. Hoof problems to consider are white line disease, chronic abscesses, petechial redness in white hoof walls, cracked insensitive laminae, and extreme sensitivity to hard ground. Poor tissue oxygenation and outward signs of toxicity go hand in hand: abnormal fat deposits at the base of the tail, a potbellied appearance, a dull greasy hair coat, and chronic fungal skin infections.
Many symptoms involving the cranial nerves get evaluated out of context and, hence, are never effectively treated. Hypersensitivity to touch (for example, bridles, insects, grooming tools, shampoos, fly sprays) can result in chronic head shyness. Add to this a hypersensitivity to non-contact stimuli (sound, light), and the stage is set for creating a head-shaker.
Any suggestion of facial neuritis should be a significant red flag. Horses have the unique ability to use cribbing as a mechanism for endorphin release and the resulting myofascial pain relief.
Evidence of anterior pituitary involvement is abundant.
Examples are extremely high or low oestrogen, progesterone, or testosterone levels; excessive sweating; anhidrosis, adrenal exhaustion syndrome; chronic fatigue; and loss of equilibrium.
Stumbling, falling down, difficulty picking up or switching leads at the canter, tentative gaits over uneven or sloping ground, or difficulty standing still for the blacksmith are common complaints. The owner might notice the horse struggling to walk up or down the horse trailer ramp.
Brenda Bishop, V.M.D., Sport Horse Associates in Carthage, North Carolina believes she has identified a form of the disease in horses in her practice and put together a questionnaire.
Some of the questions Bishop asks horsemen are:
* For horses kept in a herd, has the pecking order changed?
* Has your horse gone from being a herd boss to the bottom of the pecking order?
* Is your horse displaying chronic irritability?
* Is your horse severely depressed or listless?
* Does your horse show extreme anxiety and tension?
* In everyday situations, is your horse more nervous than normal?
* Does your horse have mood swings, going from nervous and high-strung to sleepy and depressed, or vice versa?
* Has your horse shown newly acquired problems walking on and off your horse trailer or on other sloping surfaces?
* Does your horse have problems standing quietly for the farrier or standing on three legs for more than 30 seconds?
* Does your horse exhibit excessive tail swishing when at work?;
* Is your horse kicking incessantly for no apparent reason?
* Does your horse pin its ears, bare its teeth, and threaten to bite other horses and people for no apparent reason?
* Is your horse a head-shaker or a cribber?
* Does your horse have persistent rain rot or mud fever?
* Does your horse often have diarrhoea?
Bishop believes these symptoms are caused directly by deconditioning of the horse’s muscles by the fungal attack or are the horse’s psychological response to the illness. “To put it in plain English, I think they feel lousy,” she said. “If you have ever known a person with fibromyalgia, they are just miserable, not just unhappy. They feel terrible.”
Why Use Homeopathy for Fibromyalgia?
The traditional treatment for fibromyalgia involves the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), anti-seizure drugs, pain relievers as well as antidepressants. As evident, these methods are palliative (only treat the pain) and mask the symptoms instead of addressing the root of the problem. Long-term use of these can cause severe side-effects like intestinal bleeding, strokes, skin allergies, the formation of cysts, weight gain, blurred vision, and cognitive issues. Homeopathy medicines offer a natural therapy for fibromyalgia and help alleviate the symptoms and address the problem for long-term relief. They have no side effects and are made of natural substances that are safe for use.
About the Author
PRACTICING CLASSICAL HOMEOPATH AND DOCTOR OF MICROBIOLOGY
ALEXANDRA CARNEIRO DE MELO, PhD MSc, PhD (London), DIHom (Pract), FBIH, RSHom
Education Personal Accreditations:
• BSc – Food Engineering, 1989 – Porto University, Portugal (High Class Honors)
• MSc – Food Microbiology, 1991 – University of Reading in the UK
• PhD – Applied Microbiology, 1997 – King’s College, London
• DIHom(Pract) – Diploma in Homeopathic Medicine, Practitioner Level British Institute of Homeopathy
• FBIH – Fellowship for life, British Institute of Homeopathy
• RSHom – Member of The Society of Homeopaths
As a homeopath, my ultimate goal is to help you live to your fullest capacity, where the entire spiritual, mental, emotional, social and physical being is restored to the natural state it was created in. Please do get in touch if you are ready to begin your healing journey.