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For a review copy of the book or an interview with the author, please contact Dr. Rodger Murphree at 1-888-884-9577.
The Overflowing Bucket: How Stress
A radical new book by Dr. Rodger H. Murphree offers help and hope for sufferers of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Birmingham, AL (October 2004)Most of us live in a world of stress. Technology carries information to us relentlessly, at lightning speed. We work long hours to pay for a rising cost of living. We try desperately to provide our families with the attention they need. Something has to give, and it’s usually sleep. Meanwhile, we subsist on junk food, caffeine, alcohol, and prescription medications. Such a lifestyle isn’t good for anyone. But for an unlucky few, the toll is severe, indeed. Perhaps an illness, a trauma, or an emotional crisis pushes you to the breaking point. The result? A debilitating case of fibromyalgia (FMS) or chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
“FMS and CFS are barometers of the stress we face here in the 21st century,” says Dr. Rodger H. Murphree, author of Treating and Beating Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (Harrison and Hampton Publishing, 2003, ISBN: 0-9728938-0-6, $19.95). “Although these conditions have been around for hundreds of years, today’s faster pace of life seems to trigger them with greater frequency. I have a colleague who used this analogy: We’re all born with a bucket, whose size is genetically determined. And as you go through life, you’re constantly dumping toxins into your bucket. If you accumulate more toxins than your bucket is designed to handle, it will overflow. And that’s when you develop one or both of these syndromes. It’s easy to see why life today causes so many buckets to overflow.”
FMS and CFS are results of internal biochemical (hormonal, enzymatic, neuronal, and chemical) imbalances that manifest themselves as physical symptoms (pain, weakness, and mental impairment). They are syndromes (collections of signs and symptoms) rather than diseases (illnesses with very specific symptoms and reproducible laboratory findings). FMS and CFS are alike enough to be considered the same syndrome. Although they are not precisely identical conditions, 70 percent of patients diagnosed with FMS also meet all of the diagnostic criteria for CFS. (NOTE TO EDITOR: See tipsheet titled “Could You Have Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?”)
Dr. Murphree says some 2 percent of the population is reported to have FMS and/or CFS, although the figure should be much larger. This is primarily because so many individuals have some of the symptoms required to meet the current diagnosis criteria, but not all of them. But for someone so sick and tired that she can’t sweep the floor, or get out of bed, or even remember her children’s names, not being “sick enough” for official diagnosis is small consolation, indeed.
Who gets FMS and/or CFS? As Dr. Murphree explains in his book, most of his patients are either perfectionists or caregivers: Type A “doers” or Type B “givers.” The Type A patients work and work and work until they burn out. Type B patients give and give and givenurturing spouses, children, family, friendsuntil they break down. Most FMS/CFS sufferers are women, but anyone whose lifestyle includes very little downtime is at risk.
Once your bucket overflows and you develop FMS and/or CFS, you may face more challenges than just your illness, says Dr. Murphree. Your family and friends may hold the frustrating belief that your problems are “all in your head.” Even worse, your physician may agree. And if your physician does realize you have FMS or CFS, he or she will probably focus on controlling the symptom by prescribing various medications: muscle relaxers, tranquilizers, antidepressants, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines.
“Modern medicine likes to label a disease, assign it an insurance code, and list it in the Merck Manual,” explains Dr. Murphree. “So it’s not surprising that conventional practitioners have trouble with these syndromes. They end up masking unwanted symptoms with chemicals, and that may be justified in the short-term. But in the long-term, prescription drugs can lead to dependence and further complications. Worse, it doesn’t get at the root of the problem. FMS and CFS are caused by a body’s inability to maintain homeostatisa healthy balance. So the goal must be to get the body’s innate healing ability to return to normal.”
That’s precisely what Dr. Murphree, who runs a clinic in Birmingham, Alabama, aims for with his patients. A board-certified nutritional specialist and chiropractic physician, he uses an integrated approach that combines the best of traditional and alternative medicine. While he does recommend the judicious use of prescription medications to temporarily relieve symptoms, he focuses more on natural nutritional and physical therapies combined with spiritual wellness techniques. (NOTE TO EDITOR: See tipsheet titled “15 Ways to Treat and Beat FMS and CFS.”)
He discusses his unorthodox, highly effective approach in great detail in Treating and Beating Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, laying out a step-by-step program that is proven to help patients get well again. He refers to his program as “peeling the onion”: addressing the most significant symptom first (usually sleep dysfunction), then dealing with the condition’s other layers, one at a time. His book explains in concise, easy-to-understand terms:
• How FMS and CFS are diagnosed and the conditions that contribute to them
• Why you can’t sleep and how to safely and consistently solve this problem with natural supplements
• Why you’re in pain and how to reduce or eliminate chronic muscle aches
• What tests should be performed and how to interpret these tests
• Why you have “fibro fog” and how to correct it
• Which foods you should eat and which ones you should avoid
Dr. Murphree has received numerous heartfelt, unsolicited testimonials from patients who have followed his treatment programs and gotten their lives back. But just as important, his advice serves as a sobering warning to those among us who haven’t yet developed FMS or CFS but who may be headed down that road.
“Chronic stress, unmanaged, is the number one cause of health problems in the
U.S. today,” he writes. “We learn at an early age that successful people are very busy;
they’re doers. Our society has forgotten how to take it easy. But just remember that we’re not human doings, we’re human beings. No matter what your productivity level, take plenty of time to relax and just be.”
About the Author:
Dr. Rodger Murphree has been specializing in treating fibromyalgia and CFS for several years and has lectured throughout America. He’s written dozens of articles about fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome and has appeared on dozens of radio and television shows that featured his work and expertise in integrative medicine.
He is the founder and past clinic director for an integrated medical clinic, located in Birmingham, Alabama. This practice is staffed with two board-certified medical doctors who combine traditional and alternative medicine for complete treatment of chronic illness.
Dr. Murphree received his undergraduate degree from the University of Alabama, Birmingham (1985). While at U.A.B. he did research work for the university hospital’s neurosurgery department. He then went on to receive his Doctor of Chiropractic from Life College in Marietta, Georgia (1990). He is a board-certified Chiropractic Physician and has post graduate degrees from National College. He is also a board-certified nutritional specialist (CNS). In 2002, Dr. Murphree separated from his medical clinic so that he could open his own practice in Birmingham, Alabama. He maintains a busy practice focusing on fibromyalgia and CFS. He also consults with other physicians, lectures throughout the United States, and is working on his second book (Fall 2004).
Treating and Beating Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (Harrison and Hampton Publishing, 2003, ISBN: 0-9728938-0-6, $19.95) is available at bookstores nationwide and major online booksellers.
15 Ways to Treat and Beat FMS and CFS (Tip Sheet)
Excerpted from Treating and Beating Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (Harrison and Hampton Publishing, 2003, ISBN: 0-9728938-0-6, $19.95)
1. Get eight or more hours of deep, restorative sleep each night. If you don’t do anything else, start here! To regularly get a good night’s sleep, you may need to get your level of serotonin back to normal. This may require that you make dietary changes, take natural supplements, and begin a regular exercise program.
2. Restore optimal adrenal function. Use adrenal extracts and DHEA. “The majority of patients I see for chronic illnesses, including FMS and CFS, are suffering from adrenal exhaustion,” writes Dr. Murphree. “They have literally burned their stress-monitoring organ out. Amid years of poor sleep, unrelenting fatigue, chronic pain, excessive stimulants, poor diet, and relying on a plethora of prescription medications, the adrenal glands and the hormones they release have been used up.”
3. Find, avoid, and slowlywith a rotation dietreintroduce any allergic foods. The elimination diet is an important tool in restoring proper digestion and eliminating common and sometimes mysterious symptoms associated with FMS/CFS. Common culprits are dairy, corn, gluten and soy products, and nightshade foods (potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, tobacco, and eggplant).
4. Take a comprehensive multivitamin and mineral formula. “It’s no secret that our food supply is tainted with poisonous chemicals and laden with preservatives that rob the body of needed nutrients,” writes Dr. Murphree. “In addition, most of our foods are processed, and the nutrients have been leached out of them.” The bottom line? You must take supplements for optimum health.
5. Supplement with essential fatty acids (EFAs). It is estimated that at least 25 percent of the population suffers from some amount of EFA deficiency. Getting enough EFAs in your diet can be tricky, thanks to dramatic changes in agricultural, food processing, and food preparation methods, the emergence of trans-fats, the intake of alcohol and caffeine (which interfere with the processing of EFAs), etc.
6. Supplement with an amino acid formula. Amino acids are the building blocks of life. They help regulate our thinking, energy, moods, pain, mental functions, digestion, immunity, and more. They can be taken as a blend to shore up any underlying nutritional deficiencies.
7. Treat all opportunistic bugs, including viruses, parasites, bacterial, and yeast overgrowth. Candidiasis, or yeast overgrowth syndrome, may affect up to one-third of the Western world’s population, causing digestion problems, ear and sinus infections, and other ailments. Treatment may involve eliminating yeast-nourishing foods, taking enzyme supplements, replacing good bacteria, taking prescription antifungals, and taking natural remedies like garlic, goldenseal, and citrus seed extract.
8. Repair any abnormalities associated with the digestive system including intestinal permeability and malabsorption syndrome. Intestinal permeability or “leaky gut” occurs when the lining of the digestive tract becomes permeable and leaks undigested food products and toxins that may cause chronic inflammation. Imagine, say, chicken proteins racing around in the bloodstream and you get the idea.
9. Supplement with digestive enzymes and probiotics. Digestive enzymes can help treat malabsorption syndrome, intestinal permeability, and irritable bowel syndrome. Probiotics can help replace the “good bacteria” depleted by antibiotic use.
10. Build up your immune system. A healthy diet and plenty of rest can go a long way toward fixing a sluggish immune system. You also can take such supplements as Thymus extracts, zinc, selenium, echinacea, etc. A surprising way to build your immune system is cold water bath therapy, a process described in Dr. Murphree’s book.
11. Eat a healthy diet. A diet built around healthy principles goes a long way towards increasing your chances of being healthy. Avoid simple carbohydrates. Increase your intake of good fats. Eliminate alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, aspartame, and preservative-rich foods. A balanced diet devoid of blatant offenders lays the foundation for getting healthy and staying healthy. You can’t get well until you change your dietary habits.
12. Test for and treat low thyroid with prescription or natural glandular extracts. A study of thyroid function showed that 63 percent of FMS patients studied suffered from some degree of hypothyroidism. Some researchers claim that thyroid hormone deficiency might be a key factor in FMS, as patients have responded well to thyroid hormone treatment (as part of a comprehensive regimen).
13. Manage your daily stress. Take time for yourself. Learn to say no. Take vacations. Watch less TV and get more sleep. If your job is so intense and demanding that you never have a free moment, consider finding a new one, even if it pays lesseven if it means downsizing to a smaller house or a cheaper car. No amount of money or prestige is worth sacrificing your health.
14. Find a chiropractor, physical therapist, and/or massage therapist who is knowledgeable about FMS/CFS. Nearly half of all FMS patients who have tried chiropractic rate it as moderately to extremely helpful in treating their symptoms. Massage therapy, particularly the myofascial release techniquewhich works on the densely woven connective tissue that exists from head to toeseems to offer a good deal of relief for FMS/CFS patients.
15. Find your inner self. What is this illness trying to show you? Is God giving you an opportunity to reevaluate your life? Read books on how to tap into your inner self. Become skilled in sifting through mind chatter, keeping the positive thoughts and responses, and letting go of the negative disease-causing thoughts. “In order to heal yourself, you must begin to realize that true health comes from within,” writes Dr. Murphree. “Your state of health is largely determined by how well you recognize this concept and your willingness to listen and trust your inner self.”