The following is an extract from:
Fibromyalgia and the MindBodySpirit Connection
by William B. Salt II, MD and Edwin H. Season, MD

People with Symptoms Become Patients with Functional Syndromes

Recognition of these "functional symptoms" leads to diagnosis with what doctors call "functional syndromes," or collections of symptoms that cannot be explained by medical science. People with functional symptoms who go to see a doctor become patients with functional syndromes. The main symptom and the type of doctor or specialist that a person sees usually determine the syndrome diagnosis that he or she first receives. As an example, the rheumatologist diagnoses widespread musculoskeletal pain as fibromyalgia; the gastroenterologist diagnoses abdominal pain associated with bowel changes as irritable bowel syndrome; the dentist diagnoses jaw pain as temporomandibular joint dysfunction; the infectious disease expert may diagnose chronic fatigue and flu-like symptoms as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS); the urologist diagnoses difficulties with urination as irritable bladder syndrome or interstitial cystitis; and the gynecologist diagnoses pelvic discomfort and pain as chronic pelvic pain syndrome.

Are These Symptoms and Syndromes "All in the Head"?

Unfortunately, terms like "functional," "psychosomatic," and "somatization" are often interpreted to suggest that the symptoms are "all in the head," phoney, or imagined. The truth is that the symptoms are very real. In fact, virtually everyone experiences one or more functional symptoms (or syndromes if diagnosed by a doctor) from time to time. However, some people have symptoms that are frequent, constant, and severe, which causes them to consult with doctors. The suffering is enormous; it is personal, social, and economic.

What is going on here? What is the common denominator? The answer is that the problem is not "all in the head" but is related to the connection between the brain (mind) and body.

The MindBodySpirit Connection

You will learn that mind and body are one. It no longer makes sense to classify problems as either stress/emotional related (mind) or physical (body). Furthermore, you will discover why it is essential that the mind-body connection include spirit; scientific evidence continues to confirm the mysterious power of spirit and how affirming beliefs—particularly belief in a higher power—can contribute significantly to health.

You will study the neurochemical basis of the mind-body-spirit connection. You will learn that there are three systems of communication.

We will propose a new language in this book for people with functional symptoms, patients with functional syndromes, and the doctors who diagnose them. The four new terms that we will introduce are the following:

  • MindBodySpirit Connection
  • MindBodySpirit Symptoms
  • MindBodySpirit Syndromes
  • MindBodySpirit Healing
You will appreciate that MindBodySpirit Healing is based upon the recognition and acceptance of the connection between mind, body, and spirit, the distinction between treatment and healing, the innate healing potential of the body, and the power of the partnership between the patient and doctor/health professional in restoring health.

You will understand fibromyalgia as a MindBodySpirit Syndrome, which is a collection of MindBodySpirit Symptoms. You will better appreciate the "cause" of fibromyalgia by understanding the biopsychosocialspiritual model, the MindBodySpirit Connection, and systems thinking.

Why a Book about Fibromyalgia?

There have been new developments in the diagnosis and treatment of fibromyalgia and other soft tissue rheumatic disorders. Furthermore, everyone (people with symptoms, patients with syndromes, and doctors who diagnose them) can become more aware of a person's ability to heal from MindBodySpirit Symptoms and MindBodySpirit Syndromes by understanding the MindBodySpirit Connection and leading a healthy lifestyle.

The impact of "managed care" means that your doctor will have less time to spend with you. In fact, most doctor visits are now limited to 12 minutes or less! This does not leave much time for diagnosis, education, and treatment. It may also be difficult and expensive for you to see a specialist because the managed care system expects that your primary care physician should be able to handle most problems.
The model of interaction between patient and physician is changing. YOU are given more responsibility in the management of your own care. You will need and must have accurate and reliable information in order to fulfill this personal responsibility and opportunity.

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