Chronic muscle pain that is diffuse or moves throughout the body is the primary symptom of fibromyalgia. Newswise — This syndrome is often accompanied by fatigue, bowel disturbances, and urinary difficulty. Fibromyalgia can affect your daily activity, your sleep, and even your thinking when you’re worn out and experiencing “brain fog.” That’s a term used by Henri Roca, MD, Medical Director at Greenwich Hospital’s Center for Integrative Medicine in Cos Cob, Connecticut. Some people live with a low level of pain and think of it as a part of getting older. Although an exact cause for fibromyalgia has not been identified, Dr. Roca, who is board certified by the American Academy of Family Practice and the American Board of Holistic and Integrative Medicine, points to hormone imbalance, nutritional deficiencies, and gastrointestinal dysfunction as potential triggers. “There’s not a singular reason why people get fibromyalgia,” explains Dr. Roca. “Nothing in the body is independent from anything else. We work to find the balance.” Conventional treatment options include medications used for general pain and medications that change the way the brain receives and processes pain stimuli. People who don’t respond to these medications, and people who don’t want the side effects of these medications look at natural ways to relieve their symptoms. A holistic approach to fibromyalgia looks at hormones, stress, and inflammation levels as well as nutrient deficiencies in the diet. Inflammation can come from many sources including low-level bacterial or viral infection or food sensitivity. “Stress may not cause fibromyalgia, but it can make it worse. If you have inflammation or nutrient depletion, stress will intensify it,” explains Roca, who also uses acupuncture and mind/body techniques such as biofeedback and hypnosis to help a person recognize the impact of thoughts on the physical body. “You can learn to separate yourself from the pain rather than perceive pain as part of who you are.” The single most important thing you can do to alleviate the pain of fibromyalgia is to keep moving, just a little bit at a time, according to Roca. Stretching in bed while lying down is a good place to start. Yoga and Tai Chi are effective to relieve painful symptoms by keeping muscles strong and supple. Moving in warm water is soothing and gentle because the buoyancy of the water supports the body. Fibromyalgia most often affects women in their 30s to 50s. However, men get it too and more young people seem to be feeling symptoms as well. Dr. Roca believes there may be a link between environmental toxin exposure and incidence of fibromyalgia. Practitioners from Greenwich Hospital’s Center for Integrative Medicine present: Integrative and Holistic Approaches For Fibromyalgia A FREE event Tuesday, September 28, 2010 7 - 8:30 pm Greenwich Hospital’s Noble Conference Center Speakers: Integrative Physician Henri Roca, MD Chiropractor Amy O’Donnell, DC Licensed Acupuncturist Kimberlie Wilson, LAc Licensed Massage Therapist Lou Rigueur, LMT For information, call 203-863-3630. About Greenwich Hospital Greenwich Hospital is a 174-bed community hospital, serving lower Fairfield County Connecticut and Westchester County New York. It is a major academic affiliate of Yale University School of Medicine and a member of the Yale New Haven Health System. Since opening in 1903, Greenwich Hospital has evolved into a progressive medical center and teaching institution representing all medical specialties and offering a wide range of medical, surgical, diagnostic and wellness programs.