The Immune System

Fibromyalgia and the Immune System

Our immune system is our natural defense against disease. When it is in a balanced and healthy state, it is a wonder to behold. However, many factors can contribute to a condition in which our immune system is no longer able to protect us. This section of the fibromyalgia program is to help you understand how your immune system can reach a state where it is functioning at its maximum capability, and how adding still more stress to an already maximally functioning immune system can result in immune system dysfunction.

The cascade of events that follow produce a state of chronic illness known as fibromyalgia. Ken Bock, M.D., in his excellent book "The Road To Immunity", has compared the immune system to a kettle. It can absorb and respond to multiple threats to our well being, but finally even the most vital immune system can reach its maximal functional level. Any added insult simply can't be adequately addressed so the kettle overflows, and the onset of fibromyalgia symptoms begin.

In utilizing Dr. Bock's kettle analogy, the added insults which cause the overflow are often events which fibromyalgia sufferers relate when they look back at their lives prior to the appearance of their symptoms. There are three events that have often occurred: (1) an illness that perhaps didn't seem too serious at the time, but after which the individual never seemed to fully recover. (2) An injury which may or may not have required medical treatment -- a whiplash, a fall or burn, or some other type of physical injury. (3) An emotional trauma such as the death of a loved one - a divorce, bankruptcy, or some other type of severe emotional trauma. Even if not all three events have occurred, often one or two can produce enough stress on an already maximally stressed immune system as to precipitate the onset of immune system dysfunction and fibromyalgia.
It is well established that (1) infection places an extra load on the immune system. It is also well documented that (2) physical and (3) emotional injury adversely affect the immune response as well.
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