Friday, April 29, 2011

9-1-1 FM Awareness Letter on Proposed Diagnostics in Template Form for Using

The following is my letter which will be going out through the month of May to various physicians, researchers and professors. I have provided it in template form so that you may use it in anyway you desire. Feel free to use it as is as long as you state that it is written by Celeste Cooper, or change it up to make it yours.

Don’t be the person standing waiting for help to arrive assuming someone else has already called

This is my 9-1-1 to you.

Diagnostic Criteria for Fibromyalgia

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen, (Personalize unless it is being sent to multiple recipients)

First Gear “The hook” – A statement that will engage the reader

You probably already know that fibromyalgia is a disorder of the central nervous system that is further sensitized by input from the peripheral nervous system. But did you know that currently the proposed diagnostic criteria for fibromyalgia does not include assessment of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, even though the study by Bazzichi L et al) shows Hashimoto’s patients may have a link to fibromyalgia? Did you know there is a higher incidence of restless leg syndrome in the fibromyalgia patient than the general public? Did you know that scientists believe what were once thought to be specific diagramed “tender points,” used to diagnose fibromyalgia, are now thought to be knotted up pieces of muscle fiber called trigger points? Or that these trigger points, which are easily felt by a trained examiner unless the muscle is too taut, or the trigger point is deep beneath other muscle or behind bone, can radiate pain to other parts of the body? While it is possible that more research is needed to include the presence of Hashimoto’s or restless leg syndrome as part of the diagnostics, it should be considered in assessing the FM patient, and the research on the association of myofascial trigger points (resulting from excessive release of acetylcholine across the neuro-muscular junction) as peripheral pain generators to FM is staggering. (See the citations in the copies of letters attached).

Did you know that Dr. Janet Travell is the pioneer in understanding myofascial trigger points AND the first female physician in the Whitehouse? Did you know she treated President Kennedy for his personal chronic pain issues?

Second Gear “Personalization”

Fibromyalgia is a biological disorder. We have been inappropriately labeled far too long. Many have been psychologically bruised by the medical community. Touch me. Feel the knots in my muscles, test me for thyroid autoimmune disease, and perform a sleep study on me that shows you I moved my legs 187 times in 4 hours and never reached slow wave progression sleep. See what you come up with and then try to tell me it is all in my head.

Third Gear “History” (What is your relationship with this piece. Are you outraged? Have you taken this issue up with someone else? Are you in agreement with something someone else has had to say? You are welcome to make reference to my letters stating it is the correspondence from Celeste Cooper)

I have communicated my concerns as a patient, author and advocate to Mr. Clark, Public Liaison, National Institute of Health, NIAMS division, editor of Arthritis Today, who published “The American College of Rheumatology preliminary diagnostic criteria for fibromyalgia and measurement of symptom severity” (see footnote) and the liaison for the American College of Rheumatology.

Fourth Gear “State your case”

While the authors of the preliminary proposed criteria for diagnosing fibromyalgia have done a good job defining the central and autonomic effects of FM, it is not complete without the assessment of the body-wide myofascial trigger points (MTrPs) fibromyalgia patients deal with. Restless leg syndrome and its counterpart periodic limb movement, found at greater rates in FM which may be a factor in sleep quality, may also be related to the dysfunction caused by peripheral MTrPs. And it is a patient’s right to have their metabolism restored in the face of thyroid disease and not overlooked as a symptom of fibromyalgia.

We need to avail all treatments including complimentary therapies. Pain and muscle dysfunction caused by myofascial trigger points should be treated with appropriate hands on therapy by those trained in the guidelines set forth by Dr. Janet Travell later joined by Dr. David Simons (first physician in outer space).

Full Speed Ahead “Provide for follow up”

Can we, the fibromyalgia community, and most likely someone you know personally, count on you to take a stand? Without your support, we can expect another decade of unresolved pain, fatigue and dysfunction. I don’t expect that assessing and addressing these additional issues will cure fibromyalgia, however we need a scientifically based protocol that is consistent among all those treating, researching, and educating this disabling disorder.

One cannot or should not ignore the science set before us. We need to move the science in the right direction until a cause and a cure is found. We need validation so that our government and others will help support the research necessary to help fibromyalgia patients get back to work, and lead productive lives. We need to be able to count on someone. If you are unable to facilitate, would you share information here with someone who is in that position, so that we maintain forward momentum.

Signature [Type or sign your name here.]

Celeste Cooper, author of
Integrative Therapies for Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Myofascial Pain: The Mind-Body Connection (co-authored with Jeff Miller, PhD)

You may contact me at ….
For more information visit,

Attachments: [Name any attachments that support your letter and its content.]

October 20, 2011 letter
Letter to Mr. Clark, Public Liaison, NIAMS (NIH)

Copy: [List anyone you feel would benefit from knowing you have sent out your letter]

Resources: (If you have made reference to a particular article or research be sure to list the full citation).

Bazzichi L, Rossi A, Zirafa C, Monzani F, Tognini S, Dardano A, Santini F, Tonacchera M, De Servi M, Giacomelli C, De Feo F, Doveri M, Massimetti G, Bombardieri S. “Thyroid autoimmunity may represent a predisposition for the development of fibromyalgia?” Rheumatology International, Nov 18, 2010.,

Viola-Saltzman M, et al "High prevalence of restless legs syndrome among patients with fibromyalgia: A controlled cross-sectional study" Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine ,2010; 6: 423-427.

Wolfe F, Clauw DJ, Fitzcharles MA, Goldenberg DL, Katz RS, Mease P, Russell AS, Russell IJ, Winfield JB, Yunus MB. The American College of Rheumatology preliminary diagnostic criteria for fibromyalgia and measurement of symptom severity. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2010 May;62(5):600-10.

Ge HY, Wang Y, Danneskiold-Sams√łe B, Graven-Nielsen T, Arendt-Nielsen L. The predetermined sites of examination for tender points in fibromyalgia syndrome are frequently associated with myofascial trigger points. J Pain. 2010 Jul;11(7):644-51. Epub 2009 Nov 14.

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