BR is asked what a 67-yr-old woman can do for intractable, excruciating pain and crippling from fibromyalgia, who is being weaned off narcotics because of another life-threatening syndrome, and who is leary of non-traditional approaches.. Dear BR,
My 67-year-old mother suffers from intractable pain and is literally crippled by fibromyalgia. She is currently being weaned off her narcotics because she has developed a life-threatening syndrome in which all her cells, inside & out are terribly inflammed (sorry--forgot the name). Her pain is excruciating but she is a firm believer in the medical model. I don''t know if I can convince her to try an alternative approach. Can you help? Thank you so much!

Dear Linda,
Absent the info about her inflammatory condition, I would suggest you start very slowly by introducing her to our guided imagery for Healthful Sleep - as something to help her relax and sleep better at night. Fibromyalgia patients have a hard time getting good, restful sleep, as I''m sure you well know, and this imagery has been shown to be a huge help to many people, and, believe it or not, for many it becomes a healthy substitute for Ambien, Restoril and even that old standby, Nardane. That''s all I would do for now. (And don''t offer it as a substitute or ‘alternative’. Just suggest she try it along with her medicines - you don''t want to present this as competition to her pharmaceuticals, which would scare her and turn her off. Besides, it''s not competition. It works very nicely alongside traditional, allopathic remedies or alone. The choice is hers.)

If she responds well to this imagery (and I''ll bet she does - it will also help her with pain relief, because of the way the imagery elevates seratonin levels in the bloodstream) she''ll get curious about other kinds of imagery, and then, perhaps you can introduce her to the FMS (Fibromyalgia) imagery or General Wellness imagery. But start with sleep. It''s the most important thing when it’s missing, and it''s the most likely to generate early success that will tweak her curiosity and enthusiasm to try more.

I would also look into finding her a very gentle, skillful massage therapist who understands about the pain generated by FMS, and also knows how to do energy work - either Reiki, Zero Balancing, or CranioSacral therapy or the like - very gentle, nourishing interventions that will also yield immediately felt benefits for her, including pain relief, relaxation and a little optimism about possibilities for healing in the future.

Because she needs to get oxygen into those inflamed, starving cells, I would also suggest at some point adding to her regimen Andy Weil''s Breathing CD, which requires a little more participation on her part, but will train her how to breathe in a more healthful way - very important for FMS.

And at some point in the future, when she''s better able to consider even more active participation, she should try Carol Dickman''s Bedtop Yoga or Seated Yoga videos - very gentle exercise that is important to her recovery.

Hope this helps. But don''t forget: start small, and start with interventions that will be inherently pleasant,, non-threatening and rewarding - the Sleep imagery and (very) gentle energy work and/or massage.

Good luck and do write every now and then to let us all know how she''s doing.