Dr. David Brady is a naturopathic physician and nutritionist who became famous on social media because of his new and unique method for alternative health, especially for fibromyalgia. His perspective of the disease concentrates more on the psychological aspects, rather than the physical. Brady believes that fibromyalgia is all about the patient's state of mind, rather than their physical pain.
On his website, there are claims that he had published his works in some leading medical journals. He has written articles on alternative health journals that are not listed on PubMed. He has also co-written a number of textbooks that focus on integrative health. He also has his own diagnostic laboratory.
An overview of the Brady Approach
The Brady Approach focuses on fibromyalgia as a psychosomatic disorder. He explains this idea further in his review papers that this condition is caused by too much anxiety and limbic systems that are overly activated. So, he categorizes it as a mental illness.
He is not the only one who thinks of fibromyalgia in this way. There has been a study about this condition that claimed that fibromyalgia is brought about by emotional, physical, or sexual abuse. However, Dr. Brady is not really convincing in his interpretation of fibromyalgia as a mental illness. He mentions that antidepressant medication works well for people with fibromyalgia, but for a short time only. Also, he did not mention that this kind of medication may work as a pain reliever rather than as an antidepressant.
Trauma in early life
One of the main points of Dr. Brady’s in his idea of fibromyalgia is early life trauma. He mentions that not all people with this condition has suffered trauma, but it is common for these patients. He cites a study done with 600 people over and over again. In this study, the participants were discovered to have a higher rate of abuse that is connected with the onset of fibromyalgia. The conclusive moment for Dr. Brady was when one of his fibromyalgia patients had experienced a vehicular accident that resulted in the death of her brother.
However, this evidence presented by Dr. Brady is not strong and clear enough.
Other illnesses that could have been caused by trauma in early life
Fibromyalgia is not the only disease that could have been caused by early life trauma. Some of these diseases are multiple sclerosis, hypertension, the risk for cardiovascular diseases and rheumatoid arthritis, stiffness in the arteries, and autoimmune diseases.
Although Dr. Brady has emphasized the effect of early life trauma in fibromyalgia, there is a possibility that child abuse has nothing to do with this disease.
A study was done about a migraine and its connection with sexual abuse. A migraine is a pain disorder that mostly affects women. This is similar to fibromyalgia. According to the study, 47 percent of the participants who had a migraine experience physical or sexual abuse in comparison to 36 percent of young women that did not have a migraine. Even though a migraine can be connected with traumatic childhood experiences, it is only to a small degree. It was concluded that the risk of having a migraine due to abuse is 40 percent.
The Absence of Risk Factors
Because Dr. Brady mainly focuses on psychological aspects, he did not notice the other forms of trauma that can make one more sensitive to pain. Some of these are experiencing premature birth and surgery or injury during childhood. It seems that any accident or trauma can increase the risk of fibromyalgia and other conditions related pain.
There isn't a problem with Dr. Brady connecting traumatic childhood experiences to fibromyalgia. The problem is he concentrated on this risk factor for fibromyalgia only. Therefore, it is too weak and simple.
Personality profile for fibromyalgia by Dr. Brady
Dr. Brady’s assessment of fibromyalgia through a patient’s personality is raw. It is impossible to assess a person based on personal observations and indications alone. So, this personality profiling is not convincing.
Personality is very broad, so it is not hard to find similar factors in other people. His personality profile for fibromyalgia is similar to the idea about migraines explained earlier. Therefore, there is no particular personality that is distinct from people who have the condition.
Fibromyalgia and the brain
In the Brady approach, it is believed that if people have fibromyalgia, they have damage in their brain. Sensitivity in the central nervous system identifies most sensations as sources of pain. Because of this, the nervous system might get overloaded in environments that are stimulating, such as malls, streets, and other public places.
As a result, a person might have more difficulty concentrating and experiencing anxiety and depression. Getting a good night’s sleep is more difficult as well.
Antidepressant or anxiety medications or other techniques can work to lessen stress. Dr. Brady believes that fibromyalgia patients have this instead of a chronic pain disorder.
Dr. Brady’s complete treatment for fibromyalgia
In Dr. Brady’s method, fixing the sensitivity in the central nervous system is the key to fibromyalgia.
He thinks that disorders related to mood and fibromyalgia are both caused by small inflammation in the brain, issues with serotonin and stress, abuse or trauma. Stress aggravates inflammation, which is the cause for the development of mood disorders. In the long run, these become more complex illnesses such as fibromyalgia.
To remove this inflammation, his approach to treating it is by having a healthy diet, lessening stress, reinforcing the nervous system so that it can recover, optimizing the digestive system, and taking a supplement.
Substance P and serotonin are elements that can affect pain sensitization and IBS or irritable bowel syndrome for patients with fibromyalgia. He suggests relaxing botanicals, supporting the adrenals, providing care, and giving supplements.
Other forms of treatment for fibromyalgia by Dr. Brady
A modified exercise, such as taking 10,000 steps a day, is one of Dr. Brady’s approaches to fibromyalgia. It may seem like a lot of steps, but most people can do it. So, it is not enough to cure the disease.
Stress Reduction Activities
Counseling, therapy, meditation, yoga, and desensitization techniques are gentle movement activities he recommends. He adds that mobile application that can measure heart rate can help patients to get into a calm state.
He thinks that medical procedures, such as EEG with direct biofeedback, brain mapping, and cognitive behavior therapy, can help train the brains of patients with fibromyalgia to be calm. Feeling relaxed and calm is the main goal of treatment for him.
Getting Enough Sleep
He advises that patients should not use anything with blue lights like iPads or laptops before bed, except if these gadgets have a blue light filter. They should not use these after 7 to 8 o’clock in the evening. In addition, they should wake up at 7 to 7:30 in the morning.
Dr. Brady basically believes that fibromyalgia is a misdiagnosed condition. Because of a lack of evidence to support his ideas, the Brady approach must be abandoned. Trauma in early life may be one factor for fibromyalgia, but it is not enough to say that it contributes more to this condition than in other illnesses. For personality, it definitely cannot indicate a certain disease.
There is nothing wrong with doing the treatment methods. Many factors contribute to pain and stress, so some of the methods of treatment and relaxation he suggested may work. However, these are not enough to treat fibromyalgia.