Dr. Michael Lenz and Fibromyalgia Advocacy

An interview with Dr. Michael Lenz and Fibromyalgia Advocacy on March 11, 2024.


I grew up in West Bend, participating in multiple sports in high school and a couple of musicals. I was in the Target MD premed program at the University of Milwaukee, going on to attend the Medical College of Wisconsin. I decided to become a Med/Peds doctor due to the broad, in-depth training the dual certification provided. I went to Richmond, Virginia, to serve in urban medical settings for my residency. I married my wife, and we have three children. We moved back to Wisconsin, where I worked as a pediatrician and internal medicine doctor doing inpatient and outpatient care in Oconomowoc and Delafield. At age 33, I discovered through advanced testing that I was on a path to heart disease and diabetes. This led me to become certified in clinical lipidology to gain in-depth heart disease prevention and treatment.


At age 40, I discovered nutrition’s incredible benefits in health, leading me to lifestyle medicine. Along the way, I have been interested in chronic invisible illnesses like Fibromyalgia, leading me to write a book and start a podcast. I have been drawn back to the Medical College and Froedtert Network to bring all these to patients here.


Please tell me a little about your background.


The double training in pediatrics and internal medicine has made me a better pediatrician and internist than doing either alone. Some conditions typically don’t manifest until later in life, but the silent problems are underway decades prior. These include heart disease and diabetes. In addition, there are conditions that pediatricians manage well, but internists don’t have experience with but persist into adulthood, such as ADHD. I also care for all the conditions you would expect from a pediatrician and an internist, but my training goes beyond that. I practice lifestyle medicine and clinical lipidology by becoming a diplomat of the respective boards. I bring extensive training and experience in preventing heart disease through detection and treatment with appropriate advanced testing and medications. Lifestyle medicine involves nonmedical ways of treating, preventing, and reversing chronic illness. I also care for those struggling with chronic illnesses like Fibromyalgia, migraines, and irritable bowel syndrome. I aim to blend the best lifestyle medicine and medical management to help patients. In addition to long-term relationships in primary care, some of my most rewarding aspects of medicine are when I can partner with patients to reverse medical conditions like diabetes, heart disease, Fibromyalgia, and related problems.


Can you tell me more about your organization?


Conquering Your Fibromyalgia podcast supplements what was covered in the book. There have been over 150 episodes meant to inform, inspire, and equip those living with Fibromyalgia, as well as help their loved ones and the medical community improve the quality of life for those living with Fibromyalgia and other related invisible illnesses, like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, POTS, Migraines, IBS, Long Covid, Ehlers Danlos and Hypermobility Syndrome. For too long these have not been considered real conditions. This has left many in no man’s land in deep despair. There is so much that has been learned in the last 25 years that has not only helped us understand these illnesses better but offer evidence-based holistic treatments using the biopsychosocial spiritual environmental approach to caring for these individuals.


What is your passion and how did you get involved in Fibromyalgia awareness?


I have always had a deep compassion for those struggling with illnesses and have been drawn to medical mysteries. In 1992, when I started medical school, I learned that depression was common and essential to recognize and treat in those suffering. Similarly, chronic pain syndromes like Fibromyalgia have been mysterious. I have had great mentors, including one during my premedical training, who told me three key points I never forgot. 1. I will learn a lot from my patients. 2. Every seven years, half of what you learn will change. 3. It takes 17 years for new medical evidence to be routinely implemented in the medical community.

I chose a nonsurgical specialty with an interest in solving medical mysteries. Choosing to become a pediatrician and internist, colloquially known as Med-Peds, allowed me to have an in-depth understanding of all the organ systems. This is essential as complex patients are often sent to specialists with tunnel vision with blinders limiting their view to the organ system of their specialty. These are complex conditions with multidirectional impacts of all the organ systems.

As a pediatrician and an internist, the lifespan perspective is important to caring for those living with chronic health conditions like Fibromyalgia.


I feel early recognition of health conditions has been proven in many areas to prevent the development of deadly conditions like coronary artery disease through a comprehensive cardiovascular risk assessment. Similarly, working with multigenerational families with invisible illnesses has allowed me to recognize the importance of early identification and interventions so that unnecessary suffering doesn’t have to be repeated.


What type of goals do individuals with Fibromyalgia have when working with you?


Reverse their Fibromyalgia and reduce the pain, fatigue, and cognitive challenges, also known as brain fog. Most patients have been to many doctors and clinicians for years before they finally get diagnosed. When they do, they aren’t given evidence-based holistic education and understanding, let alone a comprehensive treatment plan. Most are hopeless; until they improve, they would never have believed it was possible.


What type of training and how long are the programs?


There is no specialty that is the go-to for fibromyalgia. Many are diagnosed by rheumatologists who then refer to the primary care doctor who has had minimal training. My training has been through personal investigation, and I am doing my best to keep up with the latest medical evidence.


What effect can it have on an individual with Fibromyalgia?


When you take a patient from severe debilitating suffering, where the area under the calculus curve has been long and deep, it leaves one with deep gratitude and grief. Those who have reversed their Fibromyalgia are so thankful they are better but also grieve the loss of years and decades of suffering and significant life disruption.


For me, as their physician, it is the most rewarding group of patients to care for. They are like Biblical lepers as stigmatized by the medical community. To give compassionate care has become like a special calling.


What would you like to see as a future goal for your programs?


The majority of those living with these illnesses have the information, resources, and to physicians and other clinicians who provide an evidence-based holistic approach.


What events do you participate in?


I have spoken at an international fibromyalgia conference. I reach people in over 110 countries through podcasts, websites, and the book.


How does this also assist the caregivers?


It gives them the needed education to give an informed approach to loving and supporting them.


How can someone get in touch? What is your website?


How can others also become advocates for awareness?


Share the website and podcast with others.


In your opinion what is the key to effective advocacy?


There are any approaches from medical education, which I am doing with medical students, residents, and other health care professionals. Also, increasing research funding is important.


How can we better fundraise to support a cure for Fibromyalgia?


A cure for fibromyalgia is in a sense here, but this does not use the traditional biomedical approach, but the bio-psycho-spiritual-spiritual-environmental approach.


What other activities do you undertake to help improve and support your daily living Eg exercise and alternative remedies?


optimal sleep, movement, stress management, education, pacing, identification of important comorbid medical conditions and treating them are some of them. Supplements are not evidence based, are often expensive and not recommended.


Why should people who don’t have Fibromyalgia care about this?


To love your fellow human creature among many others including economic, social, and spiritual reasons.


If you had one song that would tell us more about you or represent your life, which song would it be?


Be Thou My Vision


If you had one final statement or quote you could leave for the Fibromyalgia community, what would it be?


Don’t give up. There is hope.