How to Treat Fibromyalgia Naturally
This page takes a look at how to treat fibromyalgia naturally. Herbs, homeopathy, aromatherapy, and nutritional
supplements can all be used as fibromyalgia natural cures.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition characterized by:
The pain has no obvious cause and is usually described as aching, throbbing, burning, or stiff.
For reasons unknown, women are much more likely to develop fibromyalgia than men, and the risk of developing this disorder increases with age.
Fibromyalgia itself can be debilitating for some people. In addition, it can be complicated by any of several other problems. For example, some people with fibromyalgia
also have chronic fatigue syndrome, temporomandibular joint disorder, irritable bowel syndrome, and bladder problems.
For other people, fibromyalgia comes and goes and the symptoms can generally be managed with professional and self care.
- widespread pain in your muscles, ligaments and tendons;
- fatigue; and
- multiple tender points on the body (places where slight pressure causes pain).
Signs of Fibromyalgia
Signs and symptoms of fibromyalgia can vary, depending on numerous factors such as the weather, stress, physical activity or even the time of day.
For a diagnosis of fibromyalgia to be made, however, two factors must be present:
Tender points exist in pairs (one on the right side and one on the left) and the locations include:
- Unexplained, widespread pain on both sides of the body that lasts at least three months.
- Pain in at least eleven of the 18 tender points when pressure is applied.
Besides pain, many other signs and symptoms may exist, such as:
- Back of the head
- Between shoulder blades
- Top of shoulders
- Front sides of neck
- Upper chest
- Outer elbows
- Upper hips
- Sides of hips
- Inside of the knees
- Fatigue or sleeping disturbances
- Paresthesia (tingling)
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Skin sensitivity
- Heightened sensitivity to noises, bright lights, smells
- Memory lapses or difficulty concentrating
- Restless legs syndrome
Causes of Fibromyalgia
The exact cause of fibromyalgia is not known. However, it is generally believed that this disorder is caused by a combination of various factors, including:
- Changes in Brain Chemicals: It has been found that some people with fibromyalgia have abnormal levels of brain chemicals called
neurotransmitters. Specifically, they have low levels of serotonin and high levels of substance P, which transmits the "pain message" to the brain.
- Sleep Disorders: Disordered sleep is very common in people with fibromyalgia. In particular, they cannot get deep undisturbed sleep, or they
have other problems such as restless legs syndrome or sleep apnea.
- Hormonal Imbalance: Hormonal imbalance, such as low thyroid function, imbalances in estrogen/progesterone, as well as in the stress
hormones DHEA and cortisol, may also play a role in causing fibromyalgia in some people.
- Genetics: Since this disorder seems to run in families, it is believed that genetics is also a contributing factor.
- Rheumatic disease: People with a rheumatic disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, are more likely to develop fibromyalgia.
- Chronic Infections: Chronic infections that include viruses appear to trigger or aggravate fibromyalgia.
How to Treat Fibromyalgia Naturally
Conventional treatment for fibromyalgia include the use of pain killers and NSAIDs to ease the pain and stiffness caused by fibromyalgia. Muscle relaxants
may be given to help treat muscle spasms. In addition, physical therapy using specific exercises and stretching techniques will be used to help restore muscle
balance and reduce pain.
Natural remedies such as herbal and homeopathic remedies, aromatherapy, and nutritional supplements can be used to help alleviate the pain and stiffness caused by
fibromyalgia. In addition, acupuncture and chiropractic treatments also have good track records of relieving fibromyalgia pain.
How to Treat Fibromyalgia Using Nutritional Supplements
Nutritional supplements can be used to address certain nutritional deficiencies which have been linked to fibromyalgia. They include:
- Multivitamin: A daily dose of a high-potency multivitamin that contains the antioxidant vitamins A, C, D, E, the B-vitamins, and trace
minerals, such as magnesium, calcium, zinc, and selenium is recommended.
- Magnesium: Magnesium is important for cellular energy production; it relaxes the nerves and the muscles. A magnesium deficiency has been
linked to fibromyalgia. Recommended dosage is 200 mg two to three times daily, taken together with malic acid (1000 to 1200 mg two times daily).
- 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP): 5-HTP is an amino acid that is a precursor used by the brain to produce serotonin. Low levels of serotoin can
result in a number of disorders, one of which is fibromyalgia. Recommended dosage of 5-HTP is 50 to 100 mg three times a day.
- Methyl Sulfonyl Methane (MSM): MSM supports healthy connective tissues like tendons, ligaments, and muscle. In particular, it can relieve
pain and inflammation by normalizing pressure inside cells, making the cells more flexible and permeable. It also can remove toxins from the cells. You can start
taking about 1000 mg of MSM two to three times a day and increase the dosage until pain relief is achieved. Reduce the dosage if diarrhea occurs.
- S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe): SAMe is a naturally occurring nutrient that improves the balance of serotonin, helps with cartilage
formation as well as detoxification. Recommended dosage is about 400 mg twice a day.
- Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10): CoQ10 is an antioxidant; it also provides immune and muscular support. Recommended dosage is 100 to 200 mg a day.
- Acetyl-L-carnitine: 500 to 1000 mg a day of this supplement can give extra muscular support.
- Grape Seed Extract (GSE): GSE improves circulation and has anti-inflammatory properties. Recommended dosage is 100 mg twice daily.
- Probiotics: A probiotic is important for immunity and digestive function. Take a probiotic supplement that contains at least
4 billion active organisms such as Lactobacillus acidophilus daily.
How to Treat Fibromyalgia Naturally Using Herbs
Herbal remedies can be used to reduce the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Effective herbs include:
- Cayenne: Capsaicin, the chemical component of cayenne, is anti-inflammatory and is very effective in alleviating pain. Get a cream
that contains .025% capsaicin and use it topically on affected areas one to three times daily.
- Arnica: Arnica also has pain-relieving properties. Arnica oil or gel can be used topically to relieve muscle pain and tenderness.
- Green tea: Green tea has antioxidant and immune-strengthening effects. Get a supplement that contains the standardized extract and
take 250 to 500 mg daily. Alternatively, drink a few cups of green tea every day.
- Bromelain: Bromelain is a group of protein-digesting enzymes found in pineapples. It is anti-inflammatory and is effective for treating the
pain and inflammation associated with fibromyalgia. Recommended dosage is 40 mg three times daily.
How to Treat Fibromyalgia Naturally Using Homeopathy
Homeopathic remedies are effective in reducing the pain and stiffness that many fibromyalgia sufferers have. Choose a remedy that closely matches the symptoms and
follow the dosage instructions on the label. It is also advisable to consult with a holistic practitioner to ensure that the most appropriate remedy is chosen.
Common homeopathic remedies for fibromyalgia are:
- Arnica: Arnica is the first choice when there is pain, especially pain that feels deep and bruised, and the person feels
tender all over and does not want to be touched. Symptoms are worse after exertion.
- Bryonia: This remedy is indicated when the slightest movement aggravates pain. Muscles feel better with cool applications and pressure and feel
worse with warmth. The person is usually very thirsty.
- Calcarea carbonica: This remedy is for people who tend to move slowly, who get muscle soreness from exertion and cold damp weather.
They are always chilly and feel fatigued. They feel better when lying down. There are also often symptoms of anxiety and a feeling of being overwhelmed.
- Nux vomica: This remedy is for tight muscles that spasm. The symptoms tend to get worse in cold weather and better with warm
applications. People who need this remedy often have digestive problems such as heartburn or stomachache. They also feel chilly, irritable, and fatigued.
- Rhus toxicodendron: This remedy is for pain and stiffness in the joints. The pain and stiffness tends to feel worse early in the morning,
after resting and during cold damp weather. Symptoms ease with continued movement and warm applications.
How to Treat Fibromyalgia Naturally Using Aromatherapy
Essential oils that have anti-inflammatory properties, or can relieve pain by stimulating circulation are good for fibromyalgia.
Oils that are anti-inflammatory include:
Oils that promote blood circulation include:
Use any of the above oils in a warm bath. Alternatively, add about 25 drops of any of the above oils to 2 quarts of hot water. Soak some strips of cloth in the
mixture. Allow them to cool down so they are comfortably warm and wrap them around painful areas.
- Black pepper
How to Treat Fibromyalgia Naturally - Diet
Finally, if you are suffering from fibromyalgia, pay attention to the food you eat. Base your diet on natural, whole, and unprocessed foods. Get your protein from
fish, chicken, soy products, beans and nuts. Eat antioxidant foods, such as fruits (e.g. blueberries, cherries, and tomatoes), and vegetables (e.g. broccoli, spinach,
and bell pepper). Drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of clean water every day to flush out toxins.
Foods to avoid include:
- Processed foods, especially those that are rich in sugar, salt, and fat.
- Potential food allergens, such as dairy products, preservatives, and food additives.
- Foods high in saturated fats, such as fried and junk foods, high-fat dairy products.
- Alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine.
Balch and Stengler, Prescription for Natural Cures, (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2004).
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