Natural Remedies to Relieve the Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is not classified as a disease and there is still no known cause. In the not so distant past, a patient who went to the doctor with the symptoms of fibromyalgia might have been told it was all in their heads. More recently doctors have come to understand that this is a real health condition and patients are suffering from fibromyalgia.
The Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
There are 10 million people in the United States that suffer from fibromyalgia and approximately 3-6% of the world’s population suffers from it. Women suffer more than men with about 75-90% of the cases being women. Men can also suffer from fibromyalgia, but the low percentage for men could be they do not go to the doctor for a diagnosis.
Fibromyalgia is sometimes described as arthritis related or arthritis of the muscles even though fibromyalgia is not caused by inflammation of the joints. The symptoms can start out as a dull pain or ache that starts in the muscles. In order for these pains to be considered fibromyalgia, the pain has to be widespread and not confined to one area.
According to the American College of Rheumatology, the criteria for fibromyalgia are widespread pain, below and above the waist on all four sides, for at least three months. Along with this widespread pain, there is more pain and tenderness at 11 of 18 tender spots on your body. The symptoms of fibromyalgia are:
- Pain. The dull aching pain and some also describe this pain as stabbing or shooting pain. This pain is often worse in the morning.
- Sleep problems. Researches have found that people with fibromyalgia have sleep problems that keeps them from getting restful sleep. While asleep, they are often interrupted from stage 4 sleep with burst of awake like brain functions.
- Fatigue, which is due to the lack of restful sleep and the continuing pain. Fatigue which is described as profound exhaustion. This is a different feeling of fatigue as you might have after a long day of work.
Along with the above symptoms, there are also the following symptoms associated with fibromyalgia.
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Stomach pain
- Hypersensitive to heat or cold
- Dry mouth, nose and eyes
- Chronic headaches
- Inability to concentrate
- Numbness in fingers and toes
- Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)
Natural Remedies to Relive the Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
There are several prescription medications that doctors do prescribe for fibromyalgia which work for some people and not others, and some of them have nasty side effects. Western doctors are sometimes wary of prescribing natural remedies over prescription medications, though doctors today are realizing that complimentary therapies along with prescriptions can also help relieve fibromyalgia. Below are some natural remedies and or complimentary therapies you can try.
Changing Your Diet
Reliable studies have shown that what we eat and drink can cause us to feel bad and unhealthy. We are all different and certain foods can affect people differently.
There are diets that can detoxify your body and make you feel much better. One of the best ways to cleanse your body is a strict vegetarian or vegan diet. A diet like this will have you eat nothing but whole and natural foods. This will eliminate all of the chemicals in your diet. New studies are finding that certain chemicals in fast food and processed foods can cause certain health problems and cause health problems. A strict vegetarian diet will have you eliminate processed foods, caffeine, sugar, white flour products and meat. All of these foods have been shown to aggravate fibromyalgia. One of the best books to learn about a cleansing vegetarian diet is “12-Days to Dynamic Health” by Dr. John McDougall.
Aspartame and MSG
Sugar substitutes that contain aspartame like Nutra-Sweet and Equal Classic can aggravate the symptoms of fibromyalgia as can MSG. Some report an amazing reversal of their pain and symptoms when they eliminated all foods containing aspartame and MSG from their diets. MSG and aspartame are in so many processed foods, you really have to read the ingredients. And MSG can show up under different names on a list of ingredients. To learn about these chemicals, please read How the Excitotoxins Glutamate and Aspartame Affect Our Health.
Nightshades and Fibromyalgia
Research is showing that nightshade vegetables can also aggravate arthritis and fibromyalgia. The nightshade family of common vegetables includes tomatoes, potatoes and peppers. The list of nightshades does not include sweet peppers or black pepper (peppercorn). Many who suffer from fibromyalgia report that eliminating all nightshades from their diet felt better and of those on medication are able to reduce or stop the medicines. For more about nightshades, please read Are Nightshade Vegetables Bad For Your Health.
Exercise and Fibromyalgia
Low impact exercise and stretching is recommended for everyone who has fibromyalgia. Starting out slow, over time, exercise can reduce the pain from fibromyalgia. Walking is recommended as a good exercise. Tai Chi is also a great exercise for everyone including those with fibromyalgia. Tai chi is a slow exercise which includes stretching, exercise and proper breathing. Tai chi has been called meditation in motion. Tai chi will not only help your body, but also calm your mind of the anxiety and depression symptoms.
Tobacco is also a plant from the nightshade family and as many as 40% of fibromyalgia sufferers reported that their pain and other symptoms diminished when they quit smoking. A study conducted at the Mayo Clinic found that those who used tobacco had worse fibromyalgia symptoms .
SAM-e and Fibromyalgia
S-Adenosylmethionine or SAM-e naturally occurs in our body. As we age, the amount of SAM-e decreases. Studies have found that taking SAM-e supplements can relieve the pain and depression symptoms of fibromyalgia. One study found that 11 out of 17 patients with fibromyalgia reported less depression and a reduction in the number of trigger points . Another study with SAM-e found improvements with pain, morning stiffness, fatigue and mood . For more information, please read Relieve the Pain of Osteoarthritis and Fibromyalgia with SAM-e.
Warning, do not take SAM-e if you also take medication for depression, you are bi-polar or you take Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs). Always tell your doctor of any supplements or herbal remedies you are taking before taking any other medications.
Other Alternative or Natural Remedies for Fibromyalgia
There are other remedies that are recommended for those who suffer from fibromyalgia including, chiropractic, massage, water therapy, light aerobics, myofascial release therapy, heat and cold, breathing exercises, acupressure and acupuncture.
Vitamin and Supplement List for Fibromyalgia
According to WebMD, there are certain supplements that could be helpful for the various symptoms of fibromyalgia, especially the pain and depression. The supplements are:
- Alpha Hydroxy Acids
WebMD has a list and reviews from users for the above supplements for fibromyalgia
Copyright © Sam Montana February 2012
References and Resources
 The American Journal of Medicine. Evaluation of SAM-e in primary fibromyalgia.
 PubMed - Oral S-adenosylmethionine in primary fibromyalgia. Double-blind clinical evaluation. Scand J Rheumatol 1991;20(4):294-302.
 PubMed - Impact of tobacco use in patients presenting to a multidisciplinary outpatient treatment program for fibromyalgia.
Diagram source Wikimedia Commons