How to Treat Fibromyalgia Naturally

Fibromyalgia - Bustle away all the muscle hustle

Next time your loved ones or friends complain of constant body ache and tender joints, do not ignore their pleas as a mere excuse for being lazy. They could be suffering from a complex disorder called Fibromyalgia. In India, 10 million cases of fibromyalgia are reported every year.  It also was observed that more than 80% of the patients who have Fibromyalgia are women.

Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

It is essential that we understand the symptoms of Fibromyalgia as this will help in early detection of the ailment and pre-emptive care. The disorder has several symptoms and can differ from person to person. There are also cases where the symptoms disappear for a while but then eventually re-appear. Some of the most common symptoms of Fibromyalgia are:

1. Body Ache

Widespread pain in the body with special traction in the neck and the back. The pain usually continues for a long time and can feel like a burning sensation or sharp stabbing pain in the body.

2. Extreme Sensitivity

Fibromyalgia is associated with extreme sensitivity, which results in pain even at the slightest of touch or smell. Patients affected by this ailment experience acute pain in the most unassuming situations, and it prevails for a long time.

E.g., Shaking hands firmly might leave a person who has Fibromyalgia wincing in pain. The disorder tends to flare up when the patient is exposed to things they are sensitive to, like loud sound, bright light, etc.

3. Physical Stiffness

Another painful symptom of Fibromyalgia is stiffness in the body. Usually, when the patient wakes up in the morning, they find it difficult to get up from the bed immediately and might suffer from leg cramps as well.

Also, after sitting for prolonged periods, getting up swiftly can be a challenge for people suffering from this disorder. Often people confuse Fibromyalgia with Arthritis as both lead to stiffness of joints, but they are two different ailments. While Arthritis causes muscle inflammation and damage, Fibromyalgia only leads to soft tissue pain.

4. Poor Sleep Quality

Fibromyalgia is synonymous with poor sleep quality as the pain more often than not does not allow the patient to sleep well, and thus they always remain fatigued and sleep deprived.

5. Fibro-Fog

One of the most noticeable symptoms of Fibromyalgia is cognitive issues like trouble in remembering things, lack of concentration, etc. This symptom is also called “fibro-fog.”

6. Depression

depression
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People experiencing Fibromyalgia(1) can also be prone to depression and anxiety attacks as they are not able to explain what they are suffering from and how to cure it.

It is not clear as to what causes Fibromyalgia in people, and especially women. There are several theories, some of which blame lifestyle, medication, social triggers, etc. as the reason for contracting Fibromyalgia. Let us now look at some of the main causes of Fibromyalgia.

General Causes for Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a disorder which can affect anyone and there is no specific age limit when it is more likely to attack. As per studies, some of the main causes of this disorder are as following:

1. Hormonal Triggers

It is observed that Fibromyalgia is more prevalent in people who have low levels of the hormone Serotonin, noradrenaline, and dopamine.

These hormones are essential to regulate our mood, sleep, behavior patterns, and responses and due to their low levels, the brain is unable to function in these areas effectively, causing pain, sleeplessness, and anxiety.

2. External Triggers

It is quite possible that one develops Fibromyalgia after a trigger which is often an accident, painful childbirth, major surgeries, death in the family, broken relationships, or even a viral infection. Though it has been seen that some of the Fibromyalgia patients had suffered some of the above triggers before they developed symptoms, this is not always true.

3. Sleep Disorders

People who suffer from sleep disorders are at a greater risk of developing Fibromyalgia.

Many associated medical conditions like Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Spondylitis can also be a trigger for Fibromyalgia.

It is ironical that though a large part of the population suffers from this ailment, there is no cure for this condition. Doctors currently only help in diagnosing the condition and provide drugs to subside the pain. However, it is recommended that patients suffering from Fibromyalgia should conquer the ailment through natural remedies.

Treating Fibromyalgia Naturally

CURE 1: Foods for Fibromyalgia

The food that we consume on a daily basis and the nutrients it contains play an important part in helping alleviate the pain and discomfort associated with Fibromyalgia. Some food items contain important minerals and fiber which work wonders in treating its symptoms.

[Also Read: Best Diet for Fibromyalgia]

1. Almonds

Almonds are packed with nutrients, Vitamin E, and antioxidants. It is recommended to include almonds in your daily diet as it is a healthy option when compared to snacking on junk food.

Why does this work?

Almonds contain a lot of fiber and are low on sugar which means that they provide a lot of energy and can help in overcoming the symptoms of fatigue in patients. Almonds also contain nutrients which help in cognitive development and reduce the signs of cognitive difficulties often associated with Fibromyalgia.

How to use?

Almonds can be consumed directly as snacks and can also be added to cereals, curries, salads, etc. Almonds can be consumed all year round and are easily available as well. They can be consumed with their skin intact or after leaving them overnight in water and then taking their skins off before consuming.

How much to use?

There is no limit on how many almonds you should eat but consuming 5-6 almonds in a day should be enough to get the required fiber and nutrient intake.

2. Apple

Apple benefits

Apple is often considered a medicinal fruit as it helps in preventing cancer, asthma, and also has anti-inflammatory properties.

Why does this work?

Apple contains phytochemicals and antioxidants(2) which are natural pain relievers and have anti-inflammatory properties. This greatly helps in lessening the symptoms of body pain and tender joints.

How to use?

Consuming raw apple is the best way to get the benefits of this fruit. It can also be consumed in the form of apple juice, or with salads and desserts.

How much to use?

There is no limitation on eating fruits and apples can be consumed as many times in a day. However, on average, consuming one apple a day is considered healthy.

Besides apples, many other fresh fruits and vegetables like blueberries, cabbage, spinach, cauliflower, pears, etc. contain the same chemicals for pain relieving and should also be made part of the daily diet.

3. Beans

Beans are a powerhouse of protein and an important constituent of a healthy diet.

Why does this work?

Beans provide the body with the necessary proteins which fuel the muscles and give the body energy. With this energy, the symptoms of tiredness and fatigue can be easily combated.

How to use?

Beans should be cooked and consumed as part of your daily diet. For a healthy mind and body, protein is essential and beans have it in abundance.

How much to use?

Beans, even though they give protein, can also cause digestive issues if consumed in large quantities. Restrict the number of beans in your diet to one regular serving.

Other food items like chicken, fish, and peanut butter are also rich in lean protein and can be consumed alongside or in place of beans for your daily dose of protein.

[Also Read: Benefits of White Kidney Beans]

CURE 2: Self-Care

Fibromyalgia does not have any guaranteed cure and thus, self-care techniques work best in lessening the symptoms and the associated pain.

1. Yoga for Fibromyalgia

yoga benefits
Image: ShutterStock

Yoga is an age-old form of exercise which not only helps in rejuvenating the body but the mind as well. Anyone and everyone can practice yoga and avail its benefits. It can be done inside your home or outside in the garden. It is important to do every yoga posture correctly with the right breathing techniques. It is recommended that if you are new to yoga, you should practice it under guidance.

Why does this work?

Yoga involves exercising the muscles, learning the right breathing techniques, and meditation. All these help in overcoming the pain and discomfort which comes with Fibromyalgia. It also helps in making the body more flexible by moving and strengthening the joints, ultimately reducing the pain which is experienced after sudden movements.

How to use?

Yoga can be learned from an instructor and can be practiced by anyone either at home or outside.

How much to use?

Yoga involves the movement of the body and muscles and can be difficult to do at times. It is recommended that you practice yoga under a skilled instructor and not overwork your body. If you experience pain while completing any yoga posture, it is advisable to stop and consult a doctor. 30 mins of yoga in a day is enough to keep your body and mind relaxed.

[Also Read: Yoga Poses to Treat Fibromyalgia]

2. Reducing Stress

cure stress
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Stress is often found to be the root cause of many of the ailments suffered by mankind. In our fast-paced lives, it is difficult not to feel stressed. However, that is also why it is important to learn to keep stress at bay and focus on the more important things.

Why does this work?

Reducing stress is believed to be linked with reduced severity of Fibromyalgia symptoms. Stress leads to psychological distress and this activates the symptoms further like anxiety(3), depression, etc.

How to use?

Stress can be reduced only if you make an effort towards it. Firstly, by attacking the cause of stress and then by trying to de-stress your mind by indulging in a hobby, socializing, doing things which give you happiness and also by talking about your fight with Fibromyalgia. The fact that there are others who are facing the same battle as you can be a very soothing and cathartic experience.

How much to use?

There is no limit on how happy and stress-free you can be. The more the better!

3. Sleeping Well

It is said that our body repairs itself when we sleep at night. If we do not get deep and undisturbed sleep, then the body is unable to recharge itself which leads to further issues.

Why does this work?

A good night’s sleep can help a fibromyalgia patient feel energized in the morning. The pain which comes with this disorder sometimes makes it difficult to sleep well at night and this, in turn, leads to further fatigue and weakness. It is a vicious circle and thus it is advised that steps are taken to ensure that you get a good night’s sleep.

How to use?

It is important that you take bedtime seriously and go to sleep early so that you can get a good 7-8 hours of sleep every day. Ensure that your room temperature, bed, and your surroundings are comfortable. Take measures to ensure that anything that can interfere with your sleep is taken care of.

How much to use?

Sleeping well at night and getting up with a smile each day is half the battle won. Sleeping 7-8 hours every day should greatly help in assuaging the symptoms of Fibromyalgia.

Besides sleeping well, yoga, and reducing stress, one can also opt for a regular massage in order to reduce the pain and discomfort faced. A light-handed massage, especially on the back, neck, and legs will greatly help in increasing the blood circulation and reducing the stiffness in the body. Massaging also aids in better sleep and can be done twice a week.

CURE 3: Alternative Therapies

Sometimes, when nothing seems to work, alternative therapies hold the answer that we are looking for. Alternative therapies usually work on our body and mind and help in reducing the discomfort faced due to our ailment. Alternative therapies are very popular with fibromyalgia patients as they have been proven to provide relief.

1. Acupuncture for Fibromyalgia

Acupuncture Point for Knee
Image:ShutterStock

Acupuncture is a type of treatment where needles are inserted in our body on specific pressure points which in turn helps soothe the muscles and reduce pain.

Why does this work?

Acupuncture, a form of Chinese traditional medicine, inserts needles in certain points in the body and it is believed that they alter the blood flow and chemical levels in the body which helps in improving stiffness and reducing pain.

How to use?

Acupuncture cannot be done on your own and should always be conducted by a professional under hygienic conditions. It is recommended that you inform the practitioner about your disorder and what you expect from the treatment as this will help the practitioner to aim at the specific pain points like the back, neck, joints, etc.

How much to use?

A doctor or acupuncture specialist can confirm how many sessions you can undergo in a week and thus they should be consulted before you opt for this treatment.

[Also Read: Benefits of Acupuncture for Fibromyalgia]

2. Floatation Therapy

Floatation therapy, as the name suggests, requires a person to float in water under supervision. It is researched that flotation helps in increasing the feelings of well-being and relaxation in a patient.

Why does this work?

Floating in serene water with candles lit around you and soothing music playing instantly relaxes your senses and eases your blood flow. This feeling helps in overcoming the symptoms of depression, helplessness, fatigue, and stiffness in patients.

How to use?

Flotation therapy can be undertaken in a professional spa under the guidance and can also be done at your home in a bathtub. The essence is to relax and let your muscles relax as well. The feeling of well-being which comes after floatation therapy can work wonders in uplifting the mood and distracting away from the constant pain and stiffness.

How much to use?

Again, there is no maximum limit on the number of times you can do floatation therapy. If you have a bathtub at your home, you can possibly do it every day if it eventually helps in lessening the pain and anxiety.

[Also Read: Physical Therapy For Fibromyalgia]

3. Magnetic Transcranial Therapy

Magnetic Transcranial Therapy
Image:ShutterStock

The Transcranial Therapy uses magnets to stimulate some parts of the brain and still remains a somewhat lesser known treatment method for fibromyalgia.

Why does this work?

It is still being researched if the Magnetic Transcranial Stimulation Therapy works in curbing depression tendencies in Fibromyalgia patients. In this treatment, magnets are used to stimulate certain specific parts of the brain which aid in treating some forms of depression, which is a common symptom of this disorder.

How to use?

Transcranial Magnetic Therapy cannot be conducted on your own and you need to visit a specialist for the same. This therapy is conducted under a professional environment with magnets which are unlike our regular magnets. They are made of different shapes, sizes, and weights to stimulate the brain cells.

How much to use?

Although it is not proven, as per a study, one month of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy led to an improvement in the symptoms of Fibromyalgia patients considerably and helped them live life without feeling depressed or anxious.

4. Biofeedback Therapy

Another alternative therapy which is being used to fight the symptoms of fibromyalgia is biofeedback Therapy. The therapy helps you understand your reactions to stimulus and how it affects your brain. Some events make us feel anxious, lead to pain, and aggravation of symptoms.

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Why does this work?

Under Biofeedback Therapy, specialized equipment is used to monitor the brain and all triggers which lead to increased brain activity are studied. This helps the patients become more aware of which events lead to an increase in their symptoms and what helps lessen them. With this knowledge, patients can better control their situations and in turn reduce their pain and discomfort.

How to use?

Biofeedback Therapy can only be done under medical guidance using specialized equipment and thus you need to contact a doctor to take you through the sessions.

How much to use?

As of today, there is no concrete evidence to substantiate that biofeedback therapy really helps in reducing the symptoms of fibromyalgia but still it can help you understand the triggers for your pain and anxiety which can provide a better perspective of what things and situations you should avoid preventing pain from reoccurring.

Besides the above-mentioned therapies, Reiki and aromatherapy have also been used to reduce the symptoms of this disorder. Reiki is a practice where a healer places their hand lightly over a patient and enables healing via the transmission of energy from one body to another.

It is believed that through Reiki, the practitioner can pass on energy to the patient and help them in fighting against the pain, stiffness, and fatigue. Similarly, aromatherapy uses different kinds of soothing smells to improve the patient de-stress and relax, which in turn helps in combating anxiety.

Even conventional spa treatments are said to be suitable for fibromyalgia patients, and they should regularly go for them, which helps in relaxing their muscles and mind.

Counseling is also said to be effective in fibromyalgia patients as it helps them speak about their pain and troubles and relieve themselves of the anxiety that they feel in doing even the easiest of tasks. Another effective therapy for this disorder is cognitive behavioral therapy where a patient is conditioned to think positively and made to believe that they can overcome all problems.

It works if the patient feels optimistic and starts to look at life as something beyond their regular painful and difficult survival. Similarly, listening to soothing music and guided imagery where relaxing pictures are shown to the patients have resulted in a more relaxed mental state and thus, helps in assuaging some of the pain, discomfort, and anxiety.

CURE 4: Supplements for Fibromyalgia

Supplements, as the name suggests, are food items or vitamins and minerals which should be consumed by us, which can help in curing pain. These supplements alone cannot relieve the pain but over time, help in building a robust immune system which can fight any uneasiness.

1. Vitamin D

vitamin D benefits
Source:ShutterStock

We get Vitamin D from the sun, and it is quite vital for healthy bones and increased immunity in humans. Vitamin D can, in the long run, help to make your immunity stronger, which will prevent you from stiffness and joint pain.

Why does this work?

Vitamin D is essential for our bodies and helps in keeping the human immunity system strong.

A diet which is low in Vitamin D leads to muscle pain and can get aggravated in a Fibromyalgia patient.

How to use?

Vitamin D supplements are readily available OTC and can be consumed orally. A great way to make more Vitamin D in the body is by spending time in the sun and eating Eggs and Chicken.

How much to use?

It is advised that you should have a small amount of oral vitamin supplement as required and not go overboard as excessive Vitamin D in the body is also not healthy. You should check with your doctor to understand what is the right dosage of vitamin D as per your body requirements.

2. Magnesium for Fibromyalgia

Magnesium is an essential mineral which is associated with relaxation properties, and it is found to be considerably low in fibromyalgia patients.

Why does it work?

Magnesium contains properties which have a calming effect on the brain, muscles, and nerves. This is required for a patient who has Fibromyalgia and thus helps in relaxing and de-stressing.

How to use?

You can get your daily requirement of magnesium by consuming food which is rich in magnesium like Avocado, whole grains, peanuts, chocolate, etc. You can also get magnesium via oral supplements and tonics.

How much to use?

It is recommended that you consult your doctor for understanding how much magnesium is required for your body as an overdose of magnesium can act as a laxative.

[Also Read: Magnesium to Treat Fibromyalgia]

3. Fish Oil Supplements

Fish Oil or Omega-3 Fatty Acids for pain
Image:ShutterStock

Fish oil, as the name implies, comes from fish. It contains omega-3 fatty acids, which has demonstrated to have a positive impact on heart health and can protect against stroke and heart disease.

Why does it work?

Omega 3s have several health benefits, including reducing the risk of cancer, reducing inflammation, lowering blood pressure, and improving the health of your arteries. In cases where there is severe inflammation, Omega 3 supplements can help cure the inflammation. In fibromyalgia patients, inflammation is seen in muscles and soft tissues.

How to use?

Fish-oil supplementation is very simple and could be followed by just using them right from the container. Although it is strictly advised that you check with your doctor/physician before you do so

How much to use?

It is recommended that you consume as per the dosage instructed on the container and then increase the dosage as per your requirement. However, before doing so, it is recommended that you consult with your physician and understand any side-effects of this supplement if any.

Foods Which Should Be Consumed in Fibromyalgia

Food plays an integral part in helping with Fibromyalgia as they contain essential nutrients, minerals, chemicals, and protein, which help fight its various symptoms.

# Symptoms Foods
1 Blood flow/Circulation Garlic, Cinnamon, Mint, Ginger, Turmeric, Parsley
2 Digestive Health Cabbage, Chia Seeds, Avocado, Cucumbers, Apples, Raspberries, Coconut Oil
3 Protein and Energy Eggs, Chicken, Beans, Almonds, Flax Seeds, Quinoa, Amarnath, Millet, Cashews, Fish, Peas
4 Blood Sugar Control Water, Leafy vegetables, Fibrous food, Tea, Cherries, Almonds, etc.
5 Cognitive Health Walnuts, Dark Chocolate, Mackerel, Avocado, Salmon, Sardines, Leafy Vegetables, etc.

FAQs

1. Is Fibromyalgia Genetic?

This is a question many patients ask their doctors, and the answer is “In some cases, yes.” So, if you have not been faced with any of the common triggers of Fibromyalgia, yet you have contracted it,  then there are high chances that you have got it because of your genetic makeup, and you are likely to pass it to your offspring as well.

As per studies, it is not clear what is the likely percentage of you contracting the disorder if someone in your family also has it, but it can still not be ruled out as one of the possible causes of Fibromyalgia.

2. Do Fibromyalgia symptoms get worse over time?

People who have Fibromyalgia will tell you that the symptoms do not necessarily increase or decrease with time, but the severity does keep increasing or decreasing.

Thus, Fibromyalgia cannot be termed as a progressive disorder, but its symptoms undergo swings were for some time they become severe, and at other times, they seem non-existent. The fact that there is no cure for this disorder does make it a lifelong ailment which can be subsided with natural remedies.

Fibromyalgia is one of the least understood ailment because its symptoms are often confused with weakness, lethargy, mental disorder, arthritis, etc. Only with a proper understanding of its symptoms can it be diagnosed promptly and treated accordingly.

We should ensure that we do not ignore persistent pain, stiffness, headaches, depression, and anxiety and consult a doctor. Along with the timely diagnosis, it is essential that we follow a healthy diet complete with leafy vegetables, fruits, nuts, protein-rich food, and water.

Just like every instance of pain cannot be termed as Fibromyalgia, it is not necessary that persistent body pain and stiff muscles cannot be an indication of Fibromyalgia. Be alert; be prepared!

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