Over six million Americans suffer from fibromyalgia symptoms, along with ninety percent of individuals living with fibromyalgia are actually females.
Common Fibromyalgia Symptoms
The harshness of fibromyalgia symptoms can vary from individual to individual, and usually, symptoms disappear and then return.
Fibromyalgia is characterized by widespread and long-term pain in connective tissues and muscles, without any particular cause.
Study indicates that fibromyalgia might amplify soreness by impacting the manner the mental faculties processes pain signals. (two) Along with pain, typical fibromyalgia symptoms:
- Sleep disorders
- Memory Issues
- Cramping in the lower abdomen
- Chronic pain
- Tender Points
- Fibro fog
Are these symptoms of fibromyalgia persistent? In cases that are many, yes.
Even though the pain related to fibromyalgia is actually difficult for many, “fibro fog” and sleep disorders contribute to this difficult diagnosis.
Sleep disorders are actually common and may include restless legs and sleep apnea syndrome. Not getting enough rest contributes to reduced cognitive functioning, depression, and strain.
Additionally, some individuals encounter early morning stiffness, numbness, or perhaps tingling in the extremities, and a heightened sensitivity to loud noises, lights that are bright, and temperature.
Also, a number of individuals encounter early morning stiffness, numbness, or perhaps tingling in the extremities, and a heightened sensitivity to loud noises, lights that are bright, and temperature.
(3a) Some individuals also experience fibromyalgia with various other co-existing problems, like TMJ (temporomandibular joint dysfunction), endometriosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, stress headaches, as well as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).
Meanwhile, fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is actually a type of fibromyalgia “where pain, as well as stiffness, take place in ligaments, tendons, and muscles throughout the entire body, accompanied by various other generalized problems such as fatigue, mood disorder, sleep disruption, and cognitive difficulties.” ( (3b)
Causes of Fibromyalgia Symptoms
It is usually hard to be identified as having fibromyalgia, as there is not a definitive lab test. While other tests and blood work might be ordered to rule out some other problems, physicians frequently depend on the feedback they get from the patient.
Generally, people are required to have widespread pain and muscle aches that keep going for a minimum of 3 months.
An actual physical “tender point” examination could be done where the doctor presses eighteen specific points to measure tenderness and pain.
Tender points have the neck, chest, arms, legs near the knees, at the waist, and only below the buttocks. (4a)
Some fibromyalgia patients might suffer from neuropathy, as a study discovered that almost one-half of the individuals suffered from little nerve fiber neuropathy.
(4b) Which is simply nerve pain which is actually brought on by damage to the little nerves which carry other signals and pain from your skin to the mind of yours.
Therefore, neuropathic fibromyalgia might be a little more typical than previously known.(7):
- Genetics Allergies to chemicals Allergies or perhaps food sensitivities Viruses Hormonal imbalances Very poor digestion Candida overgrowth Spinal misalignments Stress Neurotransmitter deficiencies Stress PTSD
Risk factors for fibromyalgia include genes, simply being female, and rheumatoid arthritis or perhaps lupus.
For many individuals, symptoms start after a substantial mental stress event, surgery, infection, and any other physical trauma.
Others might have no proof of a triggering occasion, and the fibromyalgia symptoms have simply accrued over time. (8)
Much more lately, 1 2017 analysis discovered that individuals with fibromyalgia (FM) have brains with abnormal hypersensitivity, normally referred to as intense synchronization (ES).
Researchers from the Faculty of Michigan and Pohang Faculty of Science found that the hypersensitivity fibromyalgia individuals experience may well be a consequence of the hyperactive or hypersensitive brain networks.
Scientists assessed the resting status electroencephalogram (EEG) – the test that records electric signals of the mind – of ten female fibromyalgia patients to look at well known ES conditions within purposeful brain networks.
Next, scientists tested whether a brain networking type with ES situations reacted to electric stimulation or external disturbances.
From this particular analysis, outside disturbances considerably correlate with persistent pain intensity, as well as the information supports which networks with ES situations are much more vulnerable to disturbances compared to brains with no ES networks.
Furthermore, intense synchronization might be a mechanism of fibromyalgia mind hypersensitivity, based on the findings of the analysis.
(5) The product of this particular test and research is able to help future treatments of fibromyalgia which could likely change fibromyalgia hypersensitivity networks into stable networks using noninvasive mind modulation therapies. (6)
Treating Fibromyalgia Symptoms
Standard therapy for fibromyalgia includes nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (Antidepressants, pain relievers, anti-seizure drugs, and NSAIDs).
Lyrica (pregabalin) is actually among the most common FDA approved drug therapies for fibromyalgia.
These commonly used fibromyalgia medicines do not stop the illness, and taking them could result in potentially risky side effects.
NSAIDs are able to result in ulcers, bleeding in the tummy or perhaps intestines, intestinal upset, higher blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, and even life-threatening skin reactions as well as allergic reactions.
(9) While inflammation is actually an issue, you will find better organic alternatives.
Side effects of prescription anti-seizure medicines include liver failure, kidney stones, ovarian cysts, along with serious drops in white blood cells as well as a selection of platelets, aplastic anemia, and cognitive functionality problems. (10)
Prescription antidepressants are able to bring about fat gain, loss of sexual motivation, fatigue, insomnia, blurry anxiety, irritability, agitation, and vision.
(11) Several of those possible side effects are actually similar to typical symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Many dietary supplements are actually offered to help alleviate strain and depression (see below). Treating fibromyalgia symptoms obviously demands a nutritious diet, changes in lifestyle, and complementary treatments.
Since fibromyalgia is able to lead to chronic pain and fatigue which is actually akin to arthritis, several industry experts might help a fibromyalgia patient to notice a rheumatologist.
While there is not a cure yet, you will find natural remedies that will help ease the symptoms and improve the quality of living for individuals living with fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia Diet & Natural Treatment
Multiple clinical studies show that treating fibromyalgia symptoms requires a multi-pronged approach that includes changes in diet and nutrition.
A collaborative study from researchers in Italy has found that fibromyalgia patients can benefit from specific dietary changes and nutritional supplementation. (12)
This study found that the elimination of gluten has the potential for improving symptoms of fibromyalgia.
This result is echoed in another recent study published in Arthritis Research & Therapy, where researchers studied the effect of a one-year gluten-free diet in patients with co-occurring IBS and fibromyalgia. (13)
One of the subgroups in the study experienced significant improvement in all symptoms and an increase in the quality of life scores.
Of foods to avoid when treating fibromyalgia, gluten is critical. Researchers from both the studies above encourage more research and further education of recommended dietary and nutritional changes for fibromyalgia patients.
In addition to eliminating gluten, it’s essential to limit caffeine intake, as it can contribute to restless sleep and insomnia, anxiety, muscle tremors, and depression – many of the symptoms fibromyalgia patients experience every day.
Remember, caffeine lurks not only in coffee, tea, and colas but also in energy drinks, non-cola flavored sodas and even some over-the-counter pain medications.
Currently, the FDA doesn’t require caffeine to be listed on nutrition labels. This makes it difficult for individuals trying to limit or avoid caffeine.
Be mindful of chocolate bars, as some manufacturers add caffeine to their recipe, as well as diet pills and some deceptive processed foods marketed as “perky” or “morning spark.”
I recommend to all my patients to avoid artificial sweeteners at all costs. Made from dangerous chemicals, many common artificial sweeteners on the market today contain compounds linked to cancer, thyroid conditions, memory loss, and seizures.
When fighting the symptoms of fibromyalgia, it’s essential not to stimulate further complications and medical conditions.
Reducing your body’s toxic burden by eliminating gluten, caffeine, artificial sweeteners, processed foods, and partially hydrogenated oils and trans fats, you can make a difference in how you feel and in your quality of life.
Foods to Include in a Fibromyalgia Diet
Now let’s look at a healthy fibromyalgia diet. Replace the foods mentioned above with nutrient-dense clean proteins, raw dairy, fermented foods, organic fruits and vegetables, and other foods listed in my healing foods diet.
Many fibromyalgia patients have underlying nutritional deficiencies and may be deficient in vital nutrients, including vitamins B12, C, and D, as well as folic acid and the essential mineral magnesium.
The goal is to reduce inflammation and build the body’s natural defenses. Simply put, this requires a change in diet, a radical change for some people.
Magnesium-Rich Foods: Include lots of green leafy vegetables, pumpkin seeds, yogurt or kefir, almonds, and avocados in your diet to increase magnesium levels.
Aim for a minimum of three servings a day of these foods to help ease the pain and discomfort associated with fibromyalgia. (14)
Melatonin-Rich Foods: As sleep disorders are common among fibromyalgia symptoms, increasing the sleep hormone melatonin is recommended.
Melatonin supplements are considered generally safe, but it can interact with certain medications, including immunosuppressants, birth control pills, anticoagulants, and diabetic prescriptions. (15)
Fortunately, there are many foods you can eat to get the melatonin you need! Melatonin-rich foods include the following:
- Tart/Sour Cherries and Cherry Juice
- Mustard Seed
- Fresh Mint
- Red Wine
Studies show that deficiencies in zinc, magnesium, and folate are linked with lower melatonin levels. (16) This is why it’s essential on a fibromyalgia diet to eat foods rich in essential nutrients.
Foods High in Tryptophan: Tryptophan is needed by the body to produce serotonin, which is associated with restful sleep.
When people think of tryptophan, they often think of turkey, but there are other healthy foods with high tryptophan levels — including nuts, grass-fed dairy, wild fish, free-range chicken, sprouted grain, and sesame seeds — that can help you sleep.
Coconut Oil: Replace all unhealthy fats with coconut oil. Incorporate three to four tablespoons per day into your diet to help reduce joint pain, balance hormones, improve memory, and overall brain function. (17)
Fermented Foods and Drinks: Kombucha and other fermented products help to restore a healthy floral balance to the gut. As many sufferers of fibromyalgia also have IBS, it’s essential to improve digestion. Sauerkraut and kefir should also be incorporated into the fibromyalgia diet to help relieve ‘fibro fog,’ aches and pains.
Wild Fish: Salmon and tuna are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids and other essential vitamins and minerals. For people with fibromyalgia and other rheumatoid conditions, wild fish and fish oil are critical. Omega-3 supplements can curb stiffness, joint pain, lower depression, and improve mental skills. (18)
Turmeric: Add freshly grated turmeric (or curcumin) to your favorite recipes. Curcumin is the active ingredient renowned for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. To help the body absorb it properly, it’s essential to consume turmeric with black pepper.
Ginger: This proven strong anti-inflammatory spice helps to relieve pain. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in Miami, researchers found study participants given ginger experienced a more significant reduction in knee pain than those given acetaminophen. (19)
The group receiving the ginger extract did experience more stomach upset than those receiving the acetaminophen, although digestive upset was mild. Add fresh ginger to salad dressings, marinades, and other favorite recipes.
Natural Treatments for Fibromyalgia
Since there is no magic pill that can cure fibromyalgia symptoms, according to Mark J. Pellegrino, MD of Ohio Pain and Rehabilitation Specialists, “A balanced approach is important.” (20)
A healthy diet, lifestyle changes, and nutritional supplements are all part of the equation for fighting the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Here are today’s best supplements for battling fibromyalgia:
Acetyl L-carnitine (1500 mg/day): A small randomized trial tested acetyl L-carnitine and prescription duloxetine (Cymbalta) in 65 women with fibromyalgia. While both led to a general clinical improvement, the study found that the acetyl L-carnitine may improve depression, pain, and the overall quality of life in fibromyalgia patients. (21)
Magnesium (500 mg/day): As mentioned above, magnesium deficiency is often linked to fibromyalgia. Increasing magnesium can help to reduce pain and tenderness. Also, it helps to increase energy and reduce both anxiety and depression.
Fish Oil (1000 mg/day): Fish oil supplements replace omega-6 fatty acids in the brain with healthy omega-3s. (22) Fish oil is one of nature’s richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids and can help relieve anxiety, depression, and improve brain function.
Turmeric & Black Pepper Combo (1000 mg/day): As mentioned above, it’s essential to take it with black pepper. Fortunately, there are high-quality combination supplements available. A study recently published in Clinical Nutrition found supplements containing curcuminoids and piperine significantly improves inflammation and oxidative status. (23)
Vitamin D3 (5,000 IU/day): A deficiency in vitamin D is associated with chronic pain in some individuals. One small study found the control group that received the vitamin D supplementation experienced a marked reduction in pain. (24) Researchers believe more extensive studies are warranted.
Rhodiola and Ashwagandha (500-1000 mg/day); Anxiety, exhaustion, stress, and hormone imbalances are common in fibromyalgia patients. Together, these two adaptogens work to help the body effectively respond to stress.
5-Hydroxytryptophan/5-HTP (50 mg 1-3 times/day): 5-HTP may help to increase deep sleep while relieving pain. It works by supporting healthy serotonin levels in the brain. It’s made in the body from tryptophan but is not found in foods high in tryptophan. Supplementation is necessary.
According to a small placebo-controlled study for fibromyalgia and 5-HTP, symptoms of fibromyalgia can be improved with supplements. (25) Supplements of 5-HTP are made from the Griffonia simplicifolia seeds and are safe for most individuals.
Lifestyle Changes for Fibromyalgia
The potential for lifestyle changes to help fibromyalgia symptoms cannot be glossed over. Nonmedical intervention is necessary to relieve symptoms, including a healthy fibromyalgia diet and supplements.
Chiropractic care, reducing stress, regular exercise, acupuncture, and massage therapy can all be helpful.
Regular Moderate Exercise: For many people amid a fibromyalgia flare, the last thing that sounds appealing is exercise.
That is understandable considering the pain and exhaustion. However, regular moderate exercise that includes walking, swimming, biking, yoga, and Pilates can help relieve stress and anxiety.
A study published in the Archives of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation found a strong relationship between physical fitness and fibromyalgia.
Higher physical fitness levels are consistently associated with less severe symptoms in women. (26)
Yoga: An eight-week study considering the benefits of yoga in pain relief found that 75-minute yoga sessions, twice per week, reduce pain.
Also, it altered total cortisol levels in women with fibromyalgia and increased mindfulness. (27)
Acupuncture: For over 2,500 years, acupuncture has been used to relieve pain, increase relaxation, and so much more.
A small study has found that acupuncture is a proven, safe and effective treatment for the immediate reduction of pain in patients with fibromyalgia. (28)
Researchers believe that acupuncture works by restoring a healthy balance in the body, and pain relief comes from the opioid peptides released during the session.
Many believe this is the body’s natural response to managing pain. When systems are off-balance and energy isn’t flowing correctly, acupuncture can help.
Massage Therapy: Regular massage reduces heart rate, relieves pain, improves range of motion, and lessens anxiety and depression. Weekly massages are recommended for continued relief.
Manual Lymph Drainage Therapy: A small study published in the Journal of Manipulative & Physiological Therapeutics found that MLDT helps moves lymph fluid through the body, eliminating toxins and waste in fibromyalgia patients. (29)
Clearing the body of toxins helps to stimulate healing and can relieve many of the symptoms associated with fibromyalgia.
Essential Oils: Essential oils are useful for treating a wide array of conditions and symptoms, including relieving stress and reducing pain.
Helichrysum oil is shown to improve circulation, support the healing of nerve tissue, and decrease muscle pain. Combine with coconut oil and massage into sore areas.
Lavender oil is known to help relieve emotional stress, improve sleep, and reduce anxiety. Use in a homemade muscle rub to relieve pain and in a diffuser in the bedroom to help improve the quality of sleep.
Moist Heat: Moist heat boosts the blood flow to areas of the body in pain, providing relief. Warm baths (with a few drops of essential oils), showers, and moist heating pads can help when in distress.
Get Some Sun(!): Aim for a minimum of 10-20 minutes of sunshine each day to naturally increase vitamin D levels. It’s essential during sun exposure to not wear sunscreen, as it can prohibit the rays of the sun you need.
The big challenge in fibromyalgia treatment is keeping hope alive. Researchers are striving to find the answers needed to treat this debilitating condition.
Many of the world’s leading researchers are considering natural fibromyalgia treatments; we have highlighted many of them here.
Consistently, healthcare professionals across the globe recommend complementary treatments that include diet, lifestyle changes, and natural supplements.
Continue to read about it at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS).
The key is to find the right combination of these elements that work to help you relieve your fibromyalgia symptoms.