What is fibromyalgia?
First of all, nobody knows exactly what fibromyalgia is.
In addition, it can be very difficult to get a firm diagnosis. And it can take a long time.
At least 3 million Americans suffer from this chronic pain condition. Some experts place the estimate at closer to 6 million. Women are affected 10 times as often as men. The onset of symptoms usually occurs between 20 and 50 years of age (though teens and children can also have fibromyalgia).
How do doctors diagnosis fibromyalgia?
No blood test or x-ray can identify fibromyalgia. Instead, doctors diagnosis based on a patient’s medical history along with a physical exam. Officially, the syndrome must include:
- A history of widespread pain lasting at least 3 months. Pain must be felt on both sides of the body, above and below the waist. And spinal pain must also be present.
- Pain must be felt in at least 11 of 18 tender sites located throughout the body.
Fibromyalgia can also include: all-over pain and weakness. Sleep problems. Morning stiffness. Digestive problems. Physical imbalance. Exhaustion. Brain fog. Muscle knots and cramping. Headache or migraine. Itching or burning skin.
Luckily, many of these problems respond to natural fibromyalgia remedies.
What therapies do doctors usually recommend for fibromyalgia?
Currently, there is no cure for fibromyalgia. And no one pill can treats all the symptoms. So doctors usually recommend a combination of prescription drugs, alternative therapies, and permanent lifestyle changes to help manage the condition.
Antidepressants are the most common prescribed medication, and they seem to improve multiple symptoms. Nevertheless, they won’t eliminate them entirely. And they won’t work for all symptoms.
Alternative therapies often include a melatonin supplement because people with fibromyalgia produce too little of this hormone on their own. A recent scientific study found that taking melatonin helped reduce fibromyalgia pain and improve sleep in some people.
In addition, many doctors recommend a Vitamin D supplement to help with muscle pain. Especially when taken with food (for better absorption) it has emerged as an effective fibromyalgia treatment.
Lifestyle changes can make a difference, too. Exercise is a good example. Often, people with fibromyalgia don’t exercise because they worry it will increase their pain. In fact, studies show that exercise helps relieve pain. It also increases the body’s production of endorphins, which will boost your mood.
For starters: 5 Natural Remedies for Fibromyalgia
In the US, where 88% of all pain relief comes from pills, it’s not a shock to learn that many fibromyalgia patients rely on prescription medication. However, a number of effective natural fibromyalgia remedies have entered the market and are gaining popularity.
Pain relief patches can help. The active ingredients are usually menthol and wintergreen leaf oil, which are absorbed through the skin. As a result, they bypass the liver (where they can be harmful). Patches also help you avoid the stomach upset associated with aspirin and other over-the-counter pain relievers.
Menthol remedies also come in spray mist and roll-on formulas. Some people prefer these natural fibromyalgia remedies because you can control how much you use at any one time. Try Premiere’s Pain Spray Mist and Roll-On when you want deep, drug-free pain relief.
The homeopathic remedy rhus toxicodendron (Rhus Tox) has been shown to reduce joint pain and improve sleep patterns in people with fibromyalgia. The recommended potency is 6C and the dosage is 2-3 pellets, twice daily. Take each dose when there’s no taste in your mouth. Never touch the pellets; just drop them gently into the bottle cap. Don’t swallow them; let them melt under your tongue.
Acupuncture can increase blood flow to inflamed areas, temporarily relieving symptoms of stiffness and even tension headache in some people with fibromyalgia.
Yoga offers both exercise and stress relief. The stretching involved can improve circulation and decrease inflammation. There can be benefit from the meditative aspect of yoga, too.