Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder leading to pain, tenderness, sleep, memory and mood issues and fatigue in the muscles of specific parts of the body, including the neck, back, hips, shoulders, arms and legs. It is a musculoskeletal pain that gets amplified.
Fibromyalgia is a problem with how the brain and spinal cord process pain signals from the nerves.It is more common in middle aged women and those with rheumatoid arthritis or any other autoimmune disease. Little pressure on the affected area causes pain.
Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
- Symptoms of Fibromyalgia gradually accumulate over time.
- Chronic Muscle pain which can be deep, sharp or dull and may come and go with time, feeling drained or tired, sleep problems like trouble sleeping, light and disturbed sleep and painful tender points (tissues around the muscles and joints) are the most common symptoms of Fibromyalgia.
- Other symptoms include memory or concentration problems, also known as fibro fog that impairs the ability to focus leading to anxiety and depression. The patients have short term memory.
- Some patients complain of numbness, swelling and tingling in hands, arms, feet and legs along with morning stiffness. The patients feel sensations called paresthesia.
- Headaches like migraines or tension headaches are very common as a result of pain in neck or upper back, painful menstrual cramps, problems with peeing are also symptoms of Fibromyalgia.
- Irritable bowel syndrome is experienced by the patients. They feel pain in the belly, gas and blotting and also have constipation and diarrhea.
- Symptoms might include dry mouth, nose and eyes. Sensitivity to cold, heat, light or sound is also experienced in some cases.
Causes of Fibromyalgia
- Genetics plays a role in Fibromyalgia as it is often seen in siblings as well as mothers and their children.
- Symptom usually begin after a physical trauma, acute illness, some surgery or infection or due to some significant psychological/emotional stress.
- Those who rarely exercise, or the ones who were physically or emotionally abused are at a higher risk of developing fibromyalgia.
Diagnoses of Fibromyalgia
There are no tests in particular to determine Fibromyalgia. The symptoms are considered and blood tests are performed to check the hormone levels and signs of inflammation. At times X-rays are also taken
Alternative Treatment of Fibromyalgia
1. Get Enough Sleep
To manage the symptoms of Fibromyalgia, it is very important to get enough sleep. It is advised to go to bed on time, avoid screen time just before sleeping and also avoid any heavy meals for dinner. One should not consume alcohol or caffeinated drinks like tea or coffee before sleeping.
The best way to manage symptoms of Fibromyalgia is doing moderate exercise daily. One may perform yoga, tai chi, Pilates, slow walking, swimming or cycling. Exercise releases endorphins that help fight pain and stress and also helps sleep better. Tai Chi is a practice originating in China that involves slow movement of the body, very gently. It helps the patients a lot. Breathing techniques also help in relaxing the body and relieve pain naturally.
Meditation is a great way to relieve stress. It helps to calm down the mind and relax the body, promoting deep rest and thus helps the body in healing itself. Meditation effectively reduces pain intensity by inducing pain relief in regions of brain associated with pain.
4. Massage, Acupuncture and Chiropractic Manipulations
Massage, acupuncture and chiropractic manipulations are also recommended therapies to relieve aches and stress. Flotation and spa therapy also temporarily relieve symptoms. Acupuncture is an effective tool for immediate pain reduction and stiffness in patients with fibromyalgia. It improves the overall well being of the patient. Manual Lymph Drainage Therapy is a type of massage that helps move the lymph fluid through the body. This massage helps in reducing fatigue and pain, thus improves the quality of life.
5. Music Therapy
Music therapy helps in reducing pain and depression. Thus, listening to music is one of the natural fibromyalgia treatment. Music embedded with delta waves help improve the sleep. Music also has powerful effects on moods and emotions. It can reduce pain and increase mobility.
6. Herbal Therapy
Herbal therapy is the best way to overcome Fibromyalgia. All medicinal herbs contain natural anti-inflammatory properties. They are antioxidant and helps support immune functions. Herbs posses’ antimicrobial properties and helps fight infections naturally. Herbs also help restore cellular energy. Adaptogen herbs like Ashwagandha helps to normalize physiological functions after stress. It also acts as a pain reliever. Ashwagandha promotes proper sleep and also boosts up the immune system. Another excellent herb in treating Fibromyalgia is Turmeric. It helps with pain, inflammation, depression and cures all stomach disorders. Turmeric contains curcumin, which is the most potent anti-inflammatory agent.
7. Fibromyalgia Diet
Fibromyalgia diet includes all the foods that help to reduce inflammation. These include vegetables like Bell peppers, carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, potatoes, squash, etc. Fruits recommended for fibromyalgia patients include bananas, berries, cantaloupe, grapes, melon, kiwi, pineapple and other citrus fruits. Hydration is the key to any problem. It helps to nourish the cells, detox the body and aid in digestion. It is very important to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.
In dairy, the patient should try to consume coconut milk, almond milk, rice milk and goat milk. They can eat eggs, peanuts, walnuts, pecans and pumpkin seeds. Try to opt for gluten free products like oats, rice, pasta etc. It is advised to avoid fermented foods, processed foods, and fruits high in fructose.
Fibromyalgia patients are recommended to include fish oil supplements, Vitamin D3 and magnesium supplements in their daily diet.
8. Stress Relieving Activities
Stress relieving activities like going for a pedicure, or foot massage also helps in reducing anxiety and depression associated with Fibromyalgia. Warm water bath or showers helps to reduce muscle tension and promote relaxation. Laughter helps to relieve pain by releasing brain chemical that enhances the sense of well being.
Techniques like Biofeedback and Guided Imagery may also be used.
There is no permanent cure for Fibromyalgia, but a change in lifestyle, changes in diet, and natural remedies help in relieving the symptoms effectively. Not all therapies will help everyone; it depends on individual to individual, and how their body reacts to a particular therapy.
Dr. Vikram Chauhan (MD-Ayurvedic Medicine) is an Expert Ayurveda Consultant in Chandigarh (India). He has vast experience of herbs and their applied uses. He has successfully treated numerous patients suffering from various ailments, throughout the world. He is CEO and Founder of Krishna Herbal Company and Planet Ayurveda in Chandigarh, India. He researched age old formulas from ancient Ayurvedic text books to restore health and save human beings from the worst side-effects of chemical-based treatments.