Many people have come forward and asked me to recommend some natural remedies for Fibromyalgia. While I have not tried a lot of natural remedies, I can provide you with some and will let you know which ones I have tried and my success rate.
The first recommendation is sleep. I personally suffer from insomnia and the only thing that gets me to sleep is medication. However, we are not all the same and so this is a very important point.
Getting enough sleep can help you manage your symptoms. It is important to establish good sleeping habits. Some of these are the following:
- Minimize your day time naps
- Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning. Try and stick to this schedule and don’t sleep late on weekends.
- Create a bedtime routine. Shut off all screens (TV, computer & cell phone), change into comfy PJ’s, drink some herbal tea, lower bright lights and reduce noise. Try reading.
- Eat you dinner about 2 – 3 hours before going to sleep. Don’t drink too much before bed as this will mean many trips to the bathroom.
- Avoid caffeine and nicotine. Both of these are stimulants and can keep you awake. Caffeine should be avoided for 8 hours before bedtime.
- Keep your bedroom cool. If you get cold, add more blankets and if you get hot, remove some blankets.
- Keep your bedroom dark and quiet. Silence helps you sleep better.
- Only use your bed for sleeping. Do not use it to watch TV.
- Taking a hot bath or shower before bedtime can help as it relaxes the muscles.
There is a clear link between Fibromyalgia pain and poor sleep quality.
Although exercise is hard to do at first, continuing with it can bring benefits. As you muscle strength builds up over time, pain and discomfort should decrease.
Rest as much as possible. If you push yourself and try do too much, this can increase your pain and fatigue. It can also trigger a flare up.
DIET & SUPPLEMENTS
Make sure to eat a healthy, balanced diet. Reduce your caffeine, alcohol and nicotine product intake.
As for supplements, vitamin D & Magnesium are good to take. Low levels of Magnesium are linked to Fibromyalgia. I take Magnesium supplements.
In order to try and reduce your stress, you can try some of the following:
- Doing Yoga
- Journaling and hobbies
- Keep in touch with your friends and family
- Join a support group in your area
- Try CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) or DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) in order to change the way you think. I have already covered one factor of DBT being Radical Acceptance in a previous post. I will be posting more about DBT and how it helped me.
Acupuncture is a Chinese traditional medicine. Small needles are inserted into the trigger points on your body. It is believed that this changes the blood flow and chemical levels.
Massage is done as a treatment for sore muscles. The therapist will use gentle manipulation which can in turn increase your range of motion, reduce stress, promote relaxation and relieve pain.
YOGA & TAI CHI
I have mentioned Yoga already as a means to reduce stress. Yoga and Tai Chi are both ancient Chinese practices. They both use gentle and slow disciplines in combination with meditation, controlled movement, deep breathing and moving the body slowly and gently through a series of poses.
FLOTATION & SPA THERAPY
Flotation and Spa Therapy seems to provide temporary relief of your symptoms. People have reported significant, temporary, reductions in pain, muscle tension, stress, anxiety and sadness. Also reported is a significant increase in relaxation, ease of movement, and quality of sleep.
TRANSCRANIAL MAGNETIC STIMULATION
Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) uses magnets to activate specific parts of the brain. It has been approved by the FDA as a treatment for depression. The initial research done with Fibromyalgia patients showed promising results but headaches were reported after the treatment.
This therapy uses special equipment to monitor how the brain activity changes in response to specific events and situations. By doing this, you could become more aware of the triggers that cause pain.
Reiki is performed by a practitioner who places their hands lightly over a person to enable healing through the transmission of energy.
5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is a natural amino acid. It is the building block for the brain chemical, serotonin. With low levels of serotonin, you will suffer from depression and so therefore increasing serotonin will result in a better mood. It can help ease anxiety, insomnia, fibromyalgia pain and morning stiffness. Always consult your doctor prior to taking any supplements.
S-Adenosyl Methionine (SAMe) is a molecule that your body produces naturally. It is also available as a dietary supplement. This may relieve pain, morning stiffness and fatigue. There are mild side effects reported when taking this medication such as stomach ache and dizziness. Always consult your doctor prior to taking any supplements.
MANUAL LYMPH DRAINAGE THERAPY
I have tried this therapy and it worked quite well. Manual Lymph Drainage Therapy is a type of massage that helps move lymph fluid through your body. The lymph system helps get rid of the bodies waste and toxins. It would appear to be more effective than regular massage. It is reported to reduce morning tiredness and anxiety. Both types of massage are linked to pain reduction and therefore improved quality of life.
Melatonin is a hormone used in supplements to improve sleep. It may therefore ease Fibromyalgia pain. Always consult with your doctor prior to taking any supplements.
ST. JOHN’S WORT
St. John’s Wort is a herb that is sometimes used to treat certain Fibromyalgia symptoms. There is, however, no solid evidence that it works. It may help with mild depression. It can also limit the effectiveness of some medications. Always consult with your doctor prior to taking any supplements.
Heat, especially moist heat, can temporarily ease pain and stiffness. It works by boosting blood flow to the places you hurt. You can apply a moist heating pad, have a warm shower or warm your clothes in the dryer before you put them on. Cold packs an also help you feel better by reducing the deep muscle pain.
CHIROPRACTIC MANIPULATION FOR FIBROMYALGIA PAIN
Chiropractors use spinal manipulation and realignment to help with pain relief, function improvement and natural healing promotion. It is effective for back, neck and headache pain. I have tried this and it definitely helped with my headaches.
CBD may help to relieve pain in Fibromyalgia. It is not FDA approved and the research is ongoing. I have not tried it as it is illegal in South Africa.
CBD is a popular choice amongst Fibromyalgia sufferers. It is not the same as marijuana. CBD is one of many cannabinoids which come from the cannabis plant. Cannabidiol Oil provides greater benefits, with fewer risks, than using medical marijuana.
THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) is what gets people high. CBD does not have this in it.
This product works for some and not for others. The pain relieving effects of CBD may be explained by the ways it affects the brain. It may interrupt nerve pathways that send signals of pain between the brain and the body. In a 2016 study, it was suggested that a lacks of endocannabinoids – neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors – may be at the root of chronic pain syndromes. These include migraines and Fibromyalgia. Taking CBD may correct this deficiency, explaining the compound’s success in alleviating chronic pain.