Remedies for Fibro
There are numerous remedies for fibromyalgia that are reported to help. Four broad categories of fibromyalgia remedies are described below. Each category either has clinical proof as being effective or has empirical evidence for its use.
With over thirty- nine symptoms that have been identified as being associated with fibromyalgia, it is no wonder people search for remedies that help fibromyalgia.
While nothing has been clinically proven to heal the disease, there are a number of fibromyalgia remedies that bring symptom relief for patients.
Listed below are fibromyalgia remedies that either have scientific backing for their use or have plenty of empirical evidence that they work.
Exercise, including brisk walking for at least thirty minutes a day, yoga, qi gong, tai chi, Pilates, water aerobics, and strength training with weights, is very beneficial to the fibromyalgia patient.
Web MD states that exercise helps keep muscles strong, helps to keep weight under control, and helps people with fibromyalgia become more active in other areas of their lives.
Exercise helps to boost endorphins, the “happy” hormones which create positive moods, remove stress, and reduce anxiety and depression. Exercise acts as Nature’s tranquilizer by stimulating serotonin in the brain.
Exercise also releases epinephrine and norepinephrine, the hormones which express alertness. These two hormones are key in fibromyalgia, so exercising has special benefit to the fibromyalgia patient.
Exercise improves range-of-motion to painful muscles and joints, improves sleep, boosts energy levels, brings peaceful feelings, and strengthens bones.
Magnesium, either in the form of magnesium malate or magnesium sulphate (Epsom salts), helps to reduce pain in aching muscles. Magnesium is very well documented in the scientific literature as an effective pain reliever for a variety of pain issues.
The only negative report of its use is that an overdose of oral magnesium causes diarrhea in some people. When these people lowered the dose of magnesium, the diarrhea resolved immediately.
One very effective way to find relief from pain with magnesium is to take hot Epsom salt baths every night. The bathtub is filled completely with the hottest water tolerable. Between one and four cups of Epsom salts are added to the bath water.
The fibromyalgia patient soaks in the tub for at least thirty minutes. This allows the magnesium in the Epsom salts to be absorbed into the skin through the open pores. After a few weeks, pain and anxiety seems to be less, and sleep is easier to achieve.
Tryptophan is an amino acid the human body obtains from food which converts to 5-HTP. 5-HTP changes to serotonin, the neurotransmitter that regulates mood, anxiety, appetite, sleep, and the feeling of pain.
Tryptophan used to be sold as a dietary supplement, but the FDA ordered it to be pulled off the market when a chemical called Peak X found in tryptophan was linked to a potentially fatal disease known as eosinophilic myalgia syndrome.
5-HTP is made from the seeds of an African herb called Griffonia simplicifolia. Trace amounts of Peak X are also present in 5-HTP, although EMS symptoms are only manifested at very high doses of 5-HTP. Caution is advised when using 5-HTP.
Glucosamine and chondroitin are two dietary supplements that are becoming popular among fibromyalgia patients. The two supplements help to reduce pain and increase strength in the joints.
Glucosamine is often used by people with arthritis as well as athletes to control joint pain and damage in cartilage. Chondroitin keeps the joints lubricated by absorbing water. It reduces pain and inflammation in the joints.
Researchers are unclear on how glucosamine and chondroitin work. They believe that these supplements work by inhibiting an enzyme called lysosome, which causes tissue degeneration in the joints and elsewhere in the body.
Glucosamine and chondroitin have been widely studied for joint pain in osteoarthritis. They do reduce pain and have fewer side effects than NSAIDS such as ibuprofen (Advil) and aspirin.
However, the two dietary supplements may not provide enough pain relief for people suffering from fibromyalgia. They do seem to help reduce the inflammation in fibromyalgia patients who also have arthritis. They also increase joint strength and range of motion.
Medical science, as well as traditional herbalists and naturopathic doctors, recognize the benefits of herbs for fibromyalgia symptoms. Herbs are often the safest options for healing or treatment. When used properly, herbs do work.
The scientific community is currently pouring massive effort into finding treatment options for fibromyalgia. Herbs are being considered legitimate treatment options for fibromyalgia, especially in Europe.
Certain herbs have been clinically proven to be of benefit to people with fibromyalgia:
A 1999 article published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements noted that St. John’s Wort not only relieves depression, it also has anti-inflammatory properties. Specific mention was made for the use of St. John’s Wort to reduce inflammation in fibromyalgia patients.
Anecdotal evidence supporting the benefits of gingko biloba for fibromyalgia triggered a clinical study in 2002 testing the herb in conjunction with Co-Q10.
A placebo- controlled study was recommended when the results of this study showed a significant positive response to the protocol.
Chlorella, the well- known algae “super food,” was proven to reduce pain in fibromyalgia patients by 22% with no adverse side effects, according to the medical journal Phytotherapy Research.
A placebo- controlled study was recommended after these results, as well.
Hershey Medical Center at Penn State Hershey recommends caffeine- free green tea made from Camellia seninsis for fibromyalgia. Scientists there state that green tea has an abundance of antioxidants which help boost the immune system.
These three herbs are well known herbal sedatives. Fibromyalgia patients often suffer from chronic insomnia. The Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology believe these herbs should help.
Valerian is a wonderful sedative herb, but it takes two or three weeks to become effective. It is a very well-tolerated alternative to sleeping medications.
Bromelain is a digestive enzyme found in pineapple juice which helps to reduce pain and inflammation in a similar way to aspirin and the blood thinner, Coumadin. Turmeric is an herb which does the same thing.
Rhodiola is a stress- reducing herb. It also acts as an antioxidant and an immune system booster.
Cayenne, or capsicum, may be used for any kind of muscle or joint pain as a part of an “icy heat” application. Many ointments and topical creams have cayenne in them to help bring blood circulation to the area where it is applied.
Cayenne has so many healing benefits that entire books have been written about it.
One of the most impressive works that is being done with fibromyalgia at the moment is in the clinic of Chris Kresser, ND and Robb Wolfe. These leaders in the fields of nutrition and health are seeing impressive results with a modified Paleo diet for fibromyalgia.
Rather than targeting pain first, Dr. Kresser, as well as Dr. Robert M. Hansen, MD, go after the “leaky gut” or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) associated with fibromyalgia first.
They are concerned that by masking fibromyalgia pain with prescription opiates first, the patients risk becoming addicted to narcotics, which introduces a variety of completely unnecessary issues.
Besides chronic pain and intestinal issues, the fibromyalgia patient also faces insomnia, chronic fatigue, various allergies, upper respiratory infections, mood swings, and depression.
Dr. Kresser believes, and has seen in his practice, that the Paleo diet relieves most of these symptoms within a few months of being on the diet. He has his patients start with the Whole9 strict Paleo diet for a month.
Then each patient customizes the Whole9 diet over a period of weeks or months, because there is no one diet that works for all people. This is why so many diets fail.
All gluten is removed, along with almost all grains, dairy, and of course, all junk food, fast food, and processed foods.
For fibromyalgia patients, the nightshade vegetables are also eliminated, because they seem to trigger migraines. Nightshade vegetables are tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, and peppers.
Besides the diet itself, the Paleo protocol includes plenty of sunshine, exercise, body work, massage, yoga, and meditation.
Extra supplements are recommended, including magnesium as noted above, iodine in the form of kelp, selenium in the form of two or three Brazil nuts daily, copper, Vitamin B12, glutathione, and up to 7,000 IU Vitamin D3 daily.
While there is no clinical evidence that the Paleo diet works, the anecdotal evidence is compelling.
Fibromyalgia patients are reporting that they are able to get off all of their prescription medications within a year of tapering off of them while on the modified Paleo diet. They do warn that tapering off the medications can be grueling, but the trials are worth the effort.
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PubMed. gov, Journal of Women’s Health (Larchmt). 2009 May; 18(5):709-16. “Self-reported medication and herb/supplement use by women with and without fibromyalgia.” Shaver JL, Wilbur J, et al.
PubMed. gov, Phytotherapy Research. 2000 May; 14(3):167-73. “Nutritional supplementation with Chlorella pyrenoidosa for patients with fibromyalgia syndrome: a pilot study.” Merchant RE, Carmack CA, et al.
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