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Natural Health News and Articles

Chiropractic Care and Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia, characterized by a widespread muscle pain or weakness, affects more than 5 million people a year in the United States. With the most well-known treatment for the disease being medications such as Cymbalta and Lyrica, some sufferers are looking for different approaches for their overall pain management. Chiropractic care is emerging as an effective treatment for the pain and stiffness associated with Fibromyalgia.

While it may take several sessions, chiropractors aim to realign the vertebrae and thereby repair any chemical imbalance in the brain and spinal fluid that trigger pain. These sessions can range from a simple alignment to a full spinal, hip, and joint adjustment. It can often help with overall muscle pain, tension, and even the fatigue that is associated with Fibromyalgia.

The theory is that by utilizing chiropractic care, the muscles are forced to work in their best capacity. This is achieved when proper alignment of the spine and joints reduces inflammation and tension in the muscles. The nerves associated with the spine help to create a chemical balance in the brain so that pain is less obtrusive.

It isn’t a cure and it certainly isn’t a quick fix for Fibromyalgia, chiropractic care can help provide pain management on a consistent level. This type of therapy can be combined with a Fibromyalgia care plan to help the overall daily management of the debilitating disease.

REFERENCES

  • Chiromatrix, 2013
    stanfordchiropractic.com/Fibromyalgia.html

Photo Credit: colloidalsilversecrets.blogspot.com/2012/11/colloidal-silver-and-fibromyalgia-pain.html

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Natural Health News and Articles

Treat Fibromyalgia by Identifying and Treating Associated Adrenal Fatigue

One of the most commonly ignored aspects in the treatment of Fibromyalgia is the evaluation and treatment for a closely associated condition called adrenal fatigue. In fact, the two conditions are very much interrelated that it is a rare instance in which adrenal fatigue is not present with Fibromyalgia. If you are diagnosed with fibromyalgia, you may not be able to fully recover if this aspect of your care is not addressed.

What exactly is adrenal fatigue? It is continued stress on the adrenal glands which causes production of high levels of cortisol over weeks to months. In an acute injury or illness, the body has a built-in defense mechanism called the immune system that produces an acute inflammatory response to deal with the acute insult and help the body to recover. After the acute event has been dealt with, the inflammatory response “cools down.”  Cortisol is primarily involved in the body’s “cooling off “of inflammation. A comparable example would be the antibodies that your body develops after an acute infection. After the acute infection has been dealt with, there is no further need for your immune system to be so “revved up.”

Chronic inflammation and continued stress, on the other hand, is harmful to the body over time, especially to the adrenal glands. This continued overwork of the adrenal glands due to both sustained psychological and physical stressors, can cause the adrenal glands to fatigue and become exhausted over time. This adrenal fatigue and exhaustion causes decreased production of many adrenal hormones, including cortisol, aldosterone, and the sex hormones. The consequences of adrenal fatigue on total body health and organ function can be devastating.

While Fibromyalgia is strongly associated with the development of adrenal fatigue; the opposite may also be true. Some research has demonstrated that abnormalities of the receptors in the adrenal glands themselves (ie, the glucocorticoid receptor) may be partially responsible for the development of fibromyalgia to occur in the first place.

With fibromyalgia, the adrenal glands’ response to inflammation may be blunted. Often, an inciting event, such as acute illness, infection, or trauma (psychological or physical), is the “stimulus” that can trigger the development of the fibromyalgia syndrome. If the adrenal gland receptors have decreased sensitivity, then there is a delay in “turning off” the inflammatory response. It is this continued inflammation in response to an inciting event (in the setting of a blunted adrenal gland) that may significantly contribute to the development of fibromyalgia. Following this line of thinking, adrenal fatigue may be present more often than we think in someone with fibromyalgia. This is why it is important to not only ask your healthcare practitioner about adrenal fatigue, but also to be aware of the potential signs and symptoms of it as well.

The symptoms of adrenal fatigue are many, and in many ways can overlap with the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Some symptoms that you should be on the lookout for can include:

  • Feeling tired and drained all of the time
  • Dizziness and lightheadedness, especially when you stand up
  • Battling recurrent infections (signs of a very depressed immune system)
  • Dealing with digestive problems
  • Craving salt

The evaluation of adrenal fatigue is comprehensive and consists of blood, urinary, and salivary measurements of the hormone levels that the adrenal gland produces. These include not only hormones responsible for the maintenance of blood pressure such as cortisol, but also sex hormone levels, including DHEA, progesterone, and various forms of estrogen. Did you know that in situations of chronic stress that the adrenal glands actually can decrease production of these hormones in order to make more cortisol in an effort to deal with the sustained inflammatory response?

The treatment of adrenal fatigue is multidimensional, and includes improving nutrition, trying to get a good night’s sleep, vitamin and trace mineral substitution, the use of glandular extracts and/or bioidentical hormone replacement therapy if needed.

Some things you can do to help maintain and improve your adrenal health are:

  1. Eating a diet high in antioxidant value
  2. Get a good night’s sleep
  3. Take 1000mg of Vitamin C daily
  4. Take a B complex Vitamin daily

By Rich Snyder, DO

Rich has written several books, including What You Must Know About Kidney Disease, What You Must Know About Dialysis, as well as Adrenal Fatigue For Dummies.

References

  • Geiss A, Rohleder N et al. “Evidence for an association between an enhanced reactivity of interleukin-6 levels and reduced glucocorticoid sensitivity in patients with fibromyalgia.” Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2012 May;37(5):671-84.
  • Tanriverdi F, Karaca Z et al. “The hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis in chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia syndrome.” Stress. 2007 Mar;10(1):13-25.
  • Wingenfeld K, Heim V et al. “HPA axis reactivity and lymphocyte glucocorticoid sensitivity in fibromyalgia syndrome and chronic pelvic pain.”  Psychosomatic Medicine. 2008 Jan;70(1):65-72.

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Treatment

Supplements for Fibromyalgia that help with Sleep

Written by Sandy Cho, MD and reviewed by Julie A. Cerrato, PhD

These two supplements have shown to help people with Fibromyalgia get a restful night’s sleep.

Melatonin

Melatonin is a natural hormone that is helpful in helping you achieve a good night’s sleep. In those with FMS, one research article points out that melatonin levels are lower at night when sleeping compared to someone who does not have fibromyalgia. Supplementation with melatonin may also help pain in addition to improving the quality of sleep.

  • Start at low doses of 1-2 mg each night before going to sleep each night and increase slowly.

Valerian root

Valerian root is an herb that can help you get a good night’s rest. There have been several studies examining the efficacy of valerian root in the treatment of insomnia. In one review, the authors concluded that while further study was needed, valerian root seemed to able to improve the quality of sleep without experiencing any significant side effects.

Agosti R, Duke RK, Chrubasik JE, Chrubasik S. Effectiveness of Petasites hybridus preparations in the prophylaxis of migraine: a systematic review. Phytomedicine 2006;13(9-10):743-6.
Dall’Acqua S, Viola G, Giorgetti M, Loi MC, Innocenti G. Two new sesquiterpene lactones from the leaves of Laurus nobilis. Chemical & pharmaceutical bulletin 2006;54 (8): 1187–1189.
Gilmore B, et al. Treatment of acute migraine headache. American Family Physician. 2011;83:271-280.
Hildreth C, Lynm C, Glass R. Migraine Headache. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2009;301(24):2608.
NINDS Migraine information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Schoenen J, Jacquy J, Lenaerts M. Effectiveness of high-dose riboflavin in migraine prophylaxis. A randomized controlled trial. Neurology. 1998 Feb;50(2):466-70.
Vaughan T. The role of food in the pathogenesis ofmigraine headache. Clin Rev Allergy. 1994;12:167-180.

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Treatment

Supplements for Fibromyalgia that Relieve Pain and Inflammation

Written by Sandy Cho, MD and reviewed by Julie A. Cerrato, PhD

These three supplements have shown success in helping people with fibromyalgia get relief from the pain and related inflammation.

Bioflavonoids

Good antioxidant support is vital in the treatment of Fibromyalgia. Bioflavonoids are excellent antioxidants that can relieve pain and inflammation. Bioflavonoids that have been studied in the treatment of fibromyalgia include turmeric and quercetin. Quercetin may be especially effective as it has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic properties.

    • Turmeric can be taken as a 400 mg capsule daily or as a powder that can be sprinkled on each meal.
    • Quercetin can be taken as a capsule. Usual starting dose is 500 mg a day.

Wobenzym N

This is an enzyme supplement that is used in the treatment of inflammation and pain. Enzymes in this supplement include bromelain (from pineapple) and papain (from papaya).

  • If you have allergies to pineapples or papaya, do not take this supplement.
  • It is best taken on an empty stomach; be aware that you may need to take 6-12 tablets a day for an inflammatory response.

Morinda citrifolia (Noni)

This is a tropical plant from East Asia that has been used for many years. It has anti-inflammatory properties and can help in the treatment of pain.

    • Noni can come in capsule or juice form. If you take the juice form, begin at 1 ounce twice a day and increase slowly to 4-6 oz a day.
    • Some forms of Noni can have a high potassium content so if you have kidney disease you need to be mindful of this.
    • Extremely high doses of this may have an adverse effect on the liver, although this is controversial. The several ounces a day that we mention here is very low dosage of this supplement.
  • Armstrong DJ, Meenagh GK et al. “Vitamin D deficiency is associated with anxiety and depression in fibromyalgia.” Clinical Rheumatology. 2007 Apr;26(4):551-4.
  • Bramwell B, Ferguson S et al. “The use of ascorbigen in the treatment of fibromyalgia patients: a preliminary trial.” Alternative Medicine Reviews. 2000 Oct;5(5):455-62.
  • Bent S, Padula et al. “Valerian for sleep: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” American Journal of Medicine. 2006 Dec;119(12):1005-12.
  • Cordero MD, Cotain D et al. “Oral coenzyme Q10 supplementation improves clinical symptoms and recovers pathologic alterations in blood mononuclear cells in a fibromyalgia patient.”  Nutrition. 2012 Nov-Dec;28(11-12):1200-3.
  • Geenen R, Jacobs W et al. “Evaluation and management of endocrine dysfunction in fibromyalgia.” Rheumatic Diseases Clinics of North America. 2002 May;28(2):389-404.
  • Ki Cha B, Man Jung S et al. “The effect of a multispecies probiotic mixture on the symptoms and fecal microbiota in diarrhea-dominant irritable bowel syndrome: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.” Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology. 2012 Mar;46(3):220-7.
  • Lucas HJ, Brauch CM et al. “Fibromyalgia–new concepts of pathogenesis and treatment.” International Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology. 2006 Jan-Mar;19(1):5-10.
  • Teitelbaum J, Johnson C et al. “The use of D-ribose in chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia: a pilot study.” Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2006 Nov;12(9):857-62.
  • Wikner J, Hirsch U et al. “Fibromyalgia–a syndrome associated with decreased nocturnal melatonin secretion.” Clinical Endocrinology. 1998 Aug;49(2):179-83.
  • Wilhelmsen M, Amirian I et al. “Analgesic effects of melatonin: a review of current evidence from experimental and clinical studies.” Journal of pineal Research. 2011 Oct;51(3):270-7.
  • Younger J, Noor N et al. “Low-dose naltrexone for the treatment of fibromyalgia: findings of a small, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, counterbalanced, crossover trial assessing daily pain levels.” Arthritis and Rheumatism. 2013 Feb;65(2):529-38.

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Treatment

Supplements for Fibromyalgia that Help with Nutrition

Written by Dr. Rich Snyder and reviewed by Julie A. Cerrato, PhD, AP, CYT, CAP

Magnesium, vitamin D and vitamin C supplementation,  have shown helpful to a person with fibromyalgia in balancing their nutrition levels.

Magnesium

The role of low magnesium levels in the body and its importance in inflammation, pain, and fatigue is being researched. In one review article, the authors noted lower levels of zinc and magnesium than in the control groups. Magnesium supplementation is necessary to help counteract the fatigue and pain associated with fibromyalgia. Certain medications, such as diuretics, can lower your magnesium levels. There are several ways to increase your magnesium intake:

  • Increase the amount of leafy green vegetables, seeds (sunflower and sesame for example) and nuts (almonds and Brazil nuts for example) which contain a lot of magnesium. You should strive to at least consume 600-800 mg a day.
  • If needed, magnesium can also be supplemented either orally or in a gel or oil formulation applied directly to the skin. Chelated magnesium is a form of magnesium taken orally without the heavy metals. This can be started once a day and increased to twice a day for a total dose of 400-600 mg. Note that very high doses of magnesium can cause diarrhea. Magnesium Malate is a form of magnesium that is very well absorbed.
  • An alternative is to apply Magnesium gel or oil to your skin once or twice daily. If you have been told that you have kidney problems, you may need to have blood levels of your magnesium level followed and limit your magnesium intake.

Vitamin D

The role of Vitamin D deficiency in the development of fibromyalgia is being evaluated; however, in one research article it was noted that in evaluating over seventy-five patients who had been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, over two-thirds had low or low-normal Vitamin D levels. The authors of this study also noted that occurred very frequently in those patients with depression and anxiety. Don’t forget that Vitamin D supplementation is vital for your overall bone and muscle health.

  • Ask your healthcare provider to measure a Vitamin D level, which is a simple blood test.
  • Begin Vitamin D3 at 1000 Units daily with food. Because it is a fat soluble vitamin, it is better absorbed with food.

Vitamin C

Remember that Vitamin C is an antioxidant; in terms of cellular health, because it is an electron donor, it helps to reduce oxidative stress and keep the cells in a reduced or natural state. We think that supplementation with Vitamin C may be beneficial. In one small study, 12 individuals with fibromyalgia were given a combination of 100 mg of Vitamin C and broccoli powder. They were closely followed over a period of one month. By the end of the month the participants in the trial reported an improved quality of life and reduced sensitivity to pain. Deficiency of this vitamin can directly impact adrenal health, and FMS can cause a lot of stress on the adrenal glands and is strongly associated with the development of adrenal fatigue, which is strongly associated with Fibromyalgia Syndrome.

  • The ester form of Vitamin C is better absorbed than other formulations.
  • Vitamin C at a dose of 2000 mg a day is a good starting dose.
  • Armstrong DJ, Meenagh GK et al. “Vitamin D deficiency is associated with anxiety and depression in fibromyalgia.” Clinical Rheumatology. 2007 Apr;26(4):551-4.
  • Bramwell B, Ferguson S et al. “The use of ascorbigen in the treatment of fibromyalgia patients: a preliminary trial.” Alternative Medicine Reviews. 2000 Oct;5(5):455-62.
  • Bent S, Padula et al. “Valerian for sleep: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” American Journal of Medicine. 2006 Dec;119(12):1005-12.
  • Cordero MD, Cotain D et al. “Oral coenzyme Q10 supplementation improves clinical symptoms and recovers pathologic alterations in blood mononuclear cells in a fibromyalgia patient.”  Nutrition. 2012 Nov-Dec;28(11-12):1200-3.
  • Geenen R, Jacobs W et al. “Evaluation and management of endocrine dysfunction in fibromyalgia.” Rheumatic Diseases Clinics of North America. 2002 May;28(2):389-404.
  • Ki Cha B, Man Jung S et al. “The effect of a multispecies probiotic mixture on the symptoms and fecal microbiota in diarrhea-dominant irritable bowel syndrome: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.” Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology. 2012 Mar;46(3):220-7.
  • Lucas HJ, Brauch CM et al. “Fibromyalgia–new concepts of pathogenesis and treatment.” International Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology. 2006 Jan-Mar;19(1):5-10.
  • Teitelbaum J, Johnson C et al. “The use of D-ribose in chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia: a pilot study.” Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2006 Nov;12(9):857-62.
  • Wikner J, Hirsch U et al. “Fibromyalgia–a syndrome associated with decreased nocturnal melatonin secretion.” Clinical Endocrinology. 1998 Aug;49(2):179-83.
  • Wilhelmsen M, Amirian I et al. “Analgesic effects of melatonin: a review of current evidence from experimental and clinical studies.” Journal of pineal Research. 2011 Oct;51(3):270-7.
  • Younger J, Noor N et al. “Low-dose naltrexone for the treatment of fibromyalgia: findings of a small, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, counterbalanced, crossover trial assessing daily pain levels.” Arthritis and Rheumatism. 2013 Feb;65(2):529-38.

Categories
Treatment

Supplements for Fibromyalgia that Boost Energy

Written by Dr. Rich Snyder and reviewed by Julie A. Cerrato, PhD, AP, CYT, CAP

Two supplements have shown promise in increasing the energy in a person with fibromyalgia.

D-ribose

There are studies concerning fibromyalgia that tout the energy boost of D-ribose. D-ribose increases the energy to all of the cells of the body, especially the muscle cells. Supplementing with D-ribose can provide your heart with the energy boost that it needs.

  • D-ribose commonly comes in capsule or powdered form. The powdered form is preferred as you can add it to your morning drink.
  • Even though ribose is a “sugar” it will not raise blood glucose levels.
  • The recommended starting dose is 2500 mg. Increase by 2500 mg every few weeks to reach a maximum dose of 10,000 mg.
  • Higher doses than 10,000 mg can cause diarrheal symptoms in some people.

Coenzyme Q10 (Ubiquinone)

Replacement of this antioxidant can help improve fibromyalgia symptoms. It has been reported that those with fibromyalgia, as well as other chronic illnesses, can have lower than normal levels of ubiquinone in the body.

  • Begin with low doses at 50-100 mg daily and increase to twice a day after several weeks. Smaller doses taken during the day maximizes its absorption.
  • As ubiquinone can lower blood pressure, you need to closely monitor your blood pressure
  • If you have diabetes, monitor your blood glucose levels as ubiquinone can lower blood glucose levels as well.
  • Armstrong DJ, Meenagh GK et al. “Vitamin D deficiency is associated with anxiety and depression in fibromyalgia.” Clinical Rheumatology. 2007 Apr;26(4):551-4.
  • Bramwell B, Ferguson S et al. “The use of ascorbigen in the treatment of fibromyalgia patients: a preliminary trial.” Alternative Medicine Reviews. 2000 Oct;5(5):455-62.
  • Bent S, Padula et al. “Valerian for sleep: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” American Journal of Medicine. 2006 Dec;119(12):1005-12.
  • Cordero MD, Cotain D et al. “Oral coenzyme Q10 supplementation improves clinical symptoms and recovers pathologic alterations in blood mononuclear cells in a fibromyalgia patient.”  Nutrition. 2012 Nov-Dec;28(11-12):1200-3.
  • Geenen R, Jacobs W et al. “Evaluation and management of endocrine dysfunction in fibromyalgia.” Rheumatic Diseases Clinics of North America. 2002 May;28(2):389-404.
  • Ki Cha B, Man Jung S et al. “The effect of a multispecies probiotic mixture on the symptoms and fecal microbiota in diarrhea-dominant irritable bowel syndrome: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.” Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology. 2012 Mar;46(3):220-7.
  • Lucas HJ, Brauch CM et al. “Fibromyalgia–new concepts of pathogenesis and treatment.” International Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology. 2006 Jan-Mar;19(1):5-10.
  • Teitelbaum J, Johnson C et al. “The use of D-ribose in chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia: a pilot study.” Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2006 Nov;12(9):857-62.
  • Wikner J, Hirsch U et al. “Fibromyalgia–a syndrome associated with decreased nocturnal melatonin secretion.” Clinical Endocrinology. 1998 Aug;49(2):179-83.
  • Wilhelmsen M, Amirian I et al. “Analgesic effects of melatonin: a review of current evidence from experimental and clinical studies.” Journal of pineal Research. 2011 Oct;51(3):270-7.
  • Younger J, Noor N et al. “Low-dose naltrexone for the treatment of fibromyalgia: findings of a small, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, counterbalanced, crossover trial assessing daily pain levels.” Arthritis and Rheumatism. 2013 Feb;65(2):529-38.

Categories
Treatment

Yoga for Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a syndrome that involves widespread muscle pain that appears to be a result of the tightening and thickening of the myofascia, which is the thin tissue that holds the muscles together. Symptoms of fibromyalgia include fatigue, muscle and joint pain, trouble sleeping, and digestive problems. One way to holistically manage fibromyalgia is with yoga.

Yoga is one of the oldest known health practices in the world. It teaches mind and body unity through physical postures, breathing exercises and meditation to help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, regulate the heart rate and even slow the aging process.

A main symptom of fibromyalgia is chronic muscle pain and tightness. Yoga increases muscle endurance and flexibility through simple poses and focused breathing that gently stretch the muscles and create a condition of ease throughout the body.

While yoga may involve little movement, the mind is connected to every pose, which provides discipline, awareness and a relaxed openness, all of which help regulate functions like the heartbeat and the breath. Physical tensions in the body, such as the pain and tightness of fibromyalgia, then ease into a state of relaxation.

Fibromyalgia also can cause fatigue and trouble sleeping. As yoga’s gentle stretching and focused breathing help soothe the pain of tight muscles and create a sense of calm throughout the body, it becomes easier to sleep more soundly. This solid night’s sleep leads to more energy and less fatigue.

People who have fibromyalgia might experience feelings of anxiousness or depression and decreased energy. Yoga helps create a heightened sense of peace and awareness, which may help reduce stress and tension, both physically and emotionally. Yoga breathing practices help get rid of any choppiness in the breath and promote a smoothly flowing breath. The smooth breath results in the smooth flow of thoughts, which calm the restlessness of the mind and create clarity, improved focus and more energy.

Tension or migraine headaches are another symptom of fibromyalgia. Yoga helps ease headache pain because yoga promotes vascular and muscle relaxation. Simple yoga breathing practices such as slow, deep breathing for as little as five minutes can trigger a relaxation response in the muscles throughout the body.

Janet McKenzie, Naturopathic Doctor of Summit Natural Health Centre adds, “Yoga is a fantastic treatment for those with fibromyalgia because it addresses all the areas fibromyalgia impacts: body, mind and spirit.  Because yoga can easily be adapted to a person’s limitations, it is particularly well-suited for those whose pain or fatigue prevents them from engaging in more strenuous activities, while still allowing progress to more physically demanding routines over time.  If you could only use one natural treatment for your fibromyalgia, this would be the one to choose.”

A regular yoga practice can help people with fibromyalgia gain muscle flexibility, feel less pain and tightness, achieve greater focus, gain energy, sleep more soundly and more. The emotional, physical and psychological benefits of engaging in a regular yoga practice are worth exploring for fibromyalgia relief and beyond.

 

REFERENCES

Reviewed by Janet McKenzie, ND

Written by Jessica Braun
Jessica is a writer and an editor at WholesomeONE. She can be reached at jessica.braun[at]wholesomeone[dot]com.

  • Alternative Medicine, the Definitive Guide
  • Photo credit: flickr.com/photos/grandvelasrivieramaya/3179397829

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Fibromyalgia Infographic – Pain & a Holistic Approach

This infographic was created from the information found on the WholesomeONE Fibromyalgia page which offers natural holistic approaches for treating Fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia Infographic - Pain & a Holistic Approach

 

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Fibromyalgia Statistic Infographic

This infographic contains various data on Fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia Statistic Infographic

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Fibromyalgia Symptoms

This infographic on the early symptoms of Fibromyalgia.

FibromyalgiaSymptomsInfographic

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Fibromyalgia Natural Treatments

Written by Dr. Rich Snyder and reviewed by Julie A. Cerrato, PhD, AP, CYT, CAP

Fibromyalgia is a syndrome that overall is characterized by diffuse pain and overwhelming fatigue that can be debilitating. The treatment of Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) involves an integrative treatment plan that involves treating

The treatment of Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) involves an integrative treatment plan that involves treating mind, body, and spirit. Find fibromyalgia natural treatments here.

Overview

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a syndrome that overall is characterized by diffuse pain and overwhelming fatigue that can be debilitating. There are several characteristics of the fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS). They can include:

  • Significant joint and muscle pain. Health professionals have identified “trigger points” that are present throughout the body that can elicit pain in particular areas when mild pressure is applied. The affected person with FMS can complain of pain all over the body.
  • Significant fatigue, especially with moderate physical exertion. Some people report requiring days to recover from what some may consider to be only mild physical exertion.
  • The person can complain of being unable to get a good night’s sleep.
  • The person may complain of frequent headaches and may also suffer from depression
  • Recurrent abdominal pain, diarrhea and/or constipation which may be due to associated Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

What causes Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS)?

The specific cause of fibromyalgia is not known; however, the development of FMS has been typically thought to occur after a significant “stressor.” The stressor may involve a recent illness, including any recent physical or psychological trauma. For some people, the stressor can be as simple as taking an antibiotic that can alter the bowel flora and precipitate a flare of FMS. The role of Candida overgrowth needs to be considered as a significant contributor to the development of FMS.

There has been a lot of research done on the pain receptors in the body. These receptors may do more than just modulate pain; they may also have a role in the development of FMS but also autoimmune diseases/rheumatologic syndromes.

Is Fibromyalgia Syndrome an autoimmune condition?

No, Fibromyalgia Syndrome is NOT an autoimmune condition. Note, however, that FMS may occur on its own but can also occur in the presence of other autoimmune diseases.

What other medical conditions are associated with FMS?

Fibromyalgia can be strongly associated with many other conditions. They can include:

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
  • Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
  • Adrenal Fatigue (There is a very close relationship with this condition)
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease  (GERD)
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Interstitial cystitis (IC)
  • Depression

What are the conventional treatments for FMS?

The conventional treatments for FMS involves the use of prescription medication to reduce the pain and disability associated with this condition. Commonly prescribed medications include:

  • Pregabalin (Lyrica): This medication works by treating nerve and/or muscle pain and is indicated by the FDA for the treatment of FMS. This medication is usually dosed 75 mg twice a day with dose adjustments needing to be made if kidney disease is present. Side effects can include lethargy, weakness, swelling and allergic reactions.
  • Duloxetine (Cymbalta): This is a medication also used for the treatment of pain, including nerve pain. It has been used in the treatment of depression as well. Potential side effects can include drowsiness, easy bruising, decreased appetite and/or constipation.
  • Tricyclic antidepressants have also been used in the treatment of not only pain but also of depression.  Other antidepressants, including Fluoxetine (Prozac) and Sertraline (Zoloft), have also been studied not only for the treatment of depression but also for pain with fibromyalgia. The medications can have what is called “anticholinergic” side effects which can include dry mouth, constipation, and urinary retention.

Holistic Treatment & Evaluation

Developing a Holistic Treatment Plan for FMS

The treatment of Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) involves an integrative treatment plan that involves treating mind, body, and spirit. Only using  prescription medications is simply not enough for the treatment of this condition. The treatment plan includes correcting nutrient deficiencies, treating pain and inflammation, searching for underlying causes of FMS, evaluating for hormonal imbalance, as well as treating the person so she can get a good night’s rest.

Getting a Holistic Based Evaluation

If you have fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), you need a detailed and personalized evaluation. This means looking for and identifying any causes of inflammation and potential infections, including Lyme disease. In addition, you should ask your healthcare provider about the following:

  • Hormonal Analysis: Fibromyalgia can be associated with many hormonal imbalances, including decreased levels of the hormones by the adrenal gland (adrenal fatigue). These can include sex hormones. Low hormone levels can also contribute to fatigue and insomnia among others.
  • The testing mentioned above is a combination of blood, urine, and saliva testing.
  • Testing for nutrient deficiencies and toxicities: There are some personalized profiles, including hair analysis that should be considered.

Nutrition

Forming a solid nutritional plan is vital as those with FMS may be nutrient-depleted. The pain can be so debilitating that one may not feel like eating. It can be very difficult to eat three meals a day. If the food that one is eating is low in nutritional value and is high in Omega 6 content, this can promote further inflammation and pain. Without proper nutrition, your body will not be able to heal. Modifying your diet and supplementation of the correct nutrient deficiencies are key in the treatment of FMS. Your diet should have high antioxidant and high nutritional value.

Anti-Inflammatory Diet

A diet that is plant-based in nature and emphasizes fruits and vegetables and whole grains is necessary in the treatment of fibromyalgia. You want to as much as possible eliminate refined foods from your diet. Be aware of any food sensitivities that you may have that can exacerbate underlying inflammation and pain. Any food has the ability to stimulate an inflammatory response. One of the most common examples of this is gluten in celiac disease. On an anti-inflammatory diet, all possible sources of food sensitivities are eliminated and then reintroduced one at a time.

  • Another way is to have your blood tested for food sensitivities.
  • Be aware that different foods, even among fruits and vegetables, can have different degrees of inflammation. There is a great site at www.nutritiondata.com that has an  inflammatory index that can tell you the inflammatory power of the foods that you are eating. You want to focus on foods that have a high anti-inflammatory index.

Juicing for Fibromyalgia

Other Nutritional Recommendations:

  • Stay away from sugar: Sugar can be a potent source of inflammation. Eliminate this from your diet, and you can see a change in how you feel as well.  Sugar can also promote Candida overgrowth in the intestine which stimulates an inflammatory response via mycotoxins.
  • Juicing in the morning is a great way to start the morning and get a great anti-oxidant kick to start your day.

Intestinal Health

You read about the connection between Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS). Maintaining a healthy intestinal tract reduces total body inflammation and is very important in the treatment of FMS. This aspect in the treatment of FMS is not emphasized enough. The microflora of the intestinal tract plays such an important role in the modulation of the immune system. Altered gut flora can play a major role in your ability to absorb nutrients, and it can contribute to fungal overgrowth.

Supplements for FibromyalgiaProbiotics

These should be a mainstay in any inflammatory condition. They can normalize the bowel flora and replace the bad bacteria with the good intestinal microflora. Studies specific to their benefits in FMS have been mixed, but they do have an effect on immune system modulation and are often included in any anti-inflammatory regimen. In one review article from the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, the use of probiotics provided adequate relief in the treatment of diarrhea-predominant IBS.

Digestive enzymes

Consider the use digestive enzymes to help digest food completely which helps in absorption. The ability to maximally absorb nutrients can be affected in those with chronic inflammation.

Fiber

Don’t forget the importance of including fiber in your nutrition program. Not only is it  vital for overall bowel health but it can also “bind up” toxins in the intestine and help eliminate them from the body.

Supplements

Supplementing Naturally

There are different supplements that have a role in the treatment of Fibromyalgia Syndrome. Supplements can help increase energy to the cell and the body, reduce pain and inflammation, help you get a good night’s sleep, and provide nutritional value.

Supplements that Boost Energy to the Cell

D-ribose

There are studies concerning fibromyalgia that tout the energy boost of D-ribose. D-ribose increases the energy to all of the cells of the body, especially the muscle cells. Supplementing with D-ribose can provide your heart with the energy boost that it needs.

      • D-ribose commonly comes in capsule or powdered form. The powdered form is preferred as you can add it to your morning drink.
      • The recommended starting dose is 2500 mg. Increase by 2500 mg every few weeks to reach a maximum dose of 10,000 mg.
      • Even though ribose is a “sugar” it will not raise blood glucose levels. Higher doses than 10,000 mg can cause diarrheal symptoms in some people.

Coenzyme Q10 (Ubiquinone)

Replacement of this antioxidant can help improve fibromyalgia symptoms. It has been reported that those with fibromyalgia as well as other chronic illnesses can have lower than normal levels of ubiquinone in the body.

    • Begin with low doses at 50-100 mg daily and increase to twice a day after several weeks. Smaller doses taken during the day maximizes its absorption.
    • As ubiquinone can lower blood pressure, you need to closely monitor your blood pressure. If you have diabetes, monitor your blood glucose levels as ubiquinone can lower blood glucose levels as well.

Supplements that Help Boost Nutrition

Magnesium

The role of low magnesium levels in the body and its importance in inflammation, pain, and fatigue is being researched. In one review article, the authors noted lower levels of zinc and magnesium than in the control groups. Magnesium supplementation is necessary to help counteract the fatigue and pain associated with fibromyalgia. Certain medications, such as diuretics, can lower your magnesium levels. There are several ways to increase your magnesium intake:

  • Increase the amount of leafy green vegetables, seeds (sunflower and sesame for example) and nuts (almonds and Brazil nuts for example) which contain a lot of magnesium. You should strive to at least consume 600-800 mg a day.
  • If needed, magnesium can also be supplemented either orally or in a gel or oil formulation applied directly to the skin. Chelated magnesium is a form of magnesium taken orally without the heavy metals. This can be started once a day and increased to twice a day for a total dose of 400-600 mg. Note that very high doses of magnesium can cause diarrhea. Magnesium Malate is a form of magnesium that is very well absorbed.
  • An alternative is to apply Magnesium gel or oil to your skin once or twice daily. If you have been told that you have kidney problems, you may need to have blood levels of your magnesium level followed and limit your magnesium intake.

Vitamins for FibromyalgiaVitamin D

The role of Vitamin D deficiency in the development of fibromyalgia is being evaluated; however, in one research article it was noted that in evaluating over seventy-five patients who had been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, over two-thirds had low or low-normal Vitamin D levels. The authors of this study also noted that occurred very frequently in those patients with depression and anxiety. Don’t forget that Vitamin D supplementation is vital for your overall bone and muscle health.

    • Ask your healthcare provider to measure a Vitamin D level, which is a simple blood test.
    • Begin Vitamin D3 at 1000 Units daily with food. Because it is a fat soluble vitamin, it is better absorbed with food.

Vitamin C

Remember that Vitamin C is an antioxidant; in terms of cellular health, because it is an electron donor, it helps to reduce oxidative stress and keep the cells in a reduced or natural state. We think that supplementation with Vitamin C may be beneficial. In one small study, 12 individuals with fibromyalgia were given a combination of 100 mg of Vitamin C and broccoli powder. They were closely followed over a period of one month. By the end of the month the participants in the trial reported an improved quality of life and reduced sensitivity to pain. Deficiency of this vitamin can directly impact adrenal health, and FMS can cause a lot of stress on the adrenal glands and is strongly associated with the development of adrenal fatigue, which is strongly associated with Fibromyalgia Syndrome.

    • The ester form of Vitamin C is better absorbed than other formulations.
    • Vitamin C at a dose of 2000 mg a day is a good starting dose.

Supplements that Relieve Pain and Inflammation

Bioflavonoids

Good antioxidant support is vital in the treatment of Fibromyalgia. Bioflavonoids are excellent antioxidants that can relieve pain and inflammation. Bioflavonoids that have been studied in the treatment of fibromyalgia include turmeric and quercetin. Quercetin may be especially effective as it has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic properties.

    • Turmeric can be taken as a 400 mg capsule daily or as a powder that can be sprinkled on each meal.
    • Quercetin can be taken as a capsule. Usual starting dose is 500 mg a day.

Wobenzym N

This is an enzyme supplement that is used in the treatment of inflammation and pain. Enzymes in this supplement include bromelain (from pineapple) and papain (from papaya).

  • If you have allergies to pineapples or papaya, do not take this supplement.
  • It is best taken on an empty stomach; be aware that you may need to take 6-12 tablets a day for an inflammatory response.

Morinda citrifolia (Noni)

This is a tropical plant from East Asia that has been used for many years. It has anti-inflammatory properties and can help in the treatment of pain.

    • Noni can come in capsule or juice form. If you take the juice form, begin at 1 ounce twice a day and increase slowly to 4-6 oz a day.
    • Some forms of Noni can have a high potassium content so if you have kidney disease you need to be mindful of this.
    • Extremely high doses of this may have an adverse effect on the liver, although this is controversial. The several ounces a day that we mention here is very low dosage of this supplement.

Supplements That Can Help You Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Melatonin

Melatonin is a natural hormone that is helpful in helping you achieve a good night’s sleep. In those with FMS, one research article points out that melatonin levels are lower at night when sleeping compared to someone who does not have fibromyalgia. Supplementation with melatonin may also help pain in addition to improving the quality of sleep.

    • Start at low doses of 1-2 mg each night before going to sleep each night and increase slowly.

Valerian root

This is an herb that can help you get a good night’s rest. There have been several studies examining the efficacy of valerian root in the treatment of insomnia. In one review, the authors concluded that while further study was needed, valerian root seemed to able to improve the quality of sleep without experiencing any significant side effects.

Exercise

You need to be very careful when designing an exercise program. Strenuous activity and/or high intensity exercise can actually be counterproductive in someone with fibromyalgia. This does not mean that you will not be able to tolerate any and all exercise regimens. It means that you need to be careful, start slowly, and find out what your own limits are and increase very slowly and carefully. Meditative-based exercises can be very beneficial for someone with fibromyalgia.

Yoga for Fibromyalgia

  • Yoga: Yoga is a great way to increase muscle endurance and flexibility. It is important to start slowly and work with a certified instructor to learn the right way to do each exercise. Yoga is especially effective if started in the early stages of this condition.
  • Tai chi is another great meditative-based exercise that should be incorporated into your regimen.
  • Muscle Resistance Training: Whether you are using free weights or machines, you need to start with very low weight and lower repetitions. You need to know your limits. A good rule of thumb is to exercise until you begin to experience mild fatigue, but don’t push beyond that point. If you do, again, it can be counterproductive and you can feel worse the next day.
  • In addition to the exercise regimen mentioned above, you should also consider seeing someone who is holistically trained in helping you regain more function and flexibility. This can include seeing a structural integration specialist, chiropractor, and/or specialist in osteopathic manipulation. In general, gentle myofasical/massage techniques are preferred as again you may not be able to tolerate a deep massage.

Mind & Spirit

Tai Chi for FibromyalgiaAn important aspect of healing with fibromyalgia is recognizing the connection between mind, body and spirit. The mental and emotional aspects of treatment cannot be ignored.

  • Daily meditation is vital to calm the mind and body.
  • Daily prayer can help relax the mind and body.
  • FMS is often associated with trauma, especially emotional trauma. Helping one to recover from emotional trauma is essential to recovery. Talking with a counselor or advisor can be very helpful.
  • The role of family and friend support cannot be emphasized enough.

Updated: November 2019

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  • Bent S, Padula et al. “Valerian for sleep: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” American Journal of Medicine. 2006 Dec;119(12):1005-12.
  • Cordero MD, Cotain D et al. “Oral coenzyme Q10 supplementation improves clinical symptoms and recovers pathologic alterations in blood mononuclear cells in a fibromyalgia patient.”  Nutrition. 2012 Nov-Dec;28(11-12):1200-3.
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  • Lucas HJ, Brauch CM et al. “Fibromyalgia–new concepts of pathogenesis and treatment.” International Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology. 2006 Jan-Mar;19(1):5-10.
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Categories
Treatment

Meditation for Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia has notable physical symptoms that attack the body: wide-spread pain, chronic fatigue, and notable tender spots in the upper body. Common treatments include physical therapy and medication to help treat the overall symptoms. New studies show that combining neuroscience and meditation may offer a new direction in treating Fibromyalgia.

The theory behind neuroscience and meditation combining to understand and treat Fibromyalgia treatments builds from an emotional and mental approach. According to research, Fibromyalgia sufferers have a neurological pathway that translates the way they feel pain differently than most. This pathway makes the chronic symptoms feel magnified and more centralized than the average person. Combined with an overall lower threshold for pain statistically, Fibromyalgia subjects feel their symptoms on a much higher level than the average person.

Meditation is the practice of focusing thought and energy on a specific thought – in this case, the symptoms of Fibromyalgia. Since studies show that those diagnosed with Fibromyalgia translate pain differently on a subconscious level, it would stand to reason that meditation could be used to effectively treat the symptoms. Building on the theory of neuroplasticity – the thought that nerve cells within the brain have the ability to change themselves – incorporating meditation should have the power to bring the mind to a level of consciousness that can alter how pain is perceived.

Along with its tendency to incorporate relaxation techniques, meditation can retrain the brain to experience Fibromyalgia symptoms differently and bring relief for tension, fatigue, and depression often associated with the illness. Just in general practice, meditation has shown significant success in creating balance for anyone that wants to experience less stress and tension on a muscular and emotional level.

With the brains ability to mold itself and the research continually expanding, it is entirely possible that meditation could become a front-runner in the treatment of Fibromyalgia. The mental capabilities of a person far outshine most medications without the use of harsh narcotics or chemical supplement. This may be a new opportunity to not only treat Fibromyalgia, but to ultimately cure it with both meditation and neuroscience studies.

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