In America alone, 1 in 50 people suffer from fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes chronic pain and is not fully understood by doctors. The extreme pain caused by the condition has led to experimentation and research for finding treatments that can alleviate the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
While some research is focusing on isolating the cause and finding medications that can reduce or eliminate the pain caused by fibromyalgia, other studies have uncovered natural ways to ease the effects of this illness.
The natural remedies mentioned here may not work for everyone, but some may enjoy a measure of relief. It will take a process of trial and error to determine what works best for you. The important thing is to keep looking for better ways to reduce pain flare ups and manage your condition to the best of your ability.
The first step in naturally managing fibromyalgia pain is by adjusting your diet. There are a number of things you can do to reduce pain, starting with increasing your vitamin D intake. A deficiency of vitamin D often causes the same type of pain brought about by a fibromyalgia flare up and, in many cases, patients with a vitamin D deficiency required twice as many pain killers.
Also, adding Omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce inflammation and pain. In a 2007 study, it was found that patients experienced less morning stiffness and painful joints after just three months of taking Omega-3 fatty acid supplements. While this study did not include fibromyalgia patients, they do experience the same kinds of inflammation.
Additionally, caffeine intake should be reduced to promote better sleep. One aspect of fibromyalgia is the affect it has on the individual's sleep patterns and adding caffeine to the mix can only complicate the situation. Doctors also recommend eating more fruits and vegetables, especially those containing vitamins A, C, and E. These vitamins and other nutrients found in fresh produce help to fight free radicals, which is essential to reducing oxidative stress. Many researchers postulate that oxidative stress contributes to the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia symptoms can also be managed with lifestyle changes, particularly if you're used to living a sedentary lifestyle or if you let stress eat away at you. Physical activity may be unthinkable at times, but it's important to stay active. When you exercise, you're helping to treat your fibromyalgia in a number of ways. Building muscle strengthens your body and builds resistance against pain and the act of exercise causes endorphins ("feel good hormones") to flood the brain.
Additionally, letting stress build up can affect the way you view your condition and can make the pain flare ups seem stronger and more frequent. It's important to take time for yourself each day. Engage in relaxation techniques such as meditation or deep breathing exercises. If that doesn't relax you, consider setting aside some time every day to do something you enjoy doing.
Both exercise and reducing stress will help you do one other thing known to help fibromyalgia sufferers and that is to sleep better. Many people struggle with sleep, but, if you wear yourself out with physical activities, engage in meditation and limit caffeine intake, you may be able to get more sleep and experience a better quality of sleep.
Other Natural and Home Remedies
Yoga has been found to reduce pain flare ups for fibromyalgia patients. In one study, female fibromyalgia patients participated in an eight week yoga class. The sessions were 75 minutes, twice weekly. The women reported less pain and examinations revealed that they had less stress hormones in their blood.
There are many natural amino acids and some are showing to have some benefit to fibromyalgia sufferers. Research is ongoing in testing how it affects the symptoms of fibromyalgia. A review of a study was published in Rheumatology International, suggesting that some amino acids can reduce fatigue, pain, and anxiety.
Acupuncture is another treatment that is showing promise for patients trying to cope with fibromyalgia pain. The practice involves a trained practitioner inserting small needles into the body at predetermined points. A collection of nine studies has been done on a total of 395 patients. Many patients reported experiencing improvement of pain and muscle stiffness.
Tai Chi has also been shown to improve pain and discomfort brought on by fibromyalgia. This is a form of Chinese martial arts that involves gradually moving the body through a series of poses. In a study published by New England Journal of Medicine, subjects took a 60 minute class twice a week over a period of three months. The Tai Chi classes resulted in improved fibromyalgia symptoms. This included less pain and stiffness, better sleep and an overall better outlook on life.