Fibromyalgia is a neurological condition that impacts an estimated five million adults in the United States, mostly women, and is characterized by widespread tenderness and pain, often accompanied by fatigue, impaired memory and other physical complaints.
Fibromyalgia may not be curable, but it is manageable. What can you do to ease Fibromyalgia pain? If you’re one of the millions of sufferers, try these all-natural tips for easing the pain.
Healing Foods & Herbs. Your food should be your first line of defense. The following foods and herbs are beneficial for pain management.
Essential fatty acids are a diet must. EFAs, like Omega-3s, are necessary fats that have a natural anti-inflammatory quality along with a wide array of other health benefits.
Try this: Wild salmon is a great source of Omega-3s, as are other fatty fish like halibut, albacore tuna and sardines. No-go to fish? Flaxseed oil and canola oil are good choices, as well as walnuts, winter squash, broccoli and cauliflower. Montmorency cherries are a super fruit known for their distinctive sour-sweet flavor and unique nutrient profile; these tart, tiny powerhouses have been proven to help maintain muscle strength, reduce overall pain and improve sleep because of the concentrated levels of anti-inflammatory anthocyanins and sleep-enhancing melatonin.
Turmeric is known as a natural painkiller; Fresh ginger helps with inflammation; Capsaicin applied topically may be beneficial for relieving pain; Feverfew has been found useful for treating migraines; and Ginseng is known to be beneficial for Fibromyalgia pain treatment.
Note: Before trying herbal remedies for pain relief, always consult with your physician or a trusted medical professional.
Boost Your Vitamins and Minerals. Fibromyalgia sufferers are more likely to be deficient in certain vitamins and minerals. B vitamins are essential for normal muscle function, a healthy nervous system and the production of serotonin, the mood-lifting chemical.
Try this: A daily multivitamin should contain all the B vitamins you need. A lack of the sunshine-derived Vitamin D has also been shown to be a factor in developing fibromyalgia. Emerging research has found that sufferers experience a significant improvement when treated with Vitamin D supplements. It is thought to work by boosting levels of serotonin and the sleep hormone melatonin.
Sufferers should have an adequate intake of Zinc, too, as stress depletes the body’s reserves, which can lead to abnormal pain responses, confusion and poor concentration, as well as adequate Chromium consumption as it’s essential in balancing blood-sugar levels. A fall in these can lead to physical and mental symptoms such as fatigue, poor concentration and memory. Good sources include meat, oats, mushrooms and lentils and whole meal bread.
Exercise Your Aches Away. Exercise has been shown to have great psychological and physical benefits for Fibromyalgia sufferers – when done in moderation.
Try this: Non-weight-bearing exercises such as swimming in warm water has been shown to significantly reduce symptoms. While swimming, the joints and muscles are supported and the warm water helps to soothe and relax the muscles, easing pain and stiffness.
Soak up the wellness. More and more research indicates that Fibromyalgia patients suffer from magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is extremely important to many functions in the body, and a deficiency can cause several of the symptoms associated with Fibromyalgia. There are big benefits in taking an Epsom salt bath. Relaxing and therapeutic, Epsom salt baths flush toxins and heavy metals from the cells, ease muscle pain and reduces inflammation, help the body to eliminate harmful substances, and even improves absorption of nutrients.
Try this: take two or three a week – more if your pain level dictates. Before bed is the ideal time, as you will find yourself so relaxed by the natural serotonin boost, you’ll easily fall asleep.
Just Breathe. Yoga, meditation, and many other mind-body practices teach the healing properties of purposeful breathing. Conscious breathing can actually change your body chemistry by increasing oxygen supply to your cells and prompting the production of endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkillers. Deep breathing also relaxes the muscles and calms the mind.
Deep breathing will bring you more in-tune with your body. It is something we should all practice everyday, regardless of our level of pain.
Practice Mindfulness. Many sufferers say symptoms are triggered or worsened by stress and anxiety. It is thought stress hormones such as cortisol affect the balance of cytokines, a type of white blood cell.
Chronic stress causes the production of these cells to be permanently disrupted, triggering inflammation and autoimmune responses within the body. Studies have found that sufferers have disrupted levels of cytokines and the more disrupted they are, the greater the intensity of pain experienced.
Try this: Along with mindful breathing, keeping a stress diary may help identify and avoid external triggers for flare-ups.
Employ the Healing Power of Percussive Massage. Myofascial release and trigger-point focused therapies are often done to relieve the pain of tight muscles that have trigger points, often associated with Fibromyalgia. A breakthrough treatment for soft tissue pain, percussive massage accelerates the growth and repair of tissues by providing concentrated, rapid, short-duration pulses deep into the tissues of the body. This heavily increases blood flow to the area causing pain relief and increased range of motion and function.