In this article, we’ll look at fibromyalgia natural treatment, including:
But first lets look at what is fibromyalgia, fibromyalgia symptoms and fibromyalgia causes.
What is Fibromyalgia?
It is a common syndrome of chronic widespread soft-tissue pain accompanied by weakness, severe fatigue, and sleep disturbances. It is non-inflammatory in nature.
The word comes from the Greek myos meaning “muscle”, the Greek algos meaning “pain”, and New Latin fibro meaning “fibrous tissue”.
Fibromyalgia symptoms can range from mild to severe. For some, just going to the street to get the mail from their mailbox can be difficult. Other people live normal lives with occasional flareups of fibromyalgia symptoms.
Fibromyalgia symptom checklist
Here is a fibromyalgia symptom checklist of other fibromyalgia symptoms commonly associated with this syndrome:
- Dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation)
- Migraines and headaches
- Severe fatigue
- Fibromyalgia fog, also called fibro fog, dyscognition or brain fog (confusion, memory lapse, word mix-ups and concentration difficulties)
- Irritable bladder
- Twitchy muscles at night (nocturnal myoclonus)
A doctor determines a fibromyalgia diagnosis based on the following criteria:
- Widespread pain lasting longer than 6 months
- Fibromyalgia trigger points which are found on 18 specific locations of the body. A person needs to be tender in 11 of these 18 fibromyalgia trigger points.
Western Medicine Fibromyalgia Definition
There are no definitive tests or blood-work labs associated with this syndrome. Instead, it is diagnosed based on fibromyalgia symptoms, including widespread pain in the body, fibromyalgia trigger points and severe fatigue. One of the most notable fibromyalgia symptoms is 18 fibromyalgia trigger points that cause significant pain when touched. Over 70% of people with a fibromyalgia diagnosis are also diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Western medicine does not definitively know the actual fibromyalgia causes but recognizes it has strong associations with sleeping disorders, depression and anxiety and that fibromyalgia symptoms appear after a traumatic event. One hypothesis is that it is caused by an infection but this has yet to be proven.
Western Fibromyalgia Treatment
- Lyrica (pregabalin)
- Sleep medication
- NSAIDs; Western medicine often prescribes pharmaceutical pills to lessen the symptoms. Analgesics, such as Tylenol, or NSAIDs are used to lessen the experienced pain. Anti-convulsive drugs like Lyrica are commonly prescribed as well as a range of anti-depressant pills. Sleeping pills might also be a part of the regimen.
Fibromyalgia Natural Treatment
My mentor, Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa spent ten years of his clinical practice working mainly with people who have this syndrome. I am very grateful to have studied with him extensively and brought many of his successful ideas and clinical pearls to people I’ve worked with.
Khalsa likes to say that the best fibromyalgia natural treatment is for a person to rent a house on a calm island for a year (or a cabin in the woods) along with a housekeeper and personal chef and just sleep and sleep and sleep. The reason for this is because this syndrome can be seen as the effects of a long-term sleeping disorder. Unfortunately, the above solution is not a possibility for most people.
As is the case for most chronic diseases, there is no magic herbal pill that will easily take all the symptoms away. Instead, we need to work with a variety of modalities to effect the whole person and provide the best fibromyalgia natural treatment.
It is possible to recover fully from this syndrome but it is also important to be realistic about the journey. While a person should expect to be continually feeling better, they will also have good days and bad days. The experience may feel like two steps forward, one step back, for a long time. Again, the person is getting better, but has frequent setbacks. Depending on how long the person has had this syndrome it could take a year or more for fibromyalgia symptoms to fully resolve.
Herbs for Fibromyalgia
Several kinds of herbs can be used as part of a fibromyalgia natural treatment.
Sedative Herbs for Fibromyalgia
This syndrome can be seen as a chronic sleep disorder. Relaxing nervines that promote sleep can be used to achieve deep and restful sleep throughout the night. Not all sedative herbs work the same way for everyone. The constitution of the person and the energetics of the herbs need to be taken into consideration.
Adaptogen Herbs for Fibromyalgia
Adaptogens support the body’s resiliency to stress. One way to think about adaptogens is deep nourishment and support for the nervous system. Some adaptogens, like Withania somnifera, promote sleep at night and energy throughout the daytime, which is crucial for people with this syndrome.
Anodyne Herbs for Fibromyalgia
Anodyne herbs can help reduce the pain and discomfort that someone is experiencing.
Carminative Herbs for Fibromyalgia
Carminative herbs promote digestion and can be an important part of healing a leaky gut, which is often a factor here.
Immunomodulating Herbs for Fibromyalgia
Immunomodulating herbs gently yet effectively support a person’s immune system. They are frequently used for people with immune system concerns such as autoimmunity, frequent colds and flus, and seasonal allergies.
Fibromyalgia and Exercise
Regular exercise is very important for people with this syndrome. However, it is very easy for a person to overdo it and be left feeling worse! Therefore, it is imperative that fibromyalgia exercises are supportive and gentle. A person should always start very slowly and then slowly increase their exercise in a way that feels good to them. This might mean a gentle walk around the block every day and then each week going a bit further.
Tai Chi and Qi Gong can provide lasting benefits. These gentle movements can be done in the home or in a class. They can increase strength and improve balance.
Gentle yoga practices can also support someone who is looking for fibromyalgia exercises. Again, it’s important to start off as gently as possible and slowly increase in intensity to avoid having a setback. Many people find that the stretching and strength asanas in yoga help with fibromyalgia pain management.
Good sleep habits are crucial. Some of the best herbs for fibromyalgia are herbs that can help a person to achieve deep restful sleep each night.
Having a sleep routine, going to bed the same time each night, and napping (if needed) throughout the day are other ways a person can support their overall health.
Fibromyalgia and magnesium
Probably the best of the fibromyalgia supplements may be magnesium. Magnesium is not a magical-silver-bullet fibromyalgia cure by any means but it is a very important piece to the puzzle. Several studies have been done on fibromyalgia and magnesium, all showing beneficial results with decreased pain and improved sleep.
Other fibromyalgia supplements that are often beneficial include:
Vitamin D3 supplementation (based on test results)
Digestion can play a really important role in a person’s overall health. Someone with this syndrome should be evaluated for a leaky gut and molecular mimicry. If this pathophysiology is suspected, an elimination diet as well as gut-healing protocols should be taken into consideration.
The best diet for fibromyalgia is one that is full of nutrient-dense and
organic foods such as brightly-colored vegetables, healthy fats and
pastured meats, and supportive grains such as rice and quinoa.
Fibromyalgia and Food Allergies
Avoiding common allergens such as gluten, dairy and soy is another important step for creating the best diet for fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia syndrome is painful and often-time debilitating. While there may not be one magical-silver-bullet fibromyalgia cure, a comprehensive fibromyalgia natural treatment supports someone’s overall health through diet, herbs, supplements and exercise that will bring lasting relief to someone dealing with this painful syndrome.
I’ve worked with many people who have been given a fibromyalgia diagnosis and I’ve helped them move beyond this syndrome and lead a healthier life. If you are interested in a fibromyalgia natural treatment, I would love to work with you!