What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a disease that causes pain, tenderness, and fatigue in the muscles of the body, including the neck, shoulder, back, hip, and legs. Pain occurs when pressure is put on the affected area.
Anyone can develop fibromyalgia, but it is seen to be more common in middle-aged people with a history of rheumatoid arthritis or any other autoimmune disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention fibromyalgia is known to affect 2% of the adult population in the United States.(1)
People with fibromyalgia may experience insomnia, headaches, painful menstruation, morning stiffness, numbness and tingling in hands and feet, temperature sensitivity, restless leg syndrome, and sensitivity to loud noises. Fibromyalgia is also known to interfere with activities of daily living.
Fibromyalgia is difficult to cure but with medication, lifestyle changes, and natural remedies the symptoms can be managed.
8 Effective Natural Remedies for Fibromyalgia
Getting good sleep is a type of healthy living. It is also crucial for the management of fibromyalgia as being well-rested helps in combating fatigue. There are a few practices that can help in getting good quality sleep, these include:
- Minimizing day naps
- Avoiding screen time just before sleep
- Giving a gap of 2-3 hours between eating a heavy meal and going to bed
- Avoiding alcohol
- Limiting noise and light at bedtime
- Avoiding caffeine intake at bedtime
A review found a clear link between fibromyalgia and poor sleep quality and the researchers called for the development of sleep strategies to help people with fibromyalgia sleep well.(2)
People with fibromyalgia may find exercising difficult but with regular practice gradually it would get easier and can bring in benefits. But, it is important for them to speak with the doctor before exercising. A physical therapist can help set up a suitable program for exercise. In a review it was found, doing regular aerobic exercise including swimming, walking and cycling more likely improved the quality of life in people with fibromyalgia.(3) It can improve pain, fatigue and also lead to better function.
It is important for people with fibromyalgia to rest as they get fatigued easily. Excessive activity and exercise can lead to an increase in pain and fatigue, therefore, moderation is the key. Pushing themselves too hard may make them feel unwell.
Diet and Supplements
Eating a healthy and well-balanced diet, exercising, reducing the use of caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and illegal drugs help in reducing stress and improving mood.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, the effectiveness of dietary supplements in relieving fibromyalgia symptoms is being investigated.(4) The supplements include:
Many people report that stress worsens their symptoms. Studies identify links between psychological distress and fibromyalgia.(5)
Stress can be managed through:
- Keeping in touch with friends
- Joining support groups
The Center for Disease Control states that yoga, massage, and meditation can help people manage fibromyalgia naturally.
Acupuncture is traditional medicine in which the practitioner inserts needles in the specific trigger points on the body. These needles are believed to change the blood flow and chemical level and help in relieving the pain and discomfort of fibromyalgia naturally.
A review found low-to-moderate evidence that acupuncture helps in benefiting people with fibromyalgia and improving pain and stiffness.(6)
Massage is well-known natural remedy to treat sore muscles and joints. It gently manipulates the body to increase the range of motion, reduces stress, promotes relaxation, and relieves pain. A review in 2014 found that massage therapy for 5 weeks or more significantly improved pain, anxiety, and depression in people with fibromyalgia.(7)
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
Transcranial magnetic stimulation uses magnets to activate specific parts of the brain. It is also approved by the FDA to treat some forms of depression.(8) In research, initially promising results were reported. However, some reported headaches post treatment.(9)
Anyone with pain can seek medical help. Doctors also recommend self-help methods to relieve symptoms. It is important for someone to find a doctor who understands the disease and has experience in caring for people with any condition and pain disorder.
- FAQ on Fibromyalgia: Symptoms, 11 Painful Trigger Points, Causes, Risk Factors
- Is Fibromyalgia Pain Real?|Are Opioids an Effective Treatment for Fibromyalgia
- Fibromyalgia (FM or FMS): Epidemiology, Pathophysiology, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Prognosis, Treatment, Tests
- Can a Right Diet Help With Fibromyalgia
- Yoga for Fibromyalgia: 4 Best Asanas To Relieve Painful Tender Points
- 10 Best Exercises For Fibromyalgia
- What Happens When You Have Fibromyalgia?