Over 5 million Americans (90 percent of which are women) suffer from fibromyalgia—arguably one of the most painful conditions ever known.
Sadly, this debilitating condition wasn’t even recognized as a bonafide illness until as recently as 1987! Before that, it was largely thought to be “all in someone’s head.”
Wow—all I can say is you’d have to have quite an imagination to dream up pain like that.
Like many other diseases, fibromyalgia is a mystery because no clear-cut cause has been determined.
But the good news is many people have gotten tremendous relief by helping to counteract some of the underlying triggers that have been associated with the disease!
Here’s what you must know about fibromyalgia and how to get safe, effective relief.
So much more than muscle aches!
The classic symptom of fibromyalgia is widespread chronic muscle pain. However, its effects go FAR beyond that and can include the following:
- Nervous/Mental: Overwhelming fatigue, impaired memory, and concentration, insomnia
- Musculoskeletal: Pain and stiffness of muscles, tendons, and ligaments, swollen joints, numbness, leg cramps
- Skin: Rashes, eczema, brittle hair or nails, hypersensitivity, excessive sweating
- Gastrointestinal: IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), leaky gut, gas, bloating, mucus in stools, constipation, reflux
- Genitourinary: Frequent urination, bladder spasms, yeast and bladder infections, burning discharge
- Head, ENT: Headaches, dizziness, vertigo, blurred vision, excessive nasal congestion, tinnitus (ringing in ears), sensitivity to light, sounds and odors, asthma, hay fever
- Miscellaneous: Weight gain, fever, lowered immunity
Fibromyalgia is difficult to diagnose because it’s not like there is a simple blood test or x-ray that can pick it up.
However, the American College of Rheumatology established specific criteria for diagnosing fibromyalgia, allowing physicians to diagnose someone if they show positive reactions to 11 of 18 specific tender areas of the body.
Current theories on fibromyalgia are centered on these specific triggering factors that can cause a weakened state of health which eventually can manifest as fibromyalgia:
- Unhealthy diet
- Lack of exercise
- Nutritional deficiencies
- A weakened immune system
- A traumatic emotional or physical experience
- Low levels of cell energy production
- Food and environmental allergies
How to get relief from fibromyalgia
The more you can address some of the underlying factors behind fibromyalgia, the better your chances of getting relief!
Here are measures you can explore:
Eat real (not processed) foods
An unhealthy diet is a significant contributing factor behind fibromyalgia, so ditch the fast food and processed junk and eat real foods.
Make the time to cook real foods. Many a delicious, nutritious meal can be prepared in half an hour or less! Check out Great Taste No Pain to get some good ideas and help improve your digestion too.
Avoid offending foods
These foods have been shown to worsen fibromyalgia symptoms in some people:
- Aspartame (NutraSweet)
- Food additives like MSG (monosodium glutamate) and nitrates
- Refined carbohydrates (sugar, white flour, and all products made with them)
- Nightshade vegetables (bell peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant)
Also, be sure to get tested for specific food and environmental allergies.
Supplement with vitamins D and B12
At least half of the people with fibromyalgia have vitamin D deficiency, and many have seen their symptoms literally disappear once supplementation was started!
Plus vitamin B12 is vital for proper cell energy production (which is a major concern for people with fibromyalgia).
Explore alternative therapies
Alternate therapies such as chiropractic, acupuncture, acupressure, trigger point release, massage therapy, yoga and physical therapy can all help reduce pain, ease stiffness and improve flexibility.
According to physical therapist Rena Hughes, PT, MS, Cert. MDT: Core stabilization and postural muscle strengthening help tremendously with any back and neck pain, and heat, ice, and TENS can offer pain relief in lieu of painkillers. Aquatic exercise in warm water is also good for relaxation and relief of pain and muscle spasms.
In addition, Certified yoga practitioner Nancy Chappell advises that focusing on meditation and breathwork in a yoga setting can help relax muscles and ease pain.
Get regular exercise
Regular exercise boosts your body’s endorphins (natural pain-fighting, feel-good molecules), it helps to naturally relieve stress, it can help improve flexibility and energy levels, it helps with quality of sleep and strengthens your bones and muscles.
Get your doctor’s OK and pick whatever activity works for you.
Encourage better sleep
Many fibromyalgia sufferers have chronically poor sleep. Be sure to avoid caffeine and alcohol before bedtime and go to bed the same time each night.
5HTP or melatonin supplementation may also be helpful.
Supplement with probiotics
Probiotics can help reverse imbalanced intestinal flora and ease allergies, both of which are triggers for fibromyalgia symptoms.
It’s important to use a product like Super Shield multi-strain probiotic formula which contains both bifidobacterium species (for the colon) and lactobacillus species (which beef up the small intestine)—that way you’re helping to support the health of your entire intestinal tract.
Reduce stress and get counseling if you need it
If you are under chronic stress and/or feel that a traumatic event may have triggered your fibromyalgia, please seek counseling. There are many skilled, caring practitioners out there that can help you.
The time has come for YOU to finally get real relief from fibromyalgia—so get going and start feeling better!