Are you one of the millions of people who suffer from fibromyalgia? If so, you know how debilitating the pain and stiffness can be. Luckily, there are natural remedies that can help lessen your symptoms. Here are 10 of the best!
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Fibromyalgia is a condition that can cause an abundance of symptoms, including digestive disturbance, trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, headaches and facial pain, fatigue, muscle stiffness, and of course, severe pain.
There are ongoing active studies on the treatment of fibromyalgia symptoms. Your doctor should be your primary source of knowledge to advise on the best treatment options for your specific situation.
► How to Find the Right Doctor for Fibromyalgia
Along with the conventional medical treatment for fibromyalgia, fortunately, you can do a few different things to reduce and relieve the symptoms.
In the following post, we’ll discuss 10 of the most widely used, all-natural forms of treatment for your fibromyalgia pain.
Most of the following treatments can be done in the comfort of your home and combined with the current medical treatments you may be receiving.
Hopefully, you can begin to live a healthier and more pain-free life with fibromyalgia with pain relief strategies.
Important Note: It’s essential that you seek advice and approval from your healthcare provider before making any drastic changes to your diet, exercise, or supplement intake.
1. REGULAR EXERCISE
Exercise is essential to keeping joints and muscles strong, warmed up, and moving. Make sure to always discuss your weight and exercise routine with your physician before following any workout plan.
Remember that exercise doesn’t have to mean intensive workouts, going to a gym, lifting weights, and running on treadmills.
Whether walking around your home, gardening or taking the stairs, regular movement can do wonders to relieve fibromyalgia pain.
It's natural to feel concerned that exercise may worsen your fibromyalgia pain. Still, research has shown that suspicion can be untrue and quite the opposite.
Researchers have discovered that short bursts of lifestyle physical exercise, ten minutes or less, can help reduce fibromyalgia pain.
► Physical Activity To Ease Fibromyalgia
Beyond the strengthening and stretching you get from exercise, maintaining a healthy weight contributes in many other ways, such as reducing the strain on muscles and joints.
If you are overweight, discuss ways to reach your optimal healthy weight with your doctor and set yourself up for long-term success rather than short-term results.
Along with the symptoms of fibromyalgia, you’ll be improving your overall mental and physical well-being, helping to control other ailments your body may face as you age. For example, a strong body and a strong mind can do wonders for pain management!
2. HOT & COLD TREATMENTS
One of the most effective natural treatments for fibromyalgia pain includes hot and cold treatments. However, these treatments often depend on your individual needs, so ask your doctor or physiotherapist which will be better for your specific symptoms.
Cold Therapy can help reduce joint swelling and inflammation. Cold therapy is the most often recommended type of treatment for people with rheumatoid arthritis, bursitis, and tendonitis.
You can alternate hot and cold treatments as needed but continuously monitor how your skin reacts and adjust or discontinue.
Cold treatments should be limited to 20-minute sessions. Here are some ways you can use cold therapy:
Apply a cloth-covered ice pack to the painful area.
Submerge the joint in an ice bath. NOTE: Check with a doctor before submerging, especially if it is a large body area.
Simple cold packs kept in fridge or freezer, applied when needed.
Heat therapy is often helpful for most people with fibromyalgia and in conjunction with cold treatments. The heat relaxes your muscles and helps blood flow to the painful areas.
Heat treatments need to be monitored and adjusted depending on your body's reaction.
There are several heat treatments widely used by people living with fibromyalgia:
Start your day with a warm shower or hot bath to improve blood circulation and relax muscles.
Apply a heat rub, like Deep Heat, onto painful muscles.
Apply a heating pad, heat pack, or another warm heat source to the affected pain points.
When using heat therapy, always make sure to maintain a comfortable heat level.
Hot tubs and Sauna Blankets are also excellent ways to cover larger body areas. Still, they always check with your physician first, as heat treatments should be used cautiously for those with certain health conditions.
Acupuncture is a treatment that has been around for centuries as Chinese Medicine. This process involves a medical professional trained in the art of inserting thin needles into specific pressure points on your body.
Acupuncture focuses on rerouting the energy stored behind your pain and balancing it throughout the body. It may sound gimmicky, but studies have shown that acupuncture lowers inflammation-inducing chemicals in the body.
Acupuncture is also one of the most researched alternative therapies in the world. The World Health Organization even recommends acupuncture for over 100 health conditions.
Make sure to speak to your doctor and get a referral, if necessary, to find the right practitioner for you.
► Acupuncture Treatment for Fibromyalgia.
4. OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS
Omega-3 fats have made the headlines for some time now, and for a good reason. They are essential to a healthy and strong body.
Omega-3 are good fats, primarily found in plants and marine life. Two main types of Omega-3 are most commonly found in oily fish.
EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid)- EPA is the most well-known Omega-3. EPA not only helps to break down and synthesize those chemicals responsible for blood clotting but also helps dramatically with inflammation.
Fish oil contains an abundance of EPA. EPA fish oil is also available as a supplement.
DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid)- DHA is another essential Omega-3 fat. DHA is abundant in the human body and makes up the eye and brain's critical parts, particularly the cerebral cortex.
The cerebral cortex is responsible for our intellect, personality, motor functions, organization, touch, sensory information processing, and language. All these things are essential to our everyday existence and can contribute to managing pain.
You can find Omega-3s in various food, not just fish oil. These foods include nuts, cold-water fish like salmon and tuna, seeds, and other supplements.
Regardless of your pain management abilities, Omega-3 fats should be a regular addition to your healthy and active lifestyle. Check with your doctor or a nutritionist to see which form of Omega-3 best fits your lifestyle.
Eat more turmeric. Turmeric is a widely used herb in the alternative treatment of fibromyalgia because it's an excellent antioxidant. Antioxidants in food can help enhance your immune system, increase energy, and decrease pain and inflammation.
In addition, turmeric contains curcumin, which gives turmeric its yellow color and anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin aids in alleviating muscle pain and discomfort and aid muscle recovery in physically active people.
Dried turmeric herb is ground into a spice. It can be used widely in recipes, from smoothies and nut milk lattes to rice and vegetable dishes—pair turmeric curcumin with black pepper for increased absorption.
6. MASSAGE THERAPY
Massage therapy can have long-lasting effects on pain management. The Arthritis Foundation suggests that a regular massage helps soothe the pain and improve anxiety and depression with fibromyalgia.
If you've ever gotten a massage, you know that it can significantly increase your mood. This effect is because massages boost serotonin levels in your body, a chemical that contributes to happiness and well-being.
You might not know that massage therapy can also lower the body's production of cortisol. This stress-inducing hormone also helps the production of a neurotransmitter, Substance P. Substance P has a strong link to pain.
There are several studies, most notably in 2013 by researchers at the Touch Research Institute and in 2015 by the University of Miami School of Medicine. The research showed that moderate touch massage therapy could reduce pain and improve grip, range of motion, and pressure.
Massage should be done by licensed professionals and is best performed by those with knowledge and understanding of fibromyalgia. It's best always to let your massage therapist know of any painful areas to avoid and work with them to find the best pressure for your body.
Also, don't hesitate to ask for at-home massage techniques you can do yourself between sessions.
7. AQUATIC THERAPY
Aquatic therapy, also known as hydrotherapy or pool therapy, is an exercise program done in water. It's beneficial for all types of people, especially those with fibromyalgia.
Aquatic therapy is usually performed under the guidance of an exercise therapist, swim instructor, or fitness coach. However, you can also do it alone if you are self-motivated, capable, and knowledgeable about performing pool exercises.
What makes exercising in a pool so worthwhile?
Water provides natural resistance, which intensifies the workout, though at the same time, provides buoyancy. The buoyancy supports your body weight, reducing pressure on your muscles and joints. Less pressure results in less inflammation, and less inflammation leads to less pain.
Pain isn't the only thing that you can improve with aquatic therapy. The intensity of your movements helps reduce body fat, improves your coordination your range of motion, and positively affects serotonin levels in the brain. So again, a less stressed body leads to less fibromyalgia pain.
You can find ongoing pain relief with aquatic therapy by increasing your sessions to up to an hour three times a week.
So, not only will you improve your fitness and reduce or maintain your weight, but you will find a mood-stimulating and pain-reducing exercise to help with your symptoms of fibromyalgia.
8. TAI CHI
Tai Chi is an ideal exercise for people with fibromyalgia who want to improve muscle strength, flexibility, and balance. Tai Chi supports all these things through a low-impact exercise routine.
Tai Chi is a slow-moving form of martial arts. The art is composed of slow and gentle movements, all easily modified for those with sore and stiff joints.
When muscles are strong, they help protect the joints, reducing pain. Flexibility keeps those joints loose and reduces stiffness. An increase in balance can help reduce the number of falls people with fibromyalgia who have mobility issues may experience. All of these things are the results of a regular Tai Chi workout.
According to a study from Tufts University and Brown University, Tai chi mind-body treatment results in similar or more significant improvement in Fibromyalgia symptoms than aerobic exercise for various outcomes for patients with fibromyalgia. According to this study, aerobic exercise is currently the most commonly prescribed non-drug treatment.
You can find Tai Chi classes privately through martial arts institutions and public programs. Many senior facilities also offer Tai Chi several times a week. Even those who use mobility aids or wheelchairs can benefit from modified movements.
Yoga is a gentle exercise to reduce the tension in joints and muscles, build muscle tone, and increase flexibility. Yoga is low-impact, making it suitable for people with fibromyalgia to practice regularly.
Some of Yoga's many benefits include:
Strengthening to improve physical function.
Improvement in flexibility reduces inflammation and stiffness.
Weight management is a benefit of yoga when combined with a healthy diet.
Strengthening the mind-body connection allows for better balance and understanding of the pains and stiffness you feel regularly.
As with all exercise routines, check with your physician before starting any regimen. If you are new to practicing yoga, it is best to seek instruction. Yoga facilities have grown worldwide, and you can take private and group classes.
► Restorative Yoga for Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia takes a toll on not just the body but also the mind. Meditation is something you can do anytime, anywhere. One of the most beneficial types of meditation for fibromyalgia is mindfulness meditation.
When you practice mindfulness meditation, you focus all your attention on what you are experiencing at that moment. A program to explore that focuses solely on this form of meditation is Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction or MBSR.
MBSR is used to help manage both pain and stress. Unfortunately, both these issues make fibromyalgia hard to deal with and can also contribute to a diminished immune system. A healthy immune system is essential in fighting off illness and keeping your body as pain-free and relaxed as possible.
In 2015, a randomized control trial of MBSR among women with fibromyalgia revealed that MBSR significantly reduced perceived stress and sleep disturbance and alleviated fibromyalgia symptoms.
It is incredible what the mind can do. This type of program can be easily incorporated into your daily routine without putting aside a ton of extra time or effort.
► Meditation Techniques for Fibromyalgia
As you've read, there are all-natural, effective pain management methods you can add to your daily life to help reduce pain and improve the quality of your life.
Regular exercise and weight management can help your body deal with the painful symptoms of fibromyalgia while also improving your health and wellness.
Adding to that, by increasing Omega-3s, adding a little turmeric into your diet, and engaging in low-impact exercises available, you could finally find some relief to your pains!
This post in no way suggests you should forgo the treatment plan between you and your doctor. Hopefully, by adding these suggestions to your day-to-day life, you may find the remedy to relieve that which medications do not.
I wish you the best on your new journey toward a stronger, more flexible, and pain-free future!
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