What is fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that is characterized by musculoskeletal pain , usually described as " numbness, stinging, burning, and stabbing sensation ". This disease can also be accompanied by sleep disturbances , fatigue and emotional distress .
Currently, fibromyalgia has no specific treatment and scientists are unsure of its causes. Standard treatments for fibromyalgia symptoms include painkillers, antidepressants, and anticonvulsants. They can help reduce symptoms such as pain , fatigue and insomnia .
For some people, however, these medications are not the ideal solution. They can cause side effects that make it difficult to take, and they may not provide adequate pain relief. This is why lifestyle changes and more natural remedies are often recommended. Below are some of the most popular natural remedies for fibromyalgia .
Natural Remedy #1: Yoga
Several studies suggest that yoga may help alleviate the symptoms of fibromyalgia . A 2012 study found that yoga, along with breathing exercises and meditation, improved fibromyalgia symptoms and coping skills. This remained true even three months after the initial study - provided the person continued to practice. A more recent case report from 2020 echoed these claims, finding that 9 months of yoga helped a person living with fibromyalgia experience reduced muscle fatigue and improved overall quality of life. A 2019 study also found that yoga seemed to ease pain symptoms and improve sleep, albeit modestly. Researchers warn that the longer one sticks to an actual yoga practice, the more it works on pain and sleep. They also state that more studies need to be conducted to better understand which people this natural remedy may benefit the most.
Natural Remedy #2: Meditation
Can meditation change the way your brain processes pain signals? The question is not yet settled, but it is clear that meditation can bring some relief to the pain of fibromyalgia. A 2015 clinical review found evidence that meditation can relieve the severity of fibromyalgia symptoms , as well as perceived stress. A more recent review from 2017 also concluded that mindfulness meditation can improve the intensity of pain, stress, and decrease the severity of symptoms in people living with fibromyalgia. The study goes on to say that more research needs to be done to find out if meditation really helps create physiological changes or if it just allows a person to better manage their symptoms.
Natural Remedy #3: Massage Therapy
Massage therapy can be very beneficial for a variety of conditions, including fibromyalgia. According to a 2014 review, people who were able to participate in massage for more than 5 weeks saw their symptoms of pain, anxiety, and depression improve . As with many other natural remedies, however, the researchers say more studies in larger numbers of people need to be done. Speak to your physiotherapist or your osteopath!
Natural Remedy #4: Exercise
While it can be difficult to motivate yourself to exercise when you're dealing with a flare-up of fibromyalgia-related pain, studies show that aerobic exercise and weight lifting are beneficial. In fact, a 2017 review found that aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercises are the most effective way to reduce pain and improve well-being for people with fibromyalgia . If you've never lifted weights before, be sure to speak with a certified personal trainer to learn some helpful moves to get started.
Natural Remedy #5: Acupuncture
Acupuncture is an ancient form of traditional Chinese medicine in which fine needles are inserted into the skin at various locations on the body. It is used to treat a multitude of problems. Some people believe that these needles alter blood flow and chemical levels, which can help relieve the pain and discomfort of fibromyalgia. A review of published articles on the topic found weak to moderate evidence that acupuncture may provide some benefits for people with fibromyalgia , such as improvement in pain and stiffness, but more research is needed to confirm. usefulness of this practice. According to another 2019 review, acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment for fibromyalgia , and may even be more effective than short- and long-term medications when it comes to pain management. Further large-scale studies need to be conducted before researchers can state with certainty the real effectiveness of this remedy in all areas.
Natural Remedy #6: Tai Chi
Tai chi is another ancient Chinese practice. It involves moving your body slowly and gently through a series of poses and has shown some potential for easing the symptoms of fibromyalgia . According to a 2018 study that followed 226 people with fibromyalgia for 52 weeks, practicing tai chi once or twice a week produced similar or greater improvement in fibromyalgia symptoms than aerobic exercise, making it makes an effective natural remedy.
Natural Remedy #7: Stress Management
Fibromyalgia is a stress-related pain condition , which means symptoms can worsen when stress hormones like cortisol rise. According to a 2019 study, stress management classes for women with fibromyalgia seem to reduce the pain they feel. According to the same study, counseling with cognitive behavioral approaches also reduced markers of inflammation and pain. People with fibromyalgia often have a history of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and should be screened and treated for it, as people with PTSD can experience stress more intense .
Natural Remedy No. 8: Food SupplementsSeveral studies have shown deficiencies in certain vitamins or trace elements in patients with fibromyalgia . There are particularly deficiencies in magnesium , vitamin B, D but also in selenium, zinc and iron. Serotonin precursors such as 5-HTP or the essential amino acid L-tryptophan have also shown beneficial effects in soothing fibromyalgia symptoms. Our laboratory has specially developed a food supplement for fibromyalgia patients. The latter includes all of these ingredients according to the quantities recommended during clinical studies. FM Complex for Fibromyalgia Relief is available here.
Natural Remedy #9: SleepGetting enough sleep is key to managing fibromyalgia symptoms. Being well rested helps combat the fatigue that accompanies illness . Practices that can help people get good quality sleep include:
- minimize daytime naps
- go to bed and wake up at the same time every day
- limit light and noise at bedtime
- avoid spending time in front of a screen just before sleeping
- leave 2 to 3 hours between when you eat a hearty meal and when you go to bed
- avoid alcohol and coffee before sleeping
A 2017 review established a clear link between fibromyalgia pain and poor sleep quality . Researchers have called for the development of sleep strategies to help people with fibromyalgia.
Natural Remedy No. 10: Exercise and Sport
Some people with fibromyalgia may find exercise difficult at first, but taking it slowly and persisting can be beneficial. As muscle strength develops, the pain and discomfort should decrease . People with fibromyalgia should consult a doctor before beginning an exercise program. A physiotherapist can help set up a suitable program. A systematic Cochrane review concluded that regular participation in aerobic exercise , such as swimming , walking , or cycling , is likely to improve the health-related quality of life of people with fibromyalgia. It can also lead to better physical function and reduced pain, fatigue, and stiffness . A neurological study found that a 15-week exercise program partially reversed an unusual type of brain activity that affects people with fibromyalgia when the brain is at rest. Participants also reported a decrease in symptom severity, although there did not appear to be a link between the two factors.
Natural Remedy #11: Rest
People with fibromyalgia tire more easily than people without the condition, and it's important to rest when needed. Trying to exercise too much or too many activities can increase pain and fatigue , so moderation is key. By overworking themselves when they feel well, patients risk multiplying the days when they do not feel well.
Natural Remedy #12: DietEating a balanced and healthy diet, exercising, and reducing the intake of caffeine, alcohol, nicotine products, and illicit drugs can help reduce stress and improve mood. Several patients report that support with a dietician or nutritionist has improved symptoms such as fatigue, mood disorders or muscle pain. A person's diet is an important part of any treatment plan. Certain dietary changes can help a person with fibromyalgia live with and manage their condition. These include in particular:
- Eat foods high in energy and low in sugar: Foods such as almonds, beans, oatmeal, avocado and tofu can help boost energy throughout the day, helping to fight the fatigue that occurs due to the affection.
- Cut out gluten-containing foods : Studies suggest that cutting out gluten-containing foods from the diet can help reduce fibromyalgia pain, even in people who don't have celiac disease.
- Avoiding Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols (FODMAPs): A 2017 study shows that a low-FODMAP diet may have promising effects on pain levels in people with fibromyalgia.
- Avoiding additives and excitotoxins: Although research is limited, one study found that avoiding the additives of aspartame and monosodium glutamate reduced symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Achieving or maintaining a moderate body weight and following a balanced diet are essential for overall health and can improve a person's quality of life. Studies have shown that people with both fibromyalgia and obesity experience improved quality of life and pain symptoms when they lose weight.
Natural Remedy #13: Ayurvedic Massage
Ayurvedic massage is a well-known treatment for sore muscles and joints in fibromyalgia patients . It comes from Ayurveda , traditional Indian medicine. It involves gentle manipulation of the body to increase range of motion, reduce stress , promote relaxation , and relieve pain . A 2014 systematic review found that 5 or more weeks of massage therapy led to significant improvements in pain, anxiety, and depression in people with fibromyalgia (all types of massage combined).
Natural Remedy #14: Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) uses magnets to activate specific parts of the brain. It is approved by the authorities for the treatment of certain forms of depression. Early research on this therapy showed promising results, but some people have reported headaches after treatment. Another review from 2016 concluded that one month of rTMS treatment improved quality of life.
Natural Remedy #15: Biofeedback Therapy
In biofeedback therapy , people use special equipment to monitor how their brain activity changes in response to specific events and situations . This can help them become aware of what is triggering their discomfort and give them insight into what changes they can make to help control it. One study claims that this technique has helped some people with fibromyalgia, but it notes that there is currently insufficient evidence to confirm its effectiveness.
Natural Remedy #16: Reiki
In Reiki, a practitioner places their hands lightly on a person to enable healing through the transmission of energy. Proponents and anecdotal evidence suggest that Reiki can help people with fibromyalgia. However, the scientific studies carried out have not made it possible to confirm this.
Everything you need to know about fibromyalgia:
Fibromyalgia is a common chronic syndrome that can cause widespread body pain , fatigue , and cognitive impairment . A person may confuse the symptoms of fibromyalgia with those of arthritis , or joint inflammation. It particularly affects women. Fibromyalgia can coexist with autoimmune disorders , such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and systemic lupus erythematosus , but it is by no means an autoimmune disorder. Fibromyalgia does not cause inflammation or damage to joints or muscles , but it can increase a person's sensation of joint or muscle pain.
The symptoms are as follows:
- generalized pain
- non-restorative sleep
- somatic and cognitive or psychiatric symptoms
Although there is no test for fibromyalgia, doctors may order lab tests and x-rays to rule out fibromyalgia-like conditions. There is a questionnaire to measure the quality of life of patients with fibromyalgia : the QIF. There is no known single cause of fibromyalgia. Genetics , traumatic emotional or physical events, sleep and mood disorders can all contribute to this condition. Currently, there is no cure for fibromyalgia . However, medications, exercise, acupuncture, and behavioral therapy can help relieve symptoms and improve sleep quality. The FM Complex for Fibromyalgia has been specially developed according to the needs of the patient.
Who are the patients who suffer from fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a common cause of widespread chronic musculoskeletal pain. About 1.6% of the French population suffers from fibromyalgia. Studies show that women born to mothers with fibromyalgia are more likely to be affected than men. It is estimated that 8 women are affected by fibromyalgia for every 1 man. A person may be more prone to fibromyalgia following a traumatic injury . Rheumatoid arthritis , other autoimmune diseases, such as lupus, and genetic factors can also increase the likelihood of developing this condition.
Common symptoms of fibromyalgia are:
- generalized pain
- joint and muscle stiffness after sleep
- sleep irregularities
- tingling and numbness in the hands and feet
- restless leg syndrome
- sensitivity to cold or heat
- memory and concentration difficulties, known as "fibro fog".
- irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- The following symptoms may also occur
- vision problems
- pelvic and urinary problems
- rapid weight gain
- cold or flu symptoms
- skin problems
- chest symptoms
- depression and anxiety
- post-traumatic stress disorder
- respiratory problems
Symptoms can appear at any time of life, but are most common between the ages of 30 and 50. To learn more about the symptoms of fibromyalgia click here
Fibromyalgia treatmentFibromyalgia can be difficult for one person to manage. A rheumatologist or other specialist will develop a treatment program to help manage the condition. It is usually a combination of pharmacological and non-pharmacological therapies. Because fibromyalgia is a syndrome , each person will experience a different set of symptoms, and an individual treatment plan will be required. Processing may include some or all of the following:
- a low-impact exercise program
- dietary supplement
- stress reduction technique
- psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- medications, such as antidepressants, muscle relaxants, and nerve pain medications.
Free fibromyalgia medications
A healthcare professional may recommend medications to treat certain symptoms . These may include over-the-counter pain relievers . However, in its 2016 updated guidelines, the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) issued a recommendation against the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to treat fibromyalgia . Doctors may also prescribe antidepressants, including duloxetine (Cymbalta) and milnacipran (Savella), and anti-seizure medications, such as pregabalin (Lyrica). A person should tell their doctor about any other medications they are taking to avoid side effects and interactions with other medications. To learn more about fibromyalgia treatments, click here .
Psychotherapy sessions can help people with fibromyalgia cope with pain symptoms. Behavior modification therapy is a form of CBT that aims to reduce behaviors that increase stress or pain and improve positive behaviors . It includes learning new coping techniques and relaxation exercises. CBT exercises can help reduce pain symptoms and aid in the long-term management of fibromyalgia . A 2017 trial found that emotional awareness and expression therapies can also have a positive impact on pain symptoms in people with fibromyalgia. Some people may also find that meditation can help alleviate stress and feelings of pain.
The causes of fibromyalgiaThe exact cause of fibromyalgia is unclear. However, current thinking in the field of rheumatology suggests that fibromyalgia results from a problem with pain processing in the central nervous system (CNS). Several factors can increase the risk of developing fibromyalgia, including:
- a stressful and traumatic physical or emotional event, such as a car accident
- repetitive injuries
- RA or other autoimmune diseases, such as lupus
- CNS problems
- how genes regulate how a person processes painful stimuli.
To learn more about the causes and risk factors of fibromyalgia click here Fibromyalgia can also be hereditary . Women who have a close relative with fibromyalgia have a higher risk of developing the condition. People with rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or spinal arthritis, called ankylosing spondylitis , have a higher likelihood of developing fibromyalgia , as do people with certain other rheumatic conditions.
Diagnosis of fibromyalgiaIt sometimes takes time to confirm the diagnosis of fibromyalgia because the symptoms resemble those of other conditions, such as:
- autoimmune disorders
- lyme disease
- pain and symptoms over the past week, as well as fatigue levels, non-restorative sleep, or cognitive issues
- symptoms present for at least 3 months
- the absence of another health problem that could explain the symptoms.