Fibromyalgia sufferers must contend with more than just the chronic pain associated with the disorder. Patients must also deal with the accompanying symptoms of fatigue, sleep irregularity and depression. Other symptoms of fibromyalgia include memory and concentration problems, tingling in the hands and feet, migraines and irritable bowel syndrome. Fibromyalgia is most common among women aged 30 to 50. While the underlying cause of fibromyalgia remains unknown, there are some health related triggers that can be associated with the onset of the disorder. Infections, physical trauma and long periods of heightened emotional and physical stress have all been linked to the emergence of fibromyalgia symptoms.
There is no recognized cure for fibromyalgia, and conventional medicine can only treat the symptoms with a series of anti-seizure medications, muscle relaxants, anti-depressants and general pain relievers. Patients suffering with the symptoms of this disorder often find themselves placed on a seemingly endless regimen of drug therapy. But there are natural alternatives to a drug dependent therapy. Diet, exercise, meditation and physical therapy offer a path to pain free living, without the use of drugs and chemicals.
While the cause of fibromyalgia remains undiscovered, recent studies have shown a correlation between the worsening of symptoms and the dietary habits of the patient. People suffering with fibromyalgia should keep a food journal, keeping a record of what they eat each day and making a note of their symptoms. Often, patients will find that certain foods may trigger certain fibromyalgia symptoms, such as fatigue, irritability, headaches and joint pain (arthritis). The use of a food journal can help patients identify foods that trigger attacks, and so eliminate them from their diet.
In addition to eliminating those foods that trigger the symptoms of fibromyalgia, patients need to consider adding the right nutrients to their diet. Magnesium malate has been shown to help alleviate the pain and tenderness associated with fibromyalgia, as has regular doses of vitamin D. The best source for these vitamins is, of course, through diet. Magnesium malate can be found in artichokes, pumpkin seeds and bananas. Vitamin D is naturally occurring with sun exposure or supplementation.
Fibromyalgia sufferers often find that they are also subject to depression, mood swings and chronic headaches. These symptoms can be addressed by balancing the neurotransmitters in the brain and omega-3 to one’s diet. These nutrients can work to alleviate the more common mental and emotional symptoms of fibromyalgia. Again, obtaining these nutrients from a healthy diet is the preferred choice. Carnitine can be found in asparagus and avocados; while omega-3’s are prevalent in flaxseed, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds and walnuts. For those fibromyalgia sufferers who find it difficult to obtain these nutrients directly from their diet, supplements can be taken to meet their need. It should be noted however, that many over the counter supplements contain gluten, and gluten intolerance has been linked to instances of fibromyalgia. Patients will want to look for supplements that are guaranteed gluten-free.
Exercise and Physical Therapy
The chronic pain of fibromyalgia often makes it difficult for patients to undertake an exercise routine. This is understandable, however exercise can play a vital role in not only strengthening the body, but also in managing the anxiety and depression that many fibromyalgia patients endure. Patients can begin with a light physical routine, such as walking for a half hour around their neighborhood, slowly building up the strength and resilience necessary to undertake more strenuous exercise.
Those sufferers, who find it impossible to take up an exercise routine due to chronic pain, may consider therapies like pulsed cold laser and pulsed electromagnetic magnetic field for pain management. After treatments to help alleviate their chronic pain, they may then be able to begin a light exercise routine on their own.
Meditation and the Mind-Body Interface
Fibromyalgia sufferers can find increased relief from the chronic pain and mood imbalances associated with the disorder through meditation and prayer. By meditating on the word of God, and rejoicing in his works, patients can find a center of strength and calm that enables them to transcend the pain of fibromyalgia, and release themselves from the accompanying depression and anxiety. Prayer can alleviate the daily stresses that accompanies fibromyalgia, while devotion, praise and worship can help sufferers find the inner peace and tranquility that seems so elusive.
Fibromyalgia sufferers face many challenges in their day to day lives. The pain, depression and anxiety can seem overwhelming, but through healthy nutrition, exercise, prayer and meditation on God’s word, sufferers can find the much needed relief they seek.