Fibromyalgia is one of the most common causes of chronic pain, and approximately 5 million Americans are currently living with the disorder. Medication can help manage symptoms, but many people use complementary treatments to naturally reduce fibromyalgia pain.
Chronic pain usually means exercise is the last thing on your mind. But physical activity has a positive effect on many people with fibromyalgia. Anything that increases your pulse rate will improve blood flow, which can help to relieve pain in sore muscles. Physical activity may also improve cognitive performance in patients with brain fog.
- Walking is one of the simplest and least expensive ways to get your heart rate up, whether it’s to the store or around the block.
- Cycling is a great aerobic exercise that’s easier on joints than walking and running. If climate or physical ailments make riding the real thing difficult, try a stationary bike at home or the gym.
- Start slow. If you’ve been living a sedentary lifestyle due to fibromyalgia pain, sudden increases in activity might make some symptoms worse.
- Gently stretch after exercise to reduce soreness the next day.
Combining warmth and weightlessness, water therapy can naturally reduce fibromyalgia pain.
- Swimming is a low-impact cardio exercise that doesn’t stress joints.
- Buoyancy helps you move more freely, and can make exercise more comfortable.
- Resistance from water provides more opportunity to gently build muscle compared with activities like walking.
- For people who don’t know how to swim or aren’t confident in the water, shallow water aerobics classes are a good alternative to swimming laps.
- Even soaking in a hot tub or bath can reduce fibromyalgia pain, and is a good choice for lower energy days.
Massage therapy can reduce pain, anxiety, and depression in patients with fibromyalgia. Several theories exist for why massage has a positive effect, including:
- Improved circulation improves muscle flexibility.
- Massage induces changes in serotonin levels that improve pain symptoms.
- Reducing stress and anxiety by promoting relaxation
The wrong massage could make fibromyalgia pain worse. Choose a registered massage therapist who has experience working with chronic pain, and be sure to communicate your needs before and during massage.
Sleep disturbance and insomnia are particularly difficult fibromyalgia symptoms. Lack of sleep can intensify pain and worsens anxiety and depression. Although practicing good sleep hygiene is more difficult for people with chronic pain, improving the quality of your sleep can naturally reduce fibromyalgia pain and improve your outlook during the day.
Hallmarks of good sleep hygiene include:
- Sticking to a sleep schedule that involves the same bedtime every night.
- Reducing screen time before bed. Blue light emitted by phone and computer screens can decrease melatonin production and make it harder to fall asleep. If you need to use a screen before bed, download an app that blocks blue light.
- Make your bedroom as comfortable as possible. Specialty items like a memory foam mattress topper or sheepskin pad help ease sore muscles in bed.
We don’t know exactly how it works, but mindfulness meditation seems to cause changes in the brain that reduce sensations of pain.
- Mindfulness meditation is about being present in the moment. It involves focusing on physical sensations like breathing rather than circulating thoughts.
- Meditation may be difficult or uncomfortable at first, and it’s a good idea to begin slowly.
- If you’re interested in learning more, look for an introductory class or open workshop.
Irritable bowel syndrome often comes along with fibromyalgia, causing intensified pain and discomfort. There’s no magic diet fix to eliminate fibromyalgia pain, but identifying triggering foods will limit these episodes.
- Processed foods, refined grains, and cheese are common causes of constipation.
- Soluble fibers (certain fruits and vegetables), wheat, dairy products, and fried fatty foods are likely causes of diarrhea.
- Keep a food diary and track daily GI symptoms like bloating, cramps, diarrhea and constipation. This can help you identify patterns in the types of food that cause you trouble.
Magnesium is an important mineral that helps the body synthesize protein and regulate nerve function. Treatment with magnesium brings symptom relief for some fibromyalgia patients. You can increase your magnesium intake by:
- Adding magnesium-rich foods to your diet. Spinach, beans and legumes are good sources of magnesium, while some foods like breakfast cereals are fortified with the mineral.
- Supplements are an alternative to food sources. Don’t take more than 350 mg of magnesium supplement per day unless specifically directed by your doctor.
Yoga is a good option for exercising with chronic illness. It’s a low-impact activity that improves flexibility and range of motion. With an emphasis on stretching and mindfulness, yoga practice also helps naturally reduce fibromyalgia pain.
If the thought of bending yourself into complex poses seems unbearable, look for a gentle yoga class or one that’s tailored to people with chronic pain.
Counselling and Support Groups
Chronic pain isn’t all in your head, but it definitely takes an emotional and psychological toll.
Counselling offers a safe and neutral outlet for you to vent frustrations. Learning techniques like cognitive behavioral therapy provides you with tools to manage the depression and anxiety that make pain worse. Check with your local association of counsellors to find someone who specializes in chronic pain or fibromyalgia.
Cannabis is being legalized for medical and recreational use in more states. And there’s a push to conduct more research into how cannabinoid chemicals can be used to treat chronic disease.
The studies that have been conducted show evidence of pain-relieving properties in cannabis. Especially in CBD (cannabidiol), a component of the plant that doesn’t produce a “high” like THC.
If you live in a state where cannabis is legal, talk to your doctor about which options may be safe for you to try.
Treat Fibromyalgia for Less
These natural remedies for fibromyalgia can improve symptoms and quality of life. But medication may still be part of your treatment program. On top of all the other costs associated with managing fibromyalgia, why pay more than you have to for prescription drugs? CanadianPharmacyService.com carries a wide range of medications like Cymbalta and Savella at significantly lower costs than traditional pharmacies. Click here to search for your medications, and take advantage of convenient online ordering and direct-to-door delivery.
DISCLAIMER: The content in this article is intended for informational purposes only. This website does not provide medical advice. In all circumstances, you should always seek the advice of your physician and/or other qualified health professionals(s) for drug, medical condition, or treatment advice. The content provided on this website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.