Fibromyalgia is a medical condition in which patients experience chronic pain, increased pain sensitivity, fatigue and joint and muscle aches that do not seem to have an identifiable cause. The nature of the condition remains a mystery to researchers, though overactive nerve endings, genetics and stress all seem to be linked to the condition.
Many patients find that natural treatments help relieve their symptoms, either on their own or as part of a medicine-based management plan. Here are eight natural treatments for fibromyalgia which may provide some relief.
8 Natural Treatments for Fibromyalgia
1. Vitamin D
Humans naturally metabolize vitamin D with sunlight exposure, and studies have shown that this important nutrient plays an important role in healthy muscle and nerve function. New research suggests that increasing vitamin D intake, through supplements and/or increased sun exposure, can provide some relief.
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This ancient oriental treatment involves the application of fine needles, which stimulate nerve and energy centers throughout the body. Evidence for the effectiveness of acupuncture is largely anecdotal, but many fibromyalgia patients swear by it. However, this treatment does not appear to bring lasting relief, so you may require regular sessions.
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3. Massage Therapy
When used on its own or in combination with acupuncture, massage therapy can soothe sore muscles and joints. It also stimulates the body’s production of endorphins, which are naturally occurring painkillers. However, like acupuncture, the relief you’ll experience with massage therapy will likely be temporary.
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These compounds are what give hot peppers their spicy kick, and they have been used as a natural remedy for a wide range of maladies for hundreds of years. Capsaicin promotes the body’s production of a chemical known as Substance P. Fibromyalgia pain seems to increase when Substance P levels are low, so adding more peppers to your diet may help you manage the condition.
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5. Chiropractic Treatments
Chiropractors are holistic medicine professionals specializing in helping patients achieve proper spinal alignment. Some researchers believe that fibromyalgia may be caused by, or worsened by, problems in the spine. It may be worth visiting a chiropractor to see if a spinal adjustment helps your symptoms.
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The goal of biofeedback therapy is to promote increased harmony between your mind and your body, helping patients reduce chronic pain by training them to control pain through brain responses. While researchers have not yet identified definitive links between biofeedback and fibromyalgia management, the technique has shown promise in the management of other chronic pain conditions.
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7. Dietary Supplements
In addition to vitamin D, magnesium, melatonin, St. John’s wort, 5-HTP and SAMe may all help fibromyalgia patients leave the pain behind. Melatonin can help improve sleep quality, promoting natural healing, while St. John’s wort is said to provide a general analgesia that calms symptoms down. The other supplements on this list all work by promoting the body’s natural production of serotonin, a “feel good” hormone that relieves pain.
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Of all the natural treatments for fibromyalgia, exercise shows the most promise. Getting regular, vigorous exercise helps control muscle and joint pain symptoms, while boosting endorphin levels to give your body a natural painkilling kick. It will also improve sleep quality and promote better overall health.