Following my other post, Fight Fibromyalgia, below are some effective natural solutions for fibromyalgia.
Diet – getting the balance right
Addressing the body’s pH level is a key issue. An acidic pH contributes to acidosis, chronic fatigue and muscle pain. When the body can no longer deal with acidic waste, it gets deposited into muscle tissue, causing pain and stiffness.
Balance the body’s natural pH with an anti-inflammatory diet that is 70-80 percent alkaline from ‘clean’ food and includes plenty of seasonal fruit and vegetables – especially greens. Reduce/avoid acid-forming foods – sugar, meat, dairy, processed foods, soft drinks, coffee, and alcohol. Drinking plenty of water helps rid the body of acidic waste.
Long-term consumption of the common chemical sweetener aspartame – found in a range of diet products, including soft drinks, cordials, chewing gum and table-top sweeteners – may compromise musculoskeletal health. Aspartame-induced fibromyalgia may be an unusual but curable cause of chronic muscle pain.
An emphasis on high protein, low carbohydrates with some fermented food thrown in for good measure (to replenish our gut microbiome which is critical for recovery) works well for fibromyalgia patients.
Herbs to the rescue
Natural solutions for fibromyalgia including herbs that help to alleviate pain, spasms and cramps include blue and black cohosh, cramp bark, feverfew, Jamaican dogwood, corydalis and wood betony.
- Withania, rehmannia and licorice are excellent adrenal tonic used extensively in the management of fibromyalgia. The latter two are also excellent anti-inflammatory herbs, nature’s answer to ‘steroids’
- Nervine herbs such as passionflower, skullcap and St. John’s wort relieve both low mood and improve sleep quality, and zizyphis is a natural sedative.
- Of course there are many other herbs that may be considered depending on the cause and symptoms such as bladderwrack if there is thyroid involvement; echinacea, cat’s claw, pau d’arco, olive leaf if there is a viral/bacterial/candida trigger.
- Nutrients that support adrenal gland recovery include high dose vitamin C, B-group vitamins (particularly vitamin B5 – pantothenic acid), potassium and magnesium.
- Antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, selenium and zinc ensure a greater level of defence against oxidative damage caused by toxins and chemical sensitivities. What’s more, some patients with fibromyalgia can have a biochemical defect in their ‘methylation pathways’, which means they can’t effectively deal with environmental toxins. Vitamins B6, B12 and folinic acid are critical to sustain ongoing methylation detoxification reactions.
- Magnesium and Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) are indicated for muscle fatigue and pain, and aid ongoing cellular energy production and cardiovascular health.
- Magnesium is also beneficial when used topically as a spray/oil or by having a soak in a bath with 2 cups of Epsom salts.
- Omega-3 fatty acids, namely EPA are important to reduce inflammation and improve cell quality.
- Serrapeptase, a potent proteolytic enzyme from silkworms is a great all-rounder anti-inflammatory without causing any gastrointestinal upset; as is PEA.
- D-ribose, essentially the backbone of ATP, the energy molecules in the body is another recommended supplement to consider.
- Traumeel is also a fantastic formulation to try.
Poor digestion, irritable bowel symptoms (altered bowel movements, pain, bloating) food intolerances, an altered microbiome and lowered nutrient absorption compromise the immune system and provoke gastrointestinal inflammation. For many, eliminating allergens – dairy, soy, wheat – makes a big difference. Accurate testing for gut pathogens (including candida), allergens and food sensitivities is recommended to help address the root cause.
Almost every patient with fibromyalgia has a ‘small intestinal bacterial overgrowth’ (SIBO) and candida; both contributing to fatigue. A study of fibromyalgia patients revealed that eradication of SIBO significantly improved pain scores, abdominal bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhoea, joint pain*.
SIBO, dysbiosis, fungal pathogens such as candida and parasites can be treated successfully and effectively with the use of herbal anti-microbial agents while a high strength probiotic with a range of lactobacillus and bifidobacteria species restores bacterial balance. In fact, the most important piece of the puzzle is probiotics both in therapeutic form and fermented food form. Correcting the microbiome corrects one of the root causes of fibromyalgia and is a critical part of treating this condition.
*Wallace DJ, Hallegua DS. Fibromyalgia: the gastrointestinal link. Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2004;8(5):364-368.
Natural solutions for fibromyalgia including lifestyle
- Breathe- Did you know that the way someone breathes can seriously affect their health? The entire metabolic process can be badly affected by something as simple as the way someone is breathing. Mouth breathers produce more bicarbonate producing a more acidic pH, thereby worsening inflammation. Be mindful of your breathing and practice breathing techniques such as Buteyko.
- Exercise in moderation – be aware of your limitations and don’t overdo it. Walking instead of running, gentle swimming, yoga and stretching are recommended.
- Avoid chemicals – find relief by avoiding chemicals and creating a chemical-free living space.
This information provided is general, as the causes, signs and symptoms for fibromyalgia can vary and so to can the treatment plan. Be guided by your healthcare professional.