Fybromyalgia is a common disease that causes widespread pain in the body. Patients with this condition experience symptoms such as fatigue, tender points in various areas of the body, anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders. The causes of fybromyalgia are not known yet but researchers suggest that the central nervous system becomes overly sensitive. Minimal sensory stimuli create pain and disability in the patient with fybromyalgia.
Another interesting fact is that inadequate thyroid hormone regulation may be one of the primary underlying factors in patients with fybromyalgia. However, instead of taking a lot of medicines that can cause side-effects and deteriorate health, basic common sense actions can be taken. Exercise, eating a nutritious, balanced diet, and normalizing hormones are key ingredients to keep
fybromyalgia in check and the thyroid working properly.
Beside pain, the next most common symptom of fybromyalgia is fatigue. The type of fatigue that accompanied this condition is a chronic tiredness, weakness, and exhaustion that is debilitating and often leads to social isolation and depression. This fatigue can be a result of disturbed sleep patterns. Those who suffer with fybromyalgia frequently have limited REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. It is this deep undisturbed sleep pattern that allows the body to recover from the activities the day before and achieve a restful state the next morning. Unfortunately, those who have fybromyalgia do not have this benefit and therefore suffer from insufficient sleep even though they may have had eight hours or more of sleep.
Depression is another symptom of fybromyalgia. People who suffer from depression know how frustrating it can be when the medical community does not understand you and family and friends seem alienated because of your depression. What makes it worse is to have the other symptoms of fybromyalgia on top of your depression. Although depression does not in itself make the symptoms of this condition worse, dealing with the effects of depression can make it harder to deal with the disease.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Many people are taking action themselves to promote better health and balance in their lives with balanced diets. Here are some tips to follow that may make a difference in how well you cope with fybromyalgia.
- Load up on vitamin D – Some patients mimic the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency. Fybromyalgic patients need to be tested for vitamin D deficiency.
- Avoid food additives – Common food additives can act as excitotoxin molecules, a group of chemicals that have the ability to cause sensitivity to pain.
- Say “yes” to fish – The omega-3 fatty acids in fish can really benefit patients with fybromyalgia by reducing the stiffness and tender joint pain.
- Limit caffeine – Caffeine keeps patients with fybromyalgia from getting the needed sleep. Say no to caffeine later in the day and sleep better at night.
- Veggie out – Vegetables and fruits are filled with anti-oxidants and vitamins. Patients with fybromyalgia are encouraged to make veggies a large portion of their meals, thus reducing the free radicals in the body and improving symptoms of fybromyalgia.
- 5-HTP – This supplement has been shown to help with depression, insomnia, stiffness, fybromyalgia pain, and anxiety. 5-HTP is the building block for the brain chemical serotonin. Since patients with fybromyalgia have low amounts of this chemical, this supplement will greatly help fight the disease.
- SAMe – This amino acid derivative helps boost serotonin levels too. Researchers say that it helps to have better moods and sleep.
- Magnesium – This element may be linked to fybromyalgia. Low levels of it have been found in patients. Although there has not been much research investigating the connection, magnesium is good for other bodily processes as well.
- Melatonin – This hormone has been used to improve sleep. It may also help with fybromyalgia pain.
- Acupuncture – Being a Chinese method, acupuncture is thought to increase the energy flow of the body. In Western medicine, this practice is used to increase blood flow and the body’s natural painkillers. Some studies show improvement on sleep and pain. Other studies do not show any significant relief from symptoms. The best to find out if this works for you is to try it and see for yourself. It may take several treatments before you can conclude whether or not it is worth your time and money.
- Massage – This treatment helps reduce muscle tension and eases pain in the soft tissues. Some people say it helps with pain and others say it also helps them get a better night’s sleep. Try it for yourself and see if it reduces your symptoms.
Of course, before you try any of these tips or supplements, always consult your doctor first. Some supplements may interfere with other medications, producing unwanted side-effects. The best advice can be from your doctor. Together, you can include a regimen of medicine, exercise, diet, alternative treatments, and supplements to control the symptoms of fybromyalgia.