FYBROMYALGIA – ALTERNATIVE TREATMENTS
Millions of people suffer from fybromyalgia (FMS). This disease is a very real one that still remains elusive in its cause. Usually, doctors have to rule out other diseases in order to truly making a diagnosis of fybromyalgia. Once diagnosis is made, patients normally follow various treatments to see which ones work for them. Many treatments involve drugs but there are some alternative treatments which may work as well without the potential side effects from medicines. Here are some of the alternative treatments for fybromyalgia.
Dietary supplements, acupuncture, massage, moist heat therapies, and exercise can provide relief from symptoms if properly followed.
The idea behind using supplements is to boost levels of certain substances in the body that may reduce the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Fybromyalgia may be caused by certain deficiencies in some cases so replacing the deficiency makes perfect sense. Supplements such as 5-HTP, SAMe, magnesium, melatonin, and St. John’s Wort all have been shown to relieve symptoms of fybromyalgia; mainly pain, sleep problems, and moodiness or depression. Each one has its own set of symptoms for which it helps. However, some supplements can have harmful interactions with prescription medications. Some are unsafe if you have certain medical conditions. Because there is not a lot of research with supplements like there is with drugs, it’s important for a person with fibromyalgia to work with a doctor who is knowledgeable about supplements. Therefore, always consult your doctor before starting any supplement regimen.
According to Chinese medicine, acupuncture is used to rebalance the flow of energy through one’s body. According to Western practitioners, it’s a healing method that increases blood flow and production of the body’s natural painkillers. Acupuncture involves stimulating points on the body by inserting thin needles into the skin. When a slight electric current is run through the needles, it’s known as electroacupuncture. Both methods are used for fibromyalgia.
Now whether or not it works remains debatable. There are many people who adamantly claim its benefits while others say it does no good. However, most agree that the relief is temporary and it may take several sessions before you feel the effects. You would need to try it yourself to see if the relief it offers is worth the time and money invested.
The thought of massage is relaxing to me and for those with fybromyalgia, massage can reduce muscle tension and ease pain in the muscles and soft tissue. It can also improve circulation and range of motion and boost production of natural painkillers. Some studies suggest it can improve your mood and it may help people with fibromyalgia sleep better, too.
Although formal studies of the effects of massage on fibromyalgia symptoms are few, researchers at the University of Miami’s Touch Research Institute report that just 20 minutes of moderate-pressure massage can lessen the flow of chemicals associated with pain and stress while increasing production of serotonin.
Moist Heat Therapies
There are many simple and inexpensive home remedies for pain. For example, heat, especially moist heat, can temporarily ease pain and stiffness by boosting blood flow to the places where you hurt. Try applying a moist heating pad, taking a warm shower, or just warming your clothes in the dryer before you put them on. Cold packs can help you feel better too, by reducing the deep muscle pain of fibromyalgia.
Researchers have found that regular aerobic exercise decreased activity in memory and pain control areas of the brain. This decreased brain activity suggests that the memory is working more efficiently. Also, decreased brain activity was noticed in the areas responsible for pain processing, which might be aiding that efficiency. These discoveries may help explain why regular exercise decreases pain and tenderness and improves brain function in people with fibromyalgia.
Of course saying to exercise and doing it are two different things. Patients may feel that they can’t exercise because of the pain. However, by performing slow stretches and low impact movements with the body does actually help lower pain and stiffness for these patients. The key is intensity and duration. Always start slowly (maybe just a few minutes) with just a few repetitions and work from there. In this way, there is no damage to tissues already inflamed with fybromyalgia.
Alternative treatments are available for patients with FMS. As always, consult your doctor before beginning any alternative treatments. With your doctor, you can find the treatments that will improve your disorder and make your life more comfortable with fybromyalgia.