It is estimated that 2% of United States citizens suffer from fibromyalgia. If you are one of these individuals, you are well aware of the pain that comes with this condition. Thankfully, there are several natural remedies for fibromyalgia pain relief available.
Natural remedies for fibromyalgia
Aromatherapy and essential oils
Aromatherapy has a long history of use in healing so it should come as no surprise that it can be helpful in treating fibromyalgia. Some essential oils commonly used for pain relief include black pepper, chamomile, clary sage, eucalyptus, ginger, helichrysum, juniper, lemongrass, peppermint, sandalwood, spike lavender, sweet marjoram and vetiver. These essential oils can be used alone or in combination.
To use essential oils for natural fibromyalgia pain relief, you have a couple options. One, apply a few drops of the chosen oil to a cotton ball or diffuser and breathe in the scent. Two, mix with a carrier oil such as almond oil and massage into sore muscles. Three, add a few drops to a warm bath and relax in the scented water.
Some essential oils may bring other benefits to sufferers. For instance, peppermint improves mental acuity and relieves fatigue. Clary sage and vetiver can be helpful for exhaustion.
Herbs also have a long history in natural healing. Many of the prescription medications that exist now are derived from plants found in nature. Cayenne, ginger, pine bark, turmeric and white willow bark are all herbs that can be helpful for fibromyalgia pain relief.
The most effective herbs are those that are fresh. However, that isn’t always possible. Instead, care should be taken to purchase quality herbs and products made from them.
Herbs can be used in a variety of ways as a natural treatment for fibromyalgia. Some can be used as components in culinary dishes. Others can be steeped in boiling water to make a tea or infusion. Depending on where you shop, you may be able to find tinctures of the herbs.
It may be helpful to apply the herbs directly to your skin. This may be done by applying it in the form of a cream or lotion. An alternate option is wrapping the herbs in cheesecloth and tying it to your bathtub faucet. You then soak in the infused bathwater to relieve pain.
The pain of fibromyalgia may be a sign that your body is lacking a vital nutrient in your diet. There has been some research that indicates that magnesium, Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D may play a role in pain.
One promising study found that fibromyalgia pain and tenderness improved when patients supplemented with magnesium. If you prefer to get your nutrients naturally rather than through supplements, increase your intake of magnesium-rich foods. These include nuts like almonds or cashews, green vegetables such as spinach, whole grains, beans and even some fish.
Try a dinner consisting of 3 oz of halibut served with ½ cup of spinach and ½ cup of brown rice for an easy 50% of the daily recommended value of magnesium. If you prefer smaller changes, add 2 tablespoons of wheat bran to your morning cereal for a 10% boost.
Some studies have indicated that those with fibromyalgia may have decreased levels of Vitamin B12. In addition to being needed for the body to use magnesium effectively, B12 also plays a role in nerve cells. Most animal products contain this vitamin. Some fortified cereals may contain it as well.
Vitamin D, sometimes called the sunshine vitamin, is also important for natural fibromyalgia pain relief. Like Vitamin B12, it is needed for the body to absorb magnesium. According to some research, a deficiency in Vitamin D can manifest as body pain.
Vitamin D does not occur regularly in nature so the majority of it comes through fortified foods such as breads, milk and cereals. It is available naturally in small amounts in beef liver, the yolks of eggs, cheese, fish and some mushrooms.
There have been a few promising studies on the use of S-adenosylmethionine, better known as SAMe, for natural fibromyalgia pain relief. In one very small study of 17 fibromyalgia patients, the number of tender points decreased after SAMe supplements were given. A larger study of 44 patients showed improvement in pain, stiffness and fatigue with supplementation.
5-HTP, or 5-hydroxytryptophan, has also shown encouraging results in scientific studies. In one study, after supplementing for only a month, there was a significant decrease in pain, fatigue, number of tender points and stiffness.
There are also homeopathic fibromyalgia pain relief options you may want to try. Depending on the type of pain you feel, some may be better than others. Since pain is highly individual, a dose may work anywhere from a few minutes to a day. If you have taken a dose with no effect on pain, take a second dose a little while later. If there is still no effect, you may need to try a different homeopathic remedy.
For a bruised, sore feeling, such as the feeling that occurs upon overexerting muscles or injury, arnica is a good starting point. It can be taken orally, but is also available in topical forms. For severe muscle pain, especially shooting pain, kaimia latifolia is a good option. Hypericum works well on pain that occurs in the extremities, especially that which follows nerve pathways and has a prickly sensation.
It may seem crazy to allow someone to poke small needles into you when you are in pain, but according to scientists at the Mayo Clinic, acupuncture is an effective treatment for fibromyalgia. Acupuncture has long been used in Chinese Medicine. The needles, when inserted into specific points of the body, are supposed to improve the flow of chi, or energy, through the body. Pain is believed to be a sign of blocked chi.
The Mayo Clinic study used 50 fibromyalgia patients whose symptoms had not resolved with other treatments. Half of the group were given six acupuncture sessions over a two to three week period. The other half received fake sessions. The most benefit was seen after just one month after the last treatment, with improvements not only in pain, but also in fatigue and anxiety. This could open more doors to patients seeking natural fibromyalgia pain relief.
Exercise, especially that which keeps the body limber, can help relieve the pain and stiffness that accompany fibromyalgia. In addition, yoga can also be helpful in easing anxiety. While there are several types of yoga, not all may be right for you. Hatha yoga and viniyoga tend to be less strenuous so they may be better options.
Many community and health centers have yoga classes available. If you prefer to work more privately, there are a wide variety of yoga DVDs for purchase, for example on Amazon. If you want to try one before you purchase, try your local library. They often have a selection of exercise DVDs that can be checked out.
Unless you have practiced yoga before, it is best to start with a beginners DVD or class. Start slowly and work your way up. If you can’t hold a specific stretch, skip it or do a modified version. A good instructor will be able to give you modifications and some DVDs offer these as well. Focus on how your body feels.
Relieving the pain and other symptoms of fibromyalgia does not have to mean taking prescription medications with dangerous side effects. With such a wide variety of natural remedies for fibromyalgia pain relief, you are sure to find one that relieves your symptoms and helps you get back to your old self.