Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is typically diagnosed in patients with:

  • Widespread pain in all 4 quadrants of the body for a minimum of 3 months; and
  • Tenderness or pain in at least 11 of 18 tender points when pressure is applied. These tender points cluster around the neck, shoulder, chest, hip, knee, and elbow regions.

People may still have fibromyalgia with fewer than 11 tender points if they have widespread pain and several other common symptoms, including:

  • Fatigue
  • Sleep disorders
  • Chronic headachesfibromyalgia_tender_points_chart-2-359x334
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Cognitive or memory impairment
  • Malaise and muscle pain after exertion
  • Jaw pain
  • Morning stiffness
  • Menstrual cramping
  • Irritable bowels
  • Numbness and tingling sensations
  • Skin and chemical sensitivities

Other conditions have fibromyalgia—like pain, fatigue, and other symptoms:

  • Anemia
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Lyme disease
  • Other rheumatic diseases
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Allergies and nutritional deficiencies

Traditional allopathic treatment includes a prescription of prednisone, anti-inflammatory agents, antidepressants, sleep medications, and muscle relaxants. These temporarily relieve the symptoms, but they do produce side effects.

There are more natural approaches to consider when diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

Treating Fibromyalgia with Nutrition:

  • Eat more fruits and vegetables. They are naturally lower in sugar and contain beneficial fiber along with natural phytochemicals that can decrease inflammation, pain, and have many other positive benefits to the body. Increasing fruits and vegetables can also relieve digestive and irritable bowel issues that also plague those with fibromyalgia.
  • Limit simple sugars. This includes flour and sugar in general. The high sugar content can lead to blood sugar imbalances, muscle pain, and obesity.
  • Avoid sugar substitutes. These can be dangerous in the gut and cause many bowel and digestive issues. They can also cause inflammation and pain. Since these are not natural substances, the body can not recognize them. This can cause a flare up in the immune system and unwanted stress that can make fibromyalgia symptoms worse.
  • Avoid caffeine. Caffeine can cause inflammation, and muscle tension, as well as keep you awake at night. Sleep is important to those with fibromyalgia. A lack of sleep can contribute to fatigue and depressive symptoms which are shown to make pain worse.
  • Increase your lean protein intake while decreasing proteins high in saturated fat (beef and pork). Lean proteins include beans, peas, and other legumes, along with fish and chicken (with-out the skin).
  • Increasing omega-3 fatty acids found in cold water fish, flax, chia seeds, and walnut oils has been found to be beneficial in those suffering from fibromyalgia. Fatty acid deficiencies can interfere with the nervous system and brain function, resulting in depression, poor memory, and loss of concentration. Omega-3’s also reduce inflammation and pain in both joints and muscles.
  • It may be beneficial to eliminate common food allergens such as gluten or dairy which can cause inflammation in the body.
  • Foods containing GMOs and pesticides can also increase inflammation in the body and should also be avoided.
  • Adding Supplements to your diet can help as well. B vitamins, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and vitamin D can all be beneficial.

A list of great foods to add to your diet (or to replace those unhealthy food look-a-likes):

  • Fruit and Veggies
  • Nuts and Legumes
  • Chicken and Fish
  • Ezekiel Bread
  • Brown Basmati or Jasmine Rice
  • Quinoa Pasta
  • Coconut and Olive Oils

Other Treatment Alternatives:

  • Yoga, Pilates, or Tai Chi, which offer mild stretching, relaxation, and breathing techniques, may be a great form of exercise. They can reduce stress and be very beneficial to those suffering from fibromyalgia.
  • Acupuncture is an effective, conservative approach to treating fibromyalgia symptoms and many chiropractors offer this service in their offices.
  • Chiropractic care has consistently offered the most relief for the fibromyalgia patient. Your chiropractor may include massage therapy, ultrasound and electrical stimulation in the treatment program, which may help relieve stress, pain, and other symptoms.
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