Fibromyalgia can be defined as a diffuse chronic pain syndrome of neurological origin characterized by pain throughout the body associated with fatigue and sleep disorders. Indeed, the term comes from fibro for the tendons, myo for the muscles; algie for the pain. In other words: pain everywhere!
It affects mostly women in their late 30s or 40s. Morning waking is usually accompanied by complaints of generalized pain and poor sleep.
According to Doctissimo.fr, fibromyalgia in the United States concerns 1 in 10 cases of disability!
The Diagnosis of Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is often diagnosed as a component of a chronic fatigue disorder, where the sufferer experiences the pain element as being more pronounced than the fatigue element.
The diagnosis of fibromyalgia falls when there is the presence of a multitude of symptoms such as: muscular pain, muscle fatigue, stiffness, chronic pain in the neck and shoulders, non-restorative sleep, headaches, numbness It usually comes after eliminating other diseases that could cause some of these discomforts.
It is often checked whether there is pain at the eighteen neuralgic points on the body. If there is pain in at least eleven of these points, it can be concluded that fibromyalgia is involved.
Some studies point to sensitivities or food allergies as an aggravating factor of fibromyalgia. At the heart of the disease, there is believed to be hypersensitization of nerve fibers due to inflammation and cell damage. This would explain why eating certain allergenic foods would cause inflammation that would exacerbate the sensitivity of neurons.
Treatment and Complementary Approaches
The current medical consensus is that there is no cure for fibromyalgia. Pain can only be alleviated by, among other things, complementary approaches.
For example, light exercise, massages, and a healthy and balanced diet focusing on fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain products and legumes. To see examples of exercises that help the condition, click here.
Massage is indeed one of the complementary therapies most appreciated by people with fibro. It can help relieve pain, improve your mood and reduce the need for pain medication so you can feel better and live better. There are different styles, such as Swedish, deep tissue and neuromuscular. All involve different professional manipulations on the muscles to relieve tension and pain and improve blood circulation.
Acupuncture has had good results in fibromyalgia, thanks to the stimulation of sensitive points.
Natural Supplements for Fibromyalgia
Several natural and effective supplements can help soothe the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
In particular, probiotics contain beneficial bacteria to improve digestion. Thus, thanks to probiotics, we can cure diarrhea, prevent vaginal infections and heal irritable bowel syndrome.
Other supplements are used to soothe the symptoms of fibromyalgia, including melatonin. Indeed, it has been proven that melatonin, a natural hormone, improves deep sleep. However, it is contraindicated in case of driving.
Finally, the SAM-e supplement increases serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain. Thus, some research shows that SAM-e increases the quality of sleep and the morale of patients.
5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan) should also be mentioned, because it has an effect on the depression caused by fibromyalgia. A study of the Alternative Medicine Review has indeed shown an improvement in anxiety and insomnia after taking 5-HTP.
Before taking any supplement, it will of course check with your doctor / naturopath to know the possible side effects or interactions with other drugs. Some complementary therapies are not recommended for pregnant women, children or the elderly.
You can learn more about all the relevant dietary supplements in our course 445, Orthomolecular Approaches.