7 Natural Remedies for Fibromyalgia

1 of
  • Standard Treatments Hit and Miss with Fibromyalgia

    Standard Treatments Hit and Miss with Fibromyalgia

    Standard treatments for fibromyalgia include painkillers, antidepressants, and anti-seizure drugs. These can help reduce symptoms like pain, fatigue, and insomnia.

    For some people, though, these medications may not provide the perfect solution. A research report by the Jesse and Julie Rasch Foundation stated that sometimes medication treatments are ineffective. They also may cause side effects that make them difficult to maintain.

    The authors concluded that the best approach is to combine drug treatments with other types of non-drug or “complementary” therapies. Here’s a look at a few of the possibilities.

  • Natural Treatment #1: Yoga

    Natural Treatment #1: Yoga

    Several studies show that a regular yoga practice may help ease the symptoms of fibromyalgia. For example, researchers at Oregon Health & Science University reported that yoga exercises reduced fibromyalgia pain.

    A 2011 study found that patients who took a 75-minute yoga class twice weekly for eight weeks experienced less pain. They also had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol in their blood.

  • Natural Treatment #2: Meditation

    Natural Treatment #2: Meditation

    Can meditation change the way the brain processes pain signals? Australian rheumatologist Dr. Daniel Lewis thinks so, and he also suggests that it may change the way the brain functions, improving symptoms.

    A 2012 analysis of studies reported that meditation provided pain relief. Researchers believe it helps calm the mind and ease the body, promoting deep rest and relaxation, which help the body heal itself.

  • Natural Treatment #3: 5-HTP

    Natural Treatment #3: 5-HTP

    5-HTP is a natural amino acid. It helps make serotonin, the feel-good neurotransmitter in the brain.

    According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, three studies have suggested 5-HTP may help improve fibromyalgia symptoms like pain, anxiety, fatigue, and morning stiffness.

    Scientists believe 5-HTP works similarly to an anti-depressant. It helps raise levels of serotonin, balancing abnormal brain function.

  • Natural Treatment #4: SAMe

    Natural Treatment #4: SAMe

    The NYU Langone Medical Center notes that SAMe may also work like 5-HTP does. This compound is made naturally in the body, and is believed to have many health benefits.

    Four double-blind trials studied this supplement, and three of those found it to be helpful for patients. In one, 44 people took 800 mg of SAMe or a placebo for six weeks. Those taking SAMe experienced improved rest, fatigue, morning stiffness, and mood.

  • Natural Treatment #5: Acupuncture

    Natural Treatment #5: Acupuncture

    Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese treatment that uses very thin needles to ease pain and treat various conditions.

    A 2006 study split fibromyalgia patients into two groups. Members of the first group received acupuncture treatments. Members in the second group did not. Those who used acupuncture experienced improved fatigue and anxiety.

    A more recent 2013 meta-analysis found similar results. Researchers examined data from nine trials with a total of 395 participants. They concluded that there was some evidence acupuncture may improve pain and stiffness.

  • Natural Treatment #6: Tai Chi

    Natural Treatment #6: Tai Chi

    Tai chi is an ancient Chinese physical practice that involves moving the body slowly and gently. It has shown some potential in helping to ease fibromyalgia symptoms.

    In a 2010 study, participants took part in a 60-minute tai chi class or a 60-minute wellness education and stretching class. They attended these classes twice a week for 12 weeks.

    Those who did tai chi experienced improvements in pain, sleep quality, depression, and quality of life. The benefits were still noticeable 24 weeks later.

  • Natural Treatment #7: Manual Lymph Drainage Therapy

    Natural Treatment #7: Manual Lymph Drainage Therapy

    A type of massage called manual lymph drainage therapy (MLDT) helps move lymph fluid through the body. The lymph system helps rid the body of waste and toxins, but relies on muscle movement to remain efficient. Rhythmic movements can help stimulate blood flow, potentially loosening up lymph blockages that may be causing pain.

    A 2009 study tested this therapy on one group of women diagnosed with fibromyalgia. The women received treatment five times a week for three weeks. Results showed that MLDT was more effective than regular massage at reducing morning tiredness and anxiety. Both therapies improved pain and quality of life.

  • Don’t Give Up in Your Search for Relief

    Don’t Give Up in Your Search for Relief

    We’re still in the beginning stages of finding relief for those with fibromyalgia. Talk to your doctor about alternative treatments if standard medications aren’t helping. A regular massage appointment, yoga class, or meditation therapy in addition to your medications may help you feel better. Certain supplements such as those mentioned here also may help you to cope with your condition.  

References:

  • "5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP)." University of Maryland Medical Center. N.p., 9 Apr. 2011. Web. 14 Feb. 2014. <http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/5hydroxytryptophan-5htp>.
  • Carson, JW, KM Carson, KD Jones, RM Bennett, CL Wright, and SD Mist. "A pilot randomized controlled trial of the Yoga of Awareness program in the management of fibromyalgia.." Pain 151.2 (2010): 530-9. PubMed-NCBI. Web. 14 Feb. 2014.
  • Ekici, G, Y Bakar, T Akbayrak, and I Yuksel. "Comparison of manual lymph drainage therapy and connective tissue massage in women with fibromyalgia: a randomized controlled trial." J Manipulative Physiol Ther 32.2 (2009): 127-33. PubMed-NCBI. Web. 14 Feb. 2014.
  • "Fibromyalgia." NYU Langone Medical Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Feb. 2014. <http://www.med.nyu.edu/content?ChunkIID=21653>.
  • "Fibromyalgia." Treatment at Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 22 Jan. 2011. Web. 14 Feb. 2014. <http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/fibromyalgia/basics/treatment/con-20019243>.
  • "Fibromyalgia: Research Report." The Jesse and Julie Rasch Foundation. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Feb. 2014. <http://www.raschfoundation.org/reports/fibromyalgia/14/>.
  • Kozasa, EH, LH Tanaka, C Monson, S Little, FC Leao, and MP Peres. "The effects of meditation-based interventions on the treatment of fibromyal." Curr Pain Headache Rep 16.5 (2012): 383-7. PubMed-NCBI. Web. 14 Feb. 2014.
  • Lewis, Daniel. "National Fibromyalgia Association: Fibromyalgia and Meditation." National Fibromyalgia Association: Fibromyalgia and Meditation. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Feb. 2014. <http://fmaware.org/site/News28b55.html?i=g6jyL5vriNaHZxABsr2ZKA..>.
  • Martin, DP, CD Sletten, BA Williams, and IH Berger. "Improvement in fibromyalgia symptoms with acupuncture: results of a randomized controlled trial." Mayo Clin Proc 81.6 (2006): 749-57. PubMed-NCBI. Web. 14 Feb. 2014.
  • Wang, Chenchen, et al.. "A Randomized Trial of Tai Chi for Fibromyalgia." New England Journal of Medicine 2010.363 (2010): 743-754. nejm.org. Web. 14 Feb. 2014.
Advertisement
Advertisement