Monday, November 9, 2009

Fibromyalgia and natural care

As I mentioned in a post last week, my Mother has Fibromyalgia. When I wrote that, I realized that it was a post all to itself because of the nature of the condition and the way my Mom is specifically treating it: Naturally.

Fibromyalgia is categorized as a rheumatologic condition that primarily affects one’s muscles. It is distinguished by chronic widespread pain in specific areas, fatigue, sleep disturbances, heightened sensitivity & irritable bowel syndrome.It affects three point four percent of women and point five percent of men and a total of ten million Americans overall.

Drugs ranging from Tylenol, anti-depressants, sleep aids and general anti-inflammatory medications have been used in attempting to aid in or reduce the symptoms of Fibromyalgia, there is even a new drug specifically for it, but with all the side effects as well (nausea, headache, constipation, vomiting etc.) Who wants that!!

But isn't there a way to reduce the severity of the symptoms naturally? Yes, there is and my Mom is living proof! A bit more about it quick:

Because no laboratory test can confirm FMS and many of the signs of fibromyalgia are similar to other diseases, FMS can be difficult to pinpoint. At one time, it was thought to be psychosomatic but discoveries about it have dispelled that theory and now speculation is that FMS is a “constellation of dysfunctional biological responses to stress”. STRESS? Yes.

Think about it.

Trauma, sleep disorders, depression--these can all be associated with stress and can cause even more problems if unchecked. Sleep disorders can be triggers of FMS as well as a symptom. Depression and low seratonin levels have been shown to contribute to people experiencing poor sleep patterns and there have been studies connecting inadequate sleep and muscle damage (or in this case wide spread muscle pain).

Aside from reducing stress and eliminating certain triggers from your life there are many aspects of self-care that you can do, that my Mom did to control her FMS so it doesn't control her. She takes vitamins and supplements on a daily basis. Pills such as Omega-3 fish oil for her joints and Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) for her bones.

She has cut her sugar and processed food intake and has introduced healthy fats like coconut, olive oil and nuts. These changes in diet have been shown to ease the muscle stiffness and increase the quality of sleep.

Regular relaxation when tired or in pain and being in a state of mild continuous motion has been shown to help ease the pain (sounds like active rest to me!!). Many sufferers feel increased pain when under stress and we KNOW regular exercise will help that!! When Mom is experiencing pain, she will go for a walk and by the time she is home, the pain is gone or considerably better. She pushes through knowing it will work.

Alternative medicine such as chiropractic, massage therapy & acupuncture are all suggested treatments and my Mom says she would not be able to function without regular visits to her chiropractor.

The key to all of the care is to minimize the symptoms and improve the patient’s general health. With the list of negative side affects on prescription drugs for FMS and so many other conditions, it seems it may help the condition at the cost of the overall general health.

Adequate sleep, healthy diet, supplements, chiropractic care, exercise & mild movement can counteract the issues that aggravate fibromyalgia these things are within our control! It is able to be managed naturally and it is encouraging to see my Mom's success. She has been managing it this way for almost 7 years and although it is a daily struggle, she is coming out on top. She's a trooper, naturally.

This post is part of "Prevention not Prescriptions" at The Kathleen Show blog. You can visit the blog and contribute Here! Happy, healthy Monday!


Jackie said...

It was nice to see a post on FMS, as I find it still seems to be dismissed as not a real illness by alot of people.

I have had FMS for at least 20 yrs probably longer (I'm 40). I was also recently diagnosed with Sarcoidosis which, they tell me I've had for some time so that compounds my health issues. Anyway I have tried all kinds of drugs over the years for FMS and while they have worked to some extent, the side effects far outweigh the benefits.

The only treatment for Sarcoidoisis is Prendisone and Methotrexate. Nasty drugs which I refuse to take.

Anyway, I agree, whole heartedly with your mothers course of action. I stopped eating processed foods, refined sugars, etc. I take my vitamins, try to exercise as much as possible, and visit my massage therapist and chiropractor on a regular basis. My massage therapist was a life saver. Before seeing him I was pretty much immobile. Accupunture has worked wonders as well, I'm a firm believer in that.

Thanks again for the post

Mary said...

Thanks so much for commenting. I have to say, it's a topic close to my heart, because I have experienced what I think were mild symptoms already and took action right away (quitting rollerderby to reduce trauma, seeing a chiro, getting better sleep).

It breaks my heart to hear of all these drugs that are supposed to "help" diseases and have so many negative effects--everyone needs a better quality of life. I think SO many conditions and problems can be eliminated and turned around with lifestyle changes

Good for you for going natural and good luck on your journey!

Anonymous said...

And cutting out gluten and dairy and looking for other food allergies made a tremendous difference for me.

- Myrna

Just a Girl said...

Hi, my mum also suffers with fibromyalgia and is in the process of trying to treat it naturally by changing her diet, relaxation therapy and accupuncture. Stress and poor food choices definitely contribute to her flare ups so I hope that she can find some relief with the changes she is making.

Michelle said...

Thank you Mary, for this blog on fibromyalgia. Although I've had it many years, until recently, I have not looked into things that can help me. My first step is working on my eating, since I'm also a compulstive overeater and have bi-polar disorder, and I've become addicted to farmers' markets and organic food which I can buy there. It also serves another purpose - I get some exercise and get out in the sun. In addition, take age-specific vitamins and minerals.

One other thing I found helped is in relation to color: having my apartment painted in colors other than white, buying brightly colored flowers, and wearing clothes in colors other than my normal grey or black.

Soon, I will be looking for an acupuncturist or therapeutic masseuse to help the physical symptoms.

I learned some things from your blog that I didn't know before.


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