by: Dr. Craig A. Maxwell
The horrible body aches and pains associated with fibromyalgia can make living everyday life almost impossible. Though there are now conventional treatments to ease some fibromyalgia symptoms, the side effects associated with these drugs are often just as bad as the disorder. On this page, you’ll learn a little more about this complex disorder and the steps you can take to heal naturally.
Fibromyalgia and Hormonal Imbalance
Many have lumped fibromyalgia into the autoimmune disease category and while the body aches and chronic pain associated with this disorder certainly mimic that of an autoimmune disease, fibromyalgia is a bit different. Though conventional medicine is not entirely sure what causes fibromyalgia, it is believed that the disorder is related to a combination of hormonal imbalance as well as neurotransmitter and enzyme irregularities.
Oftentimes, fibromyalgia has a sudden onset triggered by a traumatic event such as a car accident or caustic chemical inhalation. Some people may simply be predisposed to the disorder but never actually develop it for lack of the traumatizing event.
Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
The most common symptoms of fibromyalgia are:
- “All-Over” Body Pain – Patients with fibromyalgia experience throbbing, aching, stabbing, and burning pains deep in the muscle tissues all over the body, not just in one place.
- Extreme Fatigue – Fibromyalgia patients often feel a kind of exhaustion that is not relieved by rest or sleep.
- Brain Fog – This brain fog can make it difficult to concentrate on everyday tasks and may affect learning and cognition.
- Balance/Coordination Problems – Losing your balance easily often indicates the neurological problems associated with fibromyalgia.
- Digestive Disorders – More than 70% of fibromyalgia patients suffer from digestive complaints including constipation, diarrhea, and acid reflux.
- Headaches/Migraines – Trigger points in the shoulders and neck often trigger debilitating headaches.
- Itchy/Burning Skin – Fibromyalgia patients often notice red, hive-like bumps on their skin as though they have bad sunburn.
- Morning Stiffness – Waking up feeling worse than when you went to bed is a common complaint among those who suffer from fibromyalgia.
- Tense Muscles – Chronic muscle tension is another common indicator of fibromyalgia. It doesn’t matter how much you try to relax your muscles, they seem to always stay stiff and knotted up.
- Sleep Disturbances – It is often difficult for people with fibromyalgia to get enough deep, restorative sleep, which can make them wake up feeling as though they’ve been hit by a truck.
- Sensory Overload – Commonly associated with the developmental disorder, autism, sensory overload issues also plague fibromyalgia patients. You might find noises too loud or lights too bright. Certain touches and fabrics might cause irritability and unease.
Similar Chronic Pain Disorders
Because fibromyalgia can often mimic the symptoms of other autoimmune and chronic pain conditions, it can sometimes be difficult to diagnose.
Conditions that have similar symptoms to fibromyalgia include:
- Adrenal Fatigue
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Myofacial Pain Syndome
- Multiple Chemical Sensitivities
- Lyme Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
Treating Fibromyalgia Naturally
Conventional drugs for fibromyalgia (Cymbalta, Lyrica, and Savella) often cause troubling side effects and do not heal the body of the disorder. The most common side effects associated with these drugs are dizziness, dry mouth, fatigue, nausea, hypertension, increased heart rate, suicidal thoughts, concentration difficulties, weight gain, and swelling.
For my patients living with fibromyalgia syndrome, I recommend a combination of dietary changes, gentle exercise, Epsom salt baths, natural healing modalities, and supplements. They provide effective relief without the side effects.
- Dietary Changes
When you suffer from any type of autoimmune, hormonal or metabolic condition, you should be eating the healthiest diet possible. This means cutting the junk and replacing it with whole food. Junk foods loaded with chemicals, additives, and artificial sweeteners cause an increase in chronic inflammation and pain.
To ease this pain, eat plenty of antioxidant-rich vegetables and fruits. Dine on lean proteins, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats such as coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, walnuts, and avocado. Adding cayenne pepper and turmeric to your diet can also help heal inflammation naturally and cut down on body aches and pains. Many fibromyalgia patients have also found relief by completely eliminating gluten from their diet.
Though not all fibromyalgia patients have Celiac disease, they often experience digestive disturbances and food allergies. Cutting gluten from the diet can do wonders to increase energy, decrease brain fog, and help you lose weight.
- Gentle Exercise
When you’re living with body aches and chronic pain, the last thing you want to do is start exercising. However, moving and stretching your muscles daily can cut down on fibromyalgia flare-ups. Gentle walking, swimming, and Yoga are safe workouts I recommend to my chronic pain sufferers.
- Epsom Salt
People with fibromyalgia often have a magnesium deficiency. When you take an Epsom salt bath, you’re immersing yourself in magnesium sulfate. The Epsom salt detoxifies your body and pulls the lactic acid from your muscles, easing pain. It also delivers a powerful dose of magnesium to further reduce pain and treat sleep disturbances. Note: If you are pregnant, diabetic or allergic to sulfur, do not use Epsom salt.
- Natural Healing Modalities
Oftentimes, fibromyalgia patients benefit from alternative therapies such as massage therapy, acupuncture, and chiropractic medicine. Massage therapy eases pain and encourages the body to heal on its own. Acupuncture uses fine, hollow-point needles on different points of the body called meridians to release blocked energy called ‘chi’. A visit to the chiropractor can help reconnect your brain with your body by using subtle spinal manipulations to address neurological blocks.
You may already be taking a multivitamin and if you are, I advise you to take a good look at the label. Most store-bought vitamins contain dangerous additives and preservatives that can make your fibromyalgia symptoms much worse.
Diamond Nutritional’s Foundation Vitamin is an ultra high-grade vitamin designed for maximum absorption with no chemical ingredients. It is, by far, a superior multivitamin designed especially for people with slow or difficult digestion.
Foundation’s healing ingredients include:
- Vitamin A – 7,500 IU
- Vitamin C – 500 mg
- Vitamin D3 – 500 IU
- Vitamin E – 100 IU
- Vitamin K – 50 mcg
- Thiamine – 25 mg
- Riboflavin – 25 mg
- Niacin – 25 mg
- Vitamin B6 – 38 mg
- Folic Acid – 400 mcg
- Vitamin B12 – 500 mcg
- Biotin – 200 mcg
- Panthothenic Acid – 150 mg
- Calcium – 100 mg
- Iodine – 113 mcg
- Magnesium – 200 mg
- Zinc – 10 mg
- Selenium – 100 mcg
- Copper – 1 mg
- Manganese – 2.5 mg
- Chromium – 200 mcg
- Molybdenum – 25 mcg
- Potassium – 50 mg
- Choline Bitartrate USP – 50 mg
- Inositol – 50 mg
- Mixed Tocopherols – 50 mg
- Lipoic Acid – 25 mg
- N-Acetyl-Cysteine USP – 25 mg
- Rutin – 25 mg
- Lutein – 3 mg
- Boron – 1.5 mg
- Lycopene – 1 mg
- Vanadyl Sulfate Hydrate – 1 mg
Diamond Nutritional’s Balanced Omega Formula
When it comes to effectively fighting inflammation, omega-3 fatty acids are a must. Unfortunately, many store-bought fish oils are loaded with mercury that can make chronic pain symptoms worse.
Also, most products may claim to contain 1,000 mg. or 1,200 mg. on the front label, but on the back label the EPA and DHA may only add up to 300 mg. or so. The rest are nothing but fillers.
Diamond Nutritional’s Balanced Omega Formula contains nothing BUT 100% molecularly distilled fish oil for powerful, healing nutrition.
Diamond Nutritional’s Probiotic Formula
Oftentimes, low gut bacteria can cause the digestive difficulties associated with fibromyalgia. Organic yogurt is a great way to get some of these active, live cultures but it doesn’t contain nearly enough. For my patients, I recommend Diamond Nutritional’s Probiotic Formula. Unlike other probiotic formulas, this brand contains no harmful additives, colors or fillers and offers 20 billion colony forming units with six strains of good bacteria in each serving. These strains include lactobacillus acidophilus, lactobacillus paracasei, bifidobacterium lactis, bifidobacterium bifidum, lactobacillus plantarum, lactobacillus rhamnosus, and saccharomyces boulardii.
Magnesium and Vitamin D3
Dealing with the sleep disturbances and mood changes associated with fibromyalgia can be hard. This is why I also recommend adding Diamond Nutritional’s Chelated Magnesium. Chelated magnesium is ideal because it contains some of the smallest minerals available, making it more bioavailable to the body. Each serving contains 59% of your daily value of this essential mineral!
Also, vitamin D3 deficiency, being the most common vitamin deficiency in the world, can also make fibromyalgia symptoms worse. Though most conventional physicians will tell you 200-400 IUs of vitamin D3 is more than enough, recent evidence has suggested most people need far more than that to achieve optimum health. This is especially true for chronic pain sufferers. For my patients dealing with fibromyalgia, I recommend Diamond Nutritional’s Vitamin D3 5,000 IUs. This formula contains no artificial ingredients and comes in capsules that are easy to swallow.
Diamond Nutritional’s Mood Support Formula
In addition to treating the physical symptoms associated with any chronic pain disorder, I also recommend a supplement to stabilize mood. Diamond Nutritional’s Mood Support Formula contains a synergistic blend of vitamin B6, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, and zinc to stabilize mood and ease feelings of restlessness and anxiety. It also contains 5-HTP, a natural amino acid that is a precursor to l-tryptophan, the “sleepy” compound found in turkey. 5-HTP helps boost natural serotonin levels, which fight chronic pain, boost mood, and improve quality of sleep.
If you’re a person living with chronic pain, you’re not alone. No matter how much pain you’re living with right now, there’s always hope. These dietary and lifestyle changes can help you start on your journey to lasting health and wellness. Imagine your life without chronic pain. It’s possible!