Natural Treatments For Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is also known as chronic general (widespread) body pain. Fibromyalgia also presents with sleep problems or insomnia, weakness, and extreme sensitivity to pain. It can also be referred to as Fibromyositis, Fibrositis, or Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS). Fibromyalgia is a compound term derived from a Latin word (‘fibro-’) and two Greek words (‘myo-’ and ‘algia’). ‘Fibro-’ means fibrous tissues. ‘Myo-’ means muscle and ’algia’ means pain. Thus, the term ‘Fibromyalgia’ literally means fibrous tissues and muscle pain.
Prevalence of Fibromyalgia
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that Fibromyalgia Syndrome affects 4 million United States adults; this amount is about 2% of the adults. Fibromyalgia affects more women than men. Fibromyalgia, its likely causes, and various treatments are thoroughly explained further in this article.
What are the Symptoms of Fibromyalgia?
People diagnosed with Fibromyalgia may have diverse symptoms. The most usual symptoms are;
- – Widespread pain, headache, and stiffness.
- – Sleep problems or Insomnia.
- – General body weakness (fatigue).
- – Cognitive disruptions such as Inattention, poor memory, and mental dullness.
- – Depression and anxiety.
Other symptoms include;
- – Gastrointestinal problems such as stomachache, constipation, and bloating.
- – Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction or TMJ syndrome (Pain in the jaw joint and surrounding muscles).
- – Tingling and numbing sensations of the peripheries (the hands and feet).
How do I find out if I have Fibromyalgia?
There are no particular laboratory tests or scans to diagnose Fibromyalgia currently. If you suspect you have Fibromyalgia, you may need to see several doctors. Your doctor (based on familiar experiences) may diagnose Fibromyalgia as a result of your major symptoms along with other symptoms.
Other doctors may conclude on Fibromyalgia based on the established criteria by the American College of Rheumatology for diagnosing Fibromyalgia: pain and symptoms for over one week (based on the number of tender points among 19 parts of the body), the level of tiredness severity, cognitive problems and waking unrefreshed, symptoms lasting 3 months or more at the same level and ruling out of other health problems that may mimic pain and some other symptoms.
Is there chronic pain or chronic fatigue associated with fibromyalgia? Chronic fatigue syndrome has been observed in clinical trial associated with fibromyalgia However, you may benefit more from a Rheumatologist (a doctor who specializes in musculoskeletal conditions) to reduce pain associated with fibromyalgia. Using your intensive history taking, the knowledge of all the symptoms you experience, and ruling out other related health issues, they may be able to diagnose Fibromyalgia.
What causes Fibromyalgia Pain?
The cause of Fibromyalgia is unknown. However, scientists have said that it may be a result of the unusual processing of pain signals even in the absence of pain stimuli. Usually, pain may result from known causes such as injuries and diseases.
In individuals with Fibromyalgia, however, pain does not result from direct causes but from abnormal pain signals processing. The fact that there is no direct pain cause, makes Fibromyalgia Syndrome chronic and difficult to cure. However, Fibromyalgia patients benefit from some medications and lifestyle changes (such as practicing Fibromyalgia Yoga, getting sufficient sleep, and stress management). Examples of lifestyle changes that can be adopted, as well as examples of Fibromyalgia Yoga are soon stated in this article.
The presence of certain genes occurs commonly amongst Fibromyalgia patients. Due to this, some researchers also presume that these genes may cause Fibromyalgia patients to unusually process stimuli that are not painful to others. Many other scientists are looking at possibilities of problems with how the brain and spinal cord process pain. Many researchers have linked Fibromyalgia to some illnesses, traumatic events, psychological stress, and injuries. Studies are still ongoing, however, on some other possible causes.
Is There A Fibromyalgia Treatment?
There is no cure for Fibromyalgia. However, people living with Fibromyalgia can benefit a great deal from medical and non-medical management. These may help fibromyalgia easier to live with and help to alleviate symptoms. These treatments will be explained further in this article.
What Are The Treatment Options?
Drug Treatments for Fibromyalgia Symptoms
A set of medications prescribed by doctors and rheumatologists may be beneficial for alleviating some of the symptoms of Fibromyalgia Syndrome. These include a set of medications that may provide pain relief, insomnia, cognitive dysfunctions, fatigue, and depression.
Your drugs should be taken according to your doctor’s or rheumatologist’s prescriptions. You should also report serious side effects promptly to your doctor. Inform your doctor about all the drugs you take. Fibromyalgia treatment requires the combined knowledge of several professionals including doctors, rheumatologists, therapists, and yogi. Some drugs can be beneficial to relieve your fibromyalgia symptoms.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves three medications to specifically treat Fibromyalgia. Some of them are Milnacipran (Savella), Duloxetine (Cymbalta), and Pregabalin (Lyrica). Some over-the-counter drugs may help to relieve Fibromyalgia pain such as Aspirin, Ibuprofen, and Naproxen. Some antidepressants and sleep-improving medications can also be prescribed to help relieve your insomnia, pain, and depression symptoms.
Antidepressants can also assist in reducing your sleep quality problems and emotional problems. Examples of antidepressants that are commonly used to treat Fibromyalgia include Amitriptyline (Elavil), Citalopram, Fluoxetine, and Sertraline. Sleep-improving drugs help to initiate or maintain sleep. , of sleep-improving drugs that are commonly used to treat Fibromyalgia include Neurontin (Gabapentin) and Zanaflex (Tizanidine). With experience and the help of your doctor, you may learn which drug combination benefits you most.
9 Natural Treatments for Fibromyalgia or Non-Drug Therapy
People with Fibromyalgia may benefit from natural remedies for fibromyalgia, such as lifestyle modification, therapies, and Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). Studies prove that these non-drug treatments are very effective for patients with Fibromyalgia.
- 1. Lifestyle modifications to relieve Fibromyalgia symptoms may include stress management, getting enough sleep, getting enough nutrition, and engaging in physical exercises.
- 2. Stress management is a wide range of methods, strategies, or psychotherapies that improve quality of life by regulating your level of stress. For relieving symptoms associated with fibromyalgia, stress management involves practicing meditation, Fibromyalgia Yoga, massage therapy, and adjusting your work.
- Fibromyalgia Yoga poses recommended by Shoosh Crotzer are Uttanasana (standing forward bend), Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (bridge pose), Bhujangasana (cobra pose), and Savasana (corpse pose). You need to adjust your working hours by reducing them or switching to another work (less difficult). You will benefit highly from an Occupational Therapist, a Yogi, and Massage Therapist for pain management.
- 3. Train yourself to have good sleep habits. This improves your quality of life. Have a specific time to sleep and don’t compromise with it. Don’t take alcohol or caffeinated substances just before sleeping as they may interfere with your sleep. Do not exercise close to bedtime; this may disrupt your sleep. Avoid midday naps as these may disturb your sleep pattern.
- 4. Getting good and adequate nutrition helps relieve your Fibromyalgia symptoms and generally improves your quality of life. Your diet should include whole foods. Be careful with the consumption of substances that can disrupt your sleep patterns like alcohol and caffeine. Let your meals be rich in Vitamins. Take a lot of fruit. If you are deficient in Vitamin D nutrients, you may benefit from taking Vitamin D supplements. Your Vitamin D intake may improve from the early morning sun. Food substances like Cod liver oil and beef liver are very rich in Vitamin D nutrients, Avoid the intake of too much food addictives and take sufficient water.
- 5. Engage in moderate physical exercises. This may be difficult due to your pain. You need to start with moderate exercises such as walking if exercising is difficult for you. Follow your doctor’s advice and prescribe exercises suitable for your pain and condition. Fibromyalgia patients also benefit from exercises like swimming and aerobic exercises.
People living with Fibromyalgia also benefit from therapies such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), support groups, and hydrotherapy.
- 6. Cognitive Behaviors Therapy is also called Talk Therapy. It deals with understanding how your behavior and thinking patterns influence pain and some other symptoms of yours. CBT and present-moment awareness help you to learn techniques that can reduce your symptoms and relieve your pain.
- 7. A support group is a group of other people living with Fibromyalgia. Belonging to one may uplift you and improve your quality of life. Together, you can achieve more and be dedicated to your lifestyle modifications.
- 8. Hydrotherapy involves the use of water to relieve pain. It can also be known as a water cure. It helps to soothe the pain. Some hydrotherapy equipment includes hot tubs, whirlpool spas, hydrotherapy tanks, and pools. Doctors or physiotherapists may offer advice on hydrotherapy techniques suitable for you. Hydrotherapy can be effective for Fibromyalgia.
- 9. Complementary and Alternative Medicine, also known as integrated medicine can also be effective for managing some of your Fibromyalgia symptoms. It is used by some medical practitioners. Examples include the use of acupuncture, massage, drinking green tea, and practicing Tai chi (also called shadowboxing).
Practicing all these non-drug treatments alongside drug treatments can be effective to relieve Fibromyalgia symptoms.
Fibromyalgia VA Rating
VA means Veterans Affairs. A VA Disability Rating is defined as a percentage that is usually assigned by The VA Rating Authorities to a Veteran with a disability, using a VA Disability Process. A 0% rating usually means your condition hardly affects you while a 100% rating means your condition has made you unable to work. A VA Disability Rating determines the quantity of VA Disability benefits provided the veterans suffer from a service-connected problem. Benefits may include monetary benefits and total medical care.
Does Fibromyalgia relate to service? Most causes of Fibromyalgia are unknown or idiopathic. However, some are related to emotional stress, physical trauma, infections, and psychological stress which may all be service-connected. The higher the VA Disability Rating, the higher the benefits for a veteran’s condition. Veterans with the same VA Disability Rating get the same amount except in cases that involve partners or children.
The VA Math is used to combine the Disability Ratings of all service-connected conditions a Veteran has. The total Disability Rating is utilized to ascertain the exact value of VA Disability Benefits the veteran will get. If your Fibromyalgia has worsened since you last applied for a VA rating, reapply and submit a new claim for a higher evaluation.
How is a Fibromyalgia VA Rating calculated?
Using the VA’s Schedule for Rating Disabilities (VASRD), the VA assigns percentages to conditions. The level of disability caused, treatment options, and extent of symptoms are the basis for the giving of rating rules by The VASRD.
You may be required to provide medical records that show proof you have Fibromyalgia and proof that your Fibromyalgia is service-connected or other Statements in Support of the Claim. You may also be required to take a VA claim examination.
You are generally assigned a Fibromyalgia VA Rating based on the gravity or seriousness of your Fibromyalgia. Your Fibromyalgia must either be sustained or aggravated by your functioning or active military service. Your service duration will not be considered if the VA approves your eligibility. If you have more than one service-connected condition, the VA considers a total disability rating for you by using the VA Math to combine the VA ratings of all your conditions.
What are the Fibromyalgia VA Ratings?
The Code of Federal Regulations covers the VA disability ratings for Fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia VA Ratings can be 10%, 20%, or 40% based on the presence of symptoms requiring constant drugs (10%), the presence of symptoms that are present one-third of the time and increased by triggers (20%), or the presence of symptoms that do not cooperate with treatments (40%).
Conclusion: Fibromyalgia Treatment
Fibromyalgia is said to highly impact one’s quality of life negatively. Fibromyalgia may last for a long period, possibly lifelong. However, the combination of both drug and non-drug wellness therapies has been proven to be effective in reduction in pain and improving the quality of life of persons with Fibromyalgia.
Despite the many symptoms related to it, it does not cause damage to a person’s internal organs, joints, or muscles. Fibromyalgia syndrome is also not generally considered a progressive condition except in a few cases (with triggers of Fibromyalgia flares such as emotional stress, physical stress, insufficient sleep, and hormonal imbalance). This means that the condition will not likely get worse as time goes on. The condition can improve.
Recent National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)-funded studies have been investigating diverse ways that some Integrative and Complementary interventions work for Fibromyalgia.
- 1. https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/fibromyalgia.htm
- 2. https://www.rheumatology.org/I-Am-A/Patient-Caregiver/DiseasesConditions/Fibromyalgia
- 3. https://www.yogajournal.com/lifestyle/health/pain-reliever/
- 4. https://militarydisabilitymadeeasy.com/va-disability-rating.html
- 5. https://vet.law/va-disability-claims/physical-conditions/fibromyalgia/#:~:text=The+VA+disability+ratings+for,%2C+20%25+or+10%25.&text=Some+veterans+have+more+than+one+service%2Drelated+illness+or+injury
- 6. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/fibromyalgia-in-depth