The best treatment for fibromyalgia includes patient education and self-management skills integrated with a variety of alternative and holistic therapies.
Traditional medical doctors may attempt to treat with analgesics like acetaminophen, NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as aspirin or ibuprofen, anti-depressants, muscle relaxants, or some form of Narcotic. These methods are often not very effective for most people, have a variety of side effects, and/or put the patient at risk of addiction, tolerance, and dependency. In addition to that, they put an added burden on the liver and immune system by subjecting the body to synthetic drugs.
There are many adjustments in lifestyle and alternative therapies you can do yourself that don’t carry these risks that will help relieve symptoms, improve your quality of life, regain some sense of control and power in your life and live life more fully.
For example, you can manage fibromyalgia pain quite effectively with a mindfulness meditation technique that I teach in my book, Mindfulness Over Chronic Pain. Additionally, I have reduced my FM pain completely with mild exercise, living a green lifestyle, following a Paleolithic diet, and addressing the factors below.
Here are some of the most beneficial approaches in the treatment of fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia Treatment Methods
- Food Allergies and Sensitivities
Food allergies or sensitivities can be the culprit of a variety of symptoms like joint pain, muscle pain, anxiety, depression, headaches, and many more. Lots of people can reduce their symptoms by eliminating allergenic foods. One of the most effective methods for identifying hidden food sensitivities is with the ALCAT testing.
Many if not all symptoms of candida overlap with those of fibromyalgia. It is possible that fibromyalgia is nothing more than a severe infestation of candida, due to the toxins it releases. Many people can relieve a variety of their symptoms by following a candida elimination protocol.
- Vitamins and Minerals
A variety of vitamins and minerals such as B-complex, calcium, magnesium, Coenzyme Q10 and omega 3s, can help improve energy, mood and cognitive functioning. Additionally, it is found that many people with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue, as well as most other health conditions, actually have a wide variety of nutritional deficiencies.
- Balancing Hormones
An imbalance in hormones is very common in our society and can result in a variety of symptoms that mimic those of FMS or exacerbate the condition. A simple saliva test can identify hormonal imbalances and balance can be restored with diet, exercise, nutritional supplements and bioidentical hormone replacement.
- Identifying and Balancing Neurotransmitter Imbalances
Deficiencies or imbalances in neurotransmitters is also very common in our society and they too result in many debilitating symptoms and conditions like depression, anxiety, chronic pain, cognitive dysfunction and sleep disturbances. A simple blood test can identify deficiencies or imbalances in neurotransmitters and balance can be restored with diet, avoiding environmental toxins, reducing stress, amino acid therapy and other crucial nutrients.
- Test for Adrenal Fatigue and Address Accordingly
Adrenal fatigue is commonly found in people with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. As you might have guessed, the primary symptom that develops is fatigue, as well as chronic pain, depression, anxiety, irritability and many more of the common symptoms found in those with fibromyalgia. A simple saliva test can identify if the adrenal glands are exhausted and changes in diet and lifestyle, as well as nutritional supplements can give them the boost they desperately need.
- Cognitive Behavior Therapy
This treatment of fibromyalgia is very effective for some people in relieving symptoms and learning to live with their condition. It’s a form of psychotherapy that focuses on the impact that thought patterns and behaviors have on symptoms. The aim is to reframe the way you think about your condition and strengthen your inner beliefs in your capability of dealing with stressful situations.
This may be combined with other techniques such as biofeedback or other methods of relaxation.
- Stress Management
Managing stress is vital for people with fibromyalgia as it seems to incite a flare of symptoms quite easily. You don’t want to eliminate stress completely, but minimize it as much as possible and find ways to cope in a healthy manner.
Regular exercise will help relieve pain, improve your mood and boost your immune system. It is essential component found not only in fibromyalgia treatments, but management of any chronic health problem. However keep in mind that exercise shouldn’t be too strenuous or it may exacerbate your symptoms. Start out slow and work up to something
About 20 minutes is good, but it may take a while to get there. This can also be broken up into ten minute periods, five minute periods if that’s what your body requires. Exercise needs to be something you do regularly, not just once in a while. It takes time to build strength and endurance.
- Communication Skills
It’s important for individuals living with any chronic condition to be able to communicate freely and effectively their feelings about the experiences they are having and how it’s impacting them. It’s also essential for maintaining relationships and getting needs met.
- Deep Breathing Exercises
Using your breath to reduce symptoms and cope with all the emotional aspects of living with a chronic health condition is a very effective fibromyalgia treatment and costs you nothing. It also nourishes you spiritually.
By itself or in conjunction with breathing exercises, meditation can be an incredible help for symptom relief or management as well as enhancing psychological and spiritual health. You can learn a particular type of mindfulness meditation that is exceptionally effective in my book, Mindfulness Over Chronic Pain.
- Get Enough Sleep
Sleep disturbances are a common occurrence in fibromyalgia. Some believe it is a cause of Fibro, while others believe it is a result of the condition. Regardless, an attempt to try and normalize sleep patterns must be made. Sleep deprivation has a variety of negative effects on our health. Try to set a regular bedtime and stick to it and look at some of these natural sleep aids.
Most people with fibromyalgia find a great deal of relief with a diet that is free of sugar, caffeine, preservatives, additives, alcohol, and refined foods and low in carbohydrates and rich in animal protein and fat. I recommend a low-carb Paleolithic Diet.
- Restore Balance to the Autonomic Nervous System
Autonomic nervous system dysfunction plays a crucial role in fibromyalgia, so any method that assist in this process will also help FM. This may include meditation, exercise, diet, nutritional deficiencies, breathwork, stress management, or even neural retraining or limbic system retraining.
- Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth
In one study, one hundred percent of the subjects with fibromyalgia tested positive for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. Toxins released by the bacteria may be the culprit.
- Other Tidbits
Other helpful tips for improving your life when you live with fibromyalgia are to learn to be your own best friend, find a healthy balance between resting and doing, be forgiving and patient with yourself, cultivate gratitude for the small blessings in your life and maintain a sense of humor.
It’s important to keep in mind that since symptoms are so varied from person to person that using the same treatment for fibromyalgia for every individual is extremely difficult. What works for one person may not work for another and vice versa. Your treatment plan should be tailored to your specific needs.
There usually isn’t just one approach that is most beneficial by itself. Most people find the most effective fibromyalgia treatment plan is one that incorporates a combination of many approaches together.