The causes of some conditions remain a mystery despite scientific research. Fibromyalgia is one of these. Suffers of fibromyalgia have widespread body pain which originates mainly in the muscle, so any strenuous movement will aggravate the pain.
The 18 Specific Tender points in Fibromyalgia
There are 18 specific tenders points in the body these occur mainly where the muscle joins the tendon[ 1]. Diagnoses of fibromyagia typically includes pain on pressure of at least 11 of the 18 specific tenderpoints.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition, and may last for years. There many natural ways to help relieve the pain. I use massage, herbal medicine , and nutritional and lifestyle changes to help people who have fibromyalgia. Of these research so far has been undertaken on the benefits of massage and nutrition.
Massage has been shown by a number of research studies to have good effect[ 2-4]. One of these studies lasted 5 weeks and showed not only a reduction on pain but also less stiffness, fatigue, anxiety and depression and fewer nights of difficult sleeping. The cortisol levels which is a substance in the body that is used to measure stress levels was also reduced[ 4]. Another study demonstrated that massage helped decrease the pain of fibromyalgia. Not only did the participants report a decrease in pain, and better sleep but also the levels of substance P which is a neurotransmitter which causes pain was also reduced[ 3]. A further study on massage and fibromyalgia which lasted 10 weeks showed massage reduced pain, less reliance on medication for pain, less depression and a better quality of life[ 2].
The overall diet is important. Obesity will aggravate symptoms so some sufferers should reduce weight. But certainly not at the expense if nutrition. Some research has shown that there are nutrients important for all people with fibromyalgia regardless of body weight. Magnesuim is likely to be low in people affected by fibromyalgia. Low magnesium levels also occur with people suffering from fatigue, sleep problems and anxiety; these problems also occur with some people suffering from fibromyalgia. Research on magnesium levels revealed that magnesium was significantly depleted in people with fibromyalgia[ 5]. Other research looking at hair levels of both magnesium and calcium in fibromyalgia sufferers indicated that supplementation may be helpful in the overall treatment of fibromyalgia[ 6].
Antioxidants which help protect the cells of the body also have a role to play in recovery from fibromyalgia. Studies have shown that free radical damage is present in people with fibromyalgia[ 7, 8]. Free radicals are produced as when oxygen is used by the cells of the body. They can travel throughout the body and damage the cells, free radical damage has been linked to many chronic diseases, research now indicates that free radical damage also occurs in fibromyalgia[ 7, 8]. The antioxidants such as vitamin C, beta-carotene, vitamin E, zinc and omega 3 fatty acids help protect against oxidation and free radical damage[ 8]. Research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids can help with the pain of fibromyalgia[ 9].
Vitamin D may also be part of finding relief from this debilitating condition. So far research has found that people who have fibromyalgia generally are deficient in vitamin D, those who also have anxiety and depression are even more likely to be low in vitamin D[ 10].
High levels of homocysteine damage the body, research has shown that people with fibromyalgia have high homocysteine levels[ 11]. Homocysteine can be reduced by taking B vitamins; in particular B12 and folic acid.
There is a need for more research on nutrients and fibromyalgia but so far research shows[ 12] and I have found that people suffering from fibromyalgia benefit from nutritional supplements. If supplements are used I recommend the Entire Katoa Food State supplements for the best absorption and bioavailability.
3. Field T, Diego M, Cullen C, Hernandez-Reif M, Sunshine W, Douglas S: Fibromyalgia Pain and Substance P Decrease and Sleep Improves After Massage Therapy. JCR: Journal of Clinical Rheumatology 2002, 8(2):72-76.
4. Sunshine W, Field TM, Quintino O, Fierro K, Kuhn C, Burman I, Schanberg S: Fibromyalgia Benefits From Massage Therapy and Transcutaneous Electrical Stimulation. JCR: Journal of Clinical Rheumatology 1996, 2(1):18-22. http://journals.lww.com/jclinrheum/Fulltext/1996/02000/Fibromyalgia_Benefits_From_Massage_Therapy_and.5.aspx
5. Romano TJ, Stiller JW: Magnesium Deficiency in Fibromyalgia Syndrome. Journal of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine 1994, 4(2):165-167.http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.3109/13590849409034552
6. Shu Yan N: Hair calcium and magnesium levels in patients with fibromyalgia: A case center study. Journal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics 1999, 22(9):586-593.http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0161475499700199?showall=true
7. Bagis S, Tamer L, Sahin G, Bilgin R, Guler H, Ercan B, Erdogan C: Free radicals and antioxidants in primary fibromyalgia: an oxidative stress disorder? Rheumatology International 2005, 25(3):188-190. http://www.springerlink.com/content/g7w76e14bq576rvy/
8. Ozgocmen S, Ozyurt H, Sogut S, Akyol O, Ardicoglu O, Yildizhan H: Antioxidant status, lipid peroxidation and nitric oxide in fibromyalgia: etiologic and therapeutic concerns. Rheumatology International 2006, 26(7):598-603. http://www.springerlink.com/content/y453n51516x55435/
10. Armstrong D, Meenagh G, Bickle I, Lee A, Curran E, Finch M: Vitamin D deficiency is associated with anxiety and depression in fibromyalgia. Clinical Rheumatology 2007, 26(4):551-554. http://www.springerlink.com/content/m88hj545x60273v8/
11. Regland B, Andersson M, Abrahamsson L, Bagby J, Dyrehag LE, Gottfries CG: Increased Concentrations of Homocysteine in the Cerebrospinal Fluid in Patients with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology 1997, 26(4):301-307. http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.3109/03009749709105320
12. Dykman K, Tone C, Ford C, Dykman R: The effects of nutritional supplements on the symptoms of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science 1998, 33(1):61-71. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9594356