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Fibromyalgia is a long-lasting condition without a known cause or cure. It causes pain, stiffness, and tenderness in the joints and muscles of the entire body, which make it difficult for you to move around. This condition also renders you extremely sensitive to pain, which results in constant exhaustion and sleep problems.
The main objective of fibromyalgia treatment is to control or minimize the symptoms by clubbing together a variety of interventions. Doctors usually prescribe painkillers, antidepressants, and antiepileptic drugs to address the pain, fatigue, and insomnia, but these medications alone may not provide adequate relief.
So, drug treatment is often combined with other physical, psychological, and behavioral therapies to help the patient cope with this chronic and debilitating illness.
Too much reliance on medication for managing this lifelong condition can increase the toxic load on your body and give rise to adverse side effects. To avoid such undue complications, you can try certain natural remedies to get relief without the use of medication.
Natural Remedies for Fibromyalgia
Here are some natural remedies for fibromyalgia.
1. Do an Epsom salt soak
Epsom salt is composed of magnesium sulfate and works as a strong anti-inflammatory agent. It deeply relaxes your muscles and joints to relieve chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia.
How to use:
- Fill your bathtub with comfortably warm water.
- Dissolve 2 cups of Epsom salt in the bathwater.
- Soak in it for about 20 minutes.
- Do this up to thrice a week.
2. Consume turmeric
Turmeric is credited with multiple healing properties that can be traced back to its chief bioactive compound called curcumin.
Turmeric works as a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent, which may help relieve symptoms of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, although there are currently no studies to prove its effectiveness against these conditions. (1)
How to use:
- Mix ½–1 teaspoon of turmeric powder in a cup of milk. Heat the mixture until it comes to a boil, and then let it cool down. Drink this mixture once or twice daily.
- Use more turmeric in your regular diet.
- You can ask your doctor about starting you on a turmeric or curcumin supplement.
3. Drink ginger tea
Many in vitro and animal studies have shown that ginger exhibits anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and neuroprotective properties, which may help alleviate fibromyalgia symptoms. (1)
These medicinal effects can be attributed to the presence of certain phenolic compounds in ginger such as gingerols and shogaols along with many other chemical constituents such as lipids, terpenes, organic acids, polysaccharides, and raw fibers.
How to use:
- Put a teaspoon of freshly grated ginger in a cup of boiling water and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Strain the liquid and drink this tea up to 3 times every day.
- Consult your doctor about taking ginger tablets.
4. Apply cayenne pepper
Cayenne pepper is loaded with capsaicin, which works as a natural pain reliever and muscle relaxant.
When you apply it to the painful area, capsaicin is readily absorbed into the skin and curbs the release of a chemical called substance P, which is responsible for transmitting pain signals to the brain. The reduction in the amount of substance P inadvertently decreases pain sensation, thus providing temporary relief. (2)
How to use:
- Take cayenne pepper extracts or capsules. For the proper dosage, consult your doctor.
- Include cayenne pepper in your cooking.
- Apply a tiny amount of capsaicin cream (containing 0.025% capsaicin) to the affected areas, and leave it on for about 30 minutes. Wash it off with normal water, and reapply up to 3 times a day.
Note: Do not apply cayenne pepper or capsaicin cream to broken or inflamed skin.
5. Get physically active
Fibromyalgia makes movement painfully difficult, but becoming inactive will further stiffen your joints and muscles and consequently will worsen the condition. Thus, it is important to stay physically active but within reasonable limits to keep your body limber and facilitate ease of movement.
Ask your doctor to recommend safe exercises to do regularly, which will help improve the range of motion in your joints. This key intervention has been shown to alleviate fibromyalgia pain and improve the overall quality of life.
Experts recommend adult patients to engage in any type of moderate physical exercise for 150 minutes per week. You can break it down to 30-minute sessions every day for five days a week, which can be further split into three ten-minute sessions during the day. (3)
Walking, swimming, and cycling are all useful forms of exercise that reduce the disability and pain related to fibromyalgia, but it’s best to consult your doctor or physical therapist before you start.
What Are the Complications of Fibromyalgia?
Adult patients with fibromyalgia in the United States report suffering from the following complications: (3)
- People with fibromyalgia have double the hospitalization rate than those without this condition.
- Female patients with fibromyalgia may suffer a significant decrease in their quality of life.
- Patients with fibromyalgia exhibit higher rates of severe depression.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic musculoskeletal condition that causes pain in muscles, joints, and soft tissue throughout the body, which makes it very difficult for you to move around and perform your daily activities. The simplest, most painless task can trigger pain as the body becomes hypersensitive to even the slightest stimuli.
The exact cause of this condition is not clearly understood, but ongoing research suggests that it stems from some form of neurosensory dysfunction that hampers the brain’s ability to process pain signals.
There is currently no cure for fibromyalgia, but the right treatment can help manage the condition so that you can lead a more comfortable and complete life.