Fibromyalgia is a chronic disease characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain and tenderness. The exact cause of Fibromyalgia is currently unknown, however, several theories suggest that genetics, infections, and stress play a large role in its development. According to research, neurological changes such as pain receptor sensitivity and neurotransmitter imbalances may play a significant role in the development of the disease.
-Muscular pain and tenderness that is widespread
There is a close connection between a deficiency of magnesium and the symptoms of fibromyalgia. In fact, some doctors suggest that magnesium deficiencies are often misdiagnosed as FM. This may be due to the fact that magnesium plays a role in nerve conduction, muscle function as well as hundreds of processes within the body. According to a Mayo Clinic study, the application of transdermal magnesium chloride on the lower and upper limbs has been seen to be potentially beneficial in patients of FM (see study).
In my clinical experience, supplementing with magnesium malate dramatically improves the symptoms of FM in my clients.
Turmeric & Boswellia
These herbs need no introduction. Turmeric, the Curcumin-rich super anti-inflammatory, is known to be more effective than several allopathic medicines, according to various studies (see study). In my practice, this spice is the most talked about, along with Boswellia. It relieves pain, stiffness, inflammation, and neuroinflammation (which may play a role in FM). Boswellia is known for its potent anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects (see study). Boswellic acids are believed to inhibit 5-Lipoxygenase, an enzyme responsible for the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Boswellia is known in research to improve joint pain, however, a reduction in muscular pain is also seen in my experience. I do recommend taking turmeric whole, along with black pepper, rather than just a Curcumin supplement. Speak to an Ayurvedic doctor about what’s best for you.
Known for its use for drug withdrawal, anxiety and sleep, Passion Flower is known to calm the nervous system. It is believed to work by stimulating the release of a neurotransmitter known as gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which assists in reducing neuron activity and generating the feeling of calmness. This can play a vital role in assisting patients with FM to get proper sleep (see study).
One of the best pain relievers and anti-inflammatories available in nature. Ginger is effective in treating muscle pain (see study) – the characteristic symptom of fibromyalgia. Several studies have proven that ginger is just as, if not, better than commonly used anti-inflammatory painkillers like ibuprofen, betamethasone, and Mefenamic acid, in a wide range of conditions ranging from Osteoarthritis, Dysmenorrhea, Rheumatoid Arthritis and more. Ginger is able to block inflammatory mediators like Leukotrienes and reduce Cytokines, making is a powerful weapon against pain. In my practice, I use Ginger in combination with a few other herbs (which I will mention next) for treating Fibromyalgia and have had much success with it.
This herb has a long history of treating inflammatory and pain-related conditions (see study). Ashwagandha is used for improving cognitive function and balancing neurotransmitter levels, especially GABA– when used in the proper combination. Given that Fibromyalgia has a GABA related imbalance responsible for its development and symptoms, this herb is certainly a useful option. It tends to give results within a week and in my experience, assists in relieving almost all the symptoms of FM. Ashwagandha also reduces cortisol, the stress hormone which plays a major role in the development in chronic conditions such as FM (see study).
Make sure to seek the guidance of an Ayurvedic/Holistic doctor, as this combination can be a little strong for some people.
Yoga and Pranayama tend to be quite beneficial in Fibromyalgia and can offer many more health benefits (see study). Yoga is able to reduce stress levels, inflammation and anxiety as well as improve sleep quality. It is crucial that “Traditional Yoga is done rather than the typical mainstream yoga that is focused more on fitness and weight loss. Try to incorporate at least 20-30 minutes of Pranayama and 15-20 minutes of Asanas. Make sure to include Meditation to help keep those stress levels down. Click here to join a pranayama Skype class!
Follow a diet rich in antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. The following are a good selection of foods for this condition:
As always, avoid junk foods, refined carbs, soy, carbonated drinks, and alcohol.
(Always use medicinal herbs under the supervision of a doctor)
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By Dr. Nishal Ramnunan B.A.M.S.
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