Fibromyalgia is a “Muscle Malfunction”
Last week I wrote about different treatments for fibromyalgia, click here. Although there is no known cure for fibromyalgia and many of the medications can have unpleasant side effects, there are many nondrug alternative fibromyalgia treatments available. Fibromyalgia pain is a result of muscle dysfunction. The treatments to manage fibromyalgia should be focused around keeping your muscles healthy. When you suffer from fibromyalgia, the pain you feel are your muscles calling out for help. You can think of it as a “muscle malfunction”. These muscle malfunctions basically come down to two things: lack of nutrients or increased demand for nutrients to the muscle cell.
The Muscle Needs Nutrition
Lack of nutrition to the muscle can occur not only from your eating habits, but also because our food supply today does not have the same nutrition that it once had. The poor nutrient content in our food comes from the over processing, genetic engineering (GMO foods), over farming, pesticide and hormone use, and unnatural feed for livestock to name a few. When you also consider the amount of fast food we consume in this country, you can see how these factors can lead to our food lacking the nutrients that we need. While a lack of nutrients is a factor, the increased demand for nutrition is also an important consideration. This can occur from stress, either physical or mental. Viruses, toxins or wastes in the body can overburden the immune system causing fatigue or illness. This stresses the body and the muscles. The level of toxins that we are exposed to in our society also causes stress to the muscles resulting in an increased demand for nutrients to flush out the muscles. Fibromyalgia symptoms can also occur after a traumatic event or illness which is another way the stress to the muscles results in a demand for nutrition. The two ways to correct the lack of nutrients and the increased demand for nutrients is to reduce the stress to your system through relaxation techniques and nutritional aids.
Relaxation Techniques for Fibromyalgia
Relaxation techniques are more than just sitting in a room and working on your breathing. It involves creating balance in all aspects in your life. Yoga therapy is an excellent way to help provide that balance in your life. Yoga is one of the oldest forms of exercise and dates back over 5,000 years. Yoga helps to integrate your mind and body which creates a healthier you! Yoga will assist you with proper breathing and relaxation while providing your body with the needed stretching and strengthening. When your muscles and your body is relaxed, the blood flow will increase to the areas needed bringing with it the proper nutrients. As the muscle are stretched and strengthened, the blood flow increases also. It is important to perform yoga poses for the whole body and to integrate a variety of poses, not just postures that target a certain area or problem. Everything in your body is connected. Creating balance is a central to yoga. Balance in your body is just as important as your life. The Yoga Fish Pose is an excellent pose for those with fibromyalgia to promote balance between the chest and the upper back. It is also a very good pose to relax the body. Practice yoga on an empty stomach. Sunrise and sunset are great times. Those with fibromyalgia are often stiff in the morning and a warm shower followed by warm clothes is a good way to make it easier in the morning. Practicing yoga in the evening time can help you achieve a deeper sleep which allows the body time to heal.
Nutritional Aids for Fibromyalgia
In addition to a balanced and healthy diet, there are nutritional supplements that you can take to help with your fibromyalgia symptoms. Here is a list of those supplements from the Fibromyalgia Network.
- Magnesium/Malic Acid/B Vitamin Complex- Malic acid helps the muscle with energy. It is broken down in the muscle which is aided in this process by magnesium and B vitamins.
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids- These oils have excellent anti-oxidant properties. They neutralize the chemical that can harm the cell membranes. Omega 3 also protects the cardiovascular system.
- Anti-oxidants (Vitamins E and C)- Anti-oxidants counteract the effects of free radicals which are the toxins that can breakdown and damage your cells.
- Melatonin and Valerian- Melatonin can help to regulate your body’s internal clock to improve your sleep. Valerian is a herb that may have sedating properties to help you go to sleep easier.
- 5-HTP- Helps to increase brain serotonin to improve mood and sleep.
- Acetyl L-Carnitine- May help to ease pain and decrease fatigue.
Fibromyalgia is a real and painful condition. It limits a person’s ability to be active and robs them of the ability to enjoy life to the fullest. Try the treatments that I have discussed. You should always consult with your physician before starting any physical activity and with any nutritional supplements to make sure there are no interactions with your current prescribed medications. At Flex Physical Therapy, we offer many of the alternative nondrug treatments such as Yoga classes, massage therapy, 830Laser, and physical therapy. We are experts in helping those with fibromyalgia manage their symptoms. Call us at 1-800-930-8803.