What You Need To Know About Fibromyalgia, Its Symptoms, Prevention, & Treatment

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What Is Fibromyalgia? What You Need To Know About Its Symptoms, Prevention, And Treatment
Self, Health And Wellness

What is fibromyalgia?

Common worldwide, fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that causes widespread body pain.

An estimated 5 to 10 million adults in the United States experience fibromyalgia and 80 to 90 percent of these patients are women. The population with the highest likelihood of experiencing fibromyalgia symptoms are women age 20 to 50.

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Doctors don't know what causes fibromyalgia, but it most likely involves a variety of factors working together.

Researchers believe that since fibromyalgia often runs in families, genetics may play a role. For some, symptoms begin after significant illness, physical injury, or psychological trauma.

Some fibromyalgia symptoms you need to be aware of involve your tender points.

The primary symptom of fibromyalgia is muscle pain, most commonly experienced at what are known as tender points. These occur on both sides of the body and include the upper chest, back of the head, tops of the shoulders, outer elbows, hips, and knees.

This pain may be accompanied by other symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, insomnia, mood swings, difficulty concentrating, anxiety, and/or depression. Meanwhile, additional fibromyalgia symptoms in women involve heavy or painful menstruation.

Women living with fibromyalgia may also experience symptoms associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) more often than men do.

In some cases, pregnancy can worsen the symptoms of fibromyalgia. So, consult your doctor about fibromyalgia and pregnancy, as some fibromyalgia medication can impact the fetus.

Now that you have a Fibromyalgia symptoms checklist, you can take steps and measures to manage them. While there is no known cure for this disease, it is possible to prevent its common symptoms from being triggered.

According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise, relaxation, and stress-reduction measures may help. But, also, using essential oils, taking certain supplements, and most importantly, switching to a "fibromyalgia diet" can help you manage the difficult symptoms of fibromyalgia and decrease flare-ups.

Here's what you need to know about preventive measures and treatment for fibromyalgia.

1. The fibromyalgia diet

Diet is an important part of fibromyalgia treatment. Your primary goal should be to increase your consumption of whole, unprocessed foods that help reduce inflammation while avoiding foods that increase inflammation.

Foods you should eat include:

  • Vegetables, especially green, leafy vegetables such as bok choy, arugula, spinach, kale, carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, potatoes, and squash. (Vegetables are anti-inflammatory and provide essential minerals including magnesium.)
  • Fruits such as bananas, berries, grapes, melons, kiwi, and oranges.
  • Fish, which provides important omega-3 fatty acids.

Make sure that you are aware of any food sensitivities or intolerances that you may have. Foods that relieve fibromyalgia symptoms in one person may trigger a flare-up in another, so it is important to pay attention to what you're eating and how your body responds.

Foods to generally avoid include:

  • High-carb foods, refined sugars, and MSG are known to cause flare-ups.
  • Processed foods in general.
  • Gluten
  • Alcohol and caffeine

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2. Dietary supplements

According to University Health News, it is important to boost the following minerals and nutrients to help control fibromyalgia pain.

The following supplements may help:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids help decrease inflammation, improve bone and joint health, and offer numerous other health benefits. Eating more fish and leafy vegetables is one way to increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids, but fish oil supplements are good options as well.
  • Magnesium can help with muscle cramping, insomnia, fatigue, and has a host of other health benefits, both related to fibromyalgia symptoms and not. Magnesium supplements may have a significant impact on fibromyalgia symptoms.
  • Zinc can also help fight inflammation and strengthens your immune system. If you think you may have insufficient zinc levels, a zinc supplement could help.
  • Antioxidants such as vitamins C, A, and E help fight free radicals.
  • Ashwagandha, turmeric, and vitamin D supplements may also be beneficial for those living with fibromyalgia.

3. Essential oils

Finally, some people find relief for their fibromyalgia pain and other symptoms by using essential oils such as:

  • Helichrysum Italicum has anti-inflammatory and pain relief properties and is one of the more popular oils for people with fibromyalgia pain.
  • Peppermint can help with both muscle pain and "fibro fog" that many fibromyalgia patients experience. Rub this oil (diluted in a carrier oil, such as liquid coconut oil) on sore muscles, or try diffusing it at home or work.
  • Lavender, eucalyptus, rosemary, clary sage, and ginger are commonly recommended for individuals who experience pain, brain fog, and other fibromyalgia symptoms. These oils can be applied directly to your skin to reduce pain and inflammation or used as aromatherapy to help with stress or to clear your mind and lift your mood.

Living with fibromyalgia pain is not easy, but there are natural treatments that can greatly reduce flare-ups.

The first step is following a fibromyalgia diet and paying close attention to what foods help or hurt your body.

From there, supplements, essential oils, exercise, and stress-reduction activities can further reduce symptoms and improve your overall health.

DISCLAIMER: The material on this page is presented for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or prescribing from a licensed healthcare professional. Consult with your doctor before altering or discontinuing any current medications, treatment, or care, or starting any diet, exercise, cleansing, or supplementation program, or if you have or suspect you might have a health condition that requires medical attention.

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Kristina Amelong, CCT, CNC, is an I-ACT certified colon hydrotherapist, nutritional consultant, and the founder of the Optimal Health Network. If you have questions or concerns about home colon cleansing or fibromyalgia prevention or management, you can reach out to her on her website for more information.

This article was originally published at Optimal Health Network. Reprinted with permission from the author.