Home Remedies for Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is a long-term condition of fatigue and widespread pain, along with other symptoms that can vary from person to person. The name fibromyalgia comes from "fibro" for fibrous tissues (such as tendons and ligaments), with "my" indicating muscles and "algia" meaning pain. It can be a challenging and frustrating condition, sometimes taking years to get a diagnosis.
Besides the widespread pain and fatigue, there are many other symptoms that can be present. Personally, I have found these to fluctuate, depending on whether I am having a flare-up (a temporary increase in symptoms) or not. Here is a list of a few common ones:
- Gastrointestinal issues, including gas, bloating, nausea, stomach pain and bowel pain. This also includes uncomfortably slow or fast food digestion.
- Insomnia or poor-quality sleep.
- Hot spots of pain on the body, often known as tender points. These tend to be painful to touch.
- Headaches and migraines.
- Flu-like feelings and constant aching.
- Burning and prickling sensations all over the body.
- Fatigue, often lasting for days, weeks and even months.
- Sensitivity to bright lights, smells, sounds and increased pain upon touch.
- Increase in pain post-exercise.
- Cognitive issues, such as short-term memory loss, brain fog, the inability to think straight or mixing up words in a conversation.
- Environmental sensitivities, like food allergies, pollution, weather, temperature, etc.
12 Suggested Home Remedies for Fibromyalgia
Home remedies for fibromyalgia can be an excellent way to manage your day-to-day symptoms and reduce the length and intensity of flare-ups. However, these home remedies for fibromyalgia must be openly discussed with your medical professional prior to starting. I must emphasize that no medication should be stopped or reduced without prior agreement from your physician.
1. Use of Heat and Cold
This includes hot tubs, hot and cold baths and showers, and hot and cold compresses. I find alternating between both temperatures to be great for reducing muscle pain and reducing pain in any trigger point areas.
2. The Use of Meditation, Deep Breathing Exercises and Using Positive Affirmations
I have self-taught these using books, online courses and YouTube. Not only have I managed to reduce my stress levels and anxiety, but also how I react to my symptoms.
This can include tai chi, yoga, stretching, low impact interval training (LIIT) and walking. I find exercising challenging to undertake, and this is due to an increase in post exercise fatigue and pain. My advice is to start slow — even a few minutes a day or per week can help. I feel less stiff, with reduced muscle pain, and it improves my sleep and moods.
4. Take Vitamins, Minerals and Supplements
It is well documented that some vitamin deficiencies can cause similar symptoms to fibromyalgia. For example, my vitamin D deficiency caused an increase in fatigue and muscle pain. However, you must always discuss with your doctors if you are planning to try any vitamins or supplements; some vitamins and supplements can react negatively with your medications or with each other (for example, SAMe and St. John’s Wort).
Many fibromyalgia patients also experience what is known as fibro fog, which can impair your cognitive abilities. If you experience this, you should talk to your doctor. They might recommend some vitamins to help, such as:
- Vitamin D. This nutrient is crucial for brain health. While a lack of vitamin D can cause fogginess, it can also cause feelings of sadness and depression.
- Omega-3. This vitamin can help with brain fog, as well as memory, attention and focus.
- Magnesium. This can be found in foods such as beans, seeds and spinach, but if you still aren't getting enough, you can take a supplement. This will help increase your energy levels, ensure proper nerve function and moderate your blood pressure, which can all contribute to brain fog.
- Vitamin C. This vitamin is mainly known for helping to boost your immunity, but it can also support other bodily functions, like your brain health.
- B complex vitamins. B vitamins are crucial to your health. Deficiencies in these can lead to brain fog and memory and concentrating troubles. If you take the supplement recommended by your doctor, it should help with brain fog.
- L-theanine. This is a component found in green tea, as well as other plants. It has the power to improve one's cognitive alertness, reactivity and memory.
5. Try a Diagnostic Diet
Some individuals develop sensitivities to certain foods. Cutting types of food from your diet for a period of time and monitoring your symptoms can be an effective way of finding out what foods impact how you feel.
6. Listen to Music
There is no better feeling than listening to your favorite tracks. Maybe you could develop a playlist. Play this as often as you can to lift your mood and take your mind off any troubling symptoms. Maybe even have a dance.
7. Maintain Proper Sleep Hygiene
Develop a strict nighttime routine. For example, reduce your phone and television usage before bed, and do not consume alcohol, nicotine, food or drinks within two hours of going to bed. Also, keep your bedroom cool and try to fall asleep and wake up at a similar time every day.
8. Pace Yourself
Stretching out activities over multiple days ensures that plenty of rest is undertaken in between tasks.
Some essential oils have soothing properties and can be used in a diffuser or massaged onto the skin. However, please use with caution, as some oils can cause issues in children and animals.
I find massage helps me with my muscle pain, reduces my stiffness and is very relaxing.
Some people believe this can help with stiffness, reduce pain levels and increase blood flow to certain areas.
Therapies, such as hypnotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and counseling can teach you techniques and strategies to cope and deal with stressful situations.
This is a tricky one to answer, as there is much debate and ambiguity in the medical community regarding what causes an onset of this condition. However, some theories suggest that this condition may be triggered by a one-off episode or prolonged episode of physical and/or mental stress, such as:
- Illness (viral and other infections).
- Trauma (both physical and emotional).