NOTE: This is a long, information-packed article about the Natural Treatments, Herbs, Essential Oils for Fibromyalgia. To make it easier to navigate, use the Table of Contents button to your right!
Fibromyalgia is a complex and baffling health condition that is reaching epidemic proportions in the United States. It is estimated that approximately 5 million Americans are suffering from this condition. Because conventional medicine has very few effective options to offer at this point, people with this condition are often branded as hypochondriacs and told that their problem is in their head.
The Merck Manual defines Fibromyalgia as used to describe several related disorders. Various alternative terms for these disorders have been used, including generalized fibromyalgia, which is seven times more common in women than in men, the pain and stiffness are widespread, occurring throughout the body.
Many people with fibromyalgia experience severe and debilitating pain that tends to move around the body. In addition, people with this condition often exhibit neurological problems that can manifest as memory loss, difficulty concentrating, anxiety, and depression.
People with this syndrome may also experience sleep disturbances, morning stiffness, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, anxiety, and other symptoms. Since this condition has a neurological component, it is very convenient for these people's symptoms to be discounted as signs of neurosis.
This condition is very real and it is horribly disabling and debilitating to those experiencing symptoms. The lack of medical support, family support, and social support can be incredibly isolating for people with this condition. This can heighten the suffering of those who are already in deep physical and mental pain.
Types of Fibromyalgia
Primary Fibromyalgia Syndrome
Primary fibromyalgia syndrome is the most common variation of generalized fibromyalgia; it usually occurs in young or middle-aged women who have no associated or contributing underlying disorder. Secondary fibromyalgia syndrome is a type of generalized fibromyalgia and refers to fibromyalgia symptoms in a person who has another underlying disorder that is causing the fibromyalgia symptoms, such as Hypothyroidism. Other disorders, such as systemic lupus erythematosus or rheumatoid Arthritis, may be associated with fibromyalgia, but may not be the underlying cause.
Secondary Fibromyalgia Syndrome
Secondary fibromyalgia syndrome is a type of generalized fibromyalgia and refers to fibromyalgia symptoms in a person who has another underlying disorder that is causing the fibromyalgia symptoms, such as Hypothyroidism. Other disorders, such as systemic lupus erythematosus or rheumatoid Arthritis, may be associated with fibromyalgia, but may not be the underlying cause.
Localized fibromyalgia expresses as pain and stiffness occurring in a particular area, or at a few sites, such as the jaw, neck, and/or shoulder muscles. Localized fibromyalgia is somewhat more likely to occur in men, possibly because they are more likely to engage in more physically muscular activities in occupational or sports situations. Sometimes, localized fibromyalgia gradually spreads to become generalized fibromyalgia.
Myofascial Pain Syndrome
Myofascial pain syndrome is a type of localized or regional fibromyalgia, which may occur in various sites and differentiated as temporomandibular type and myofascial pain syndrome. Previously, these disorders were collectively called Fibrositis or fibromyositis syndromes, but because inflammation is not present, the “itis” suffix was dropped.
The Garbage Pail Syndrome
Often considered the “garbage pail diagnosis”, the term fibromyalgia is used when doctors often do not know how to categorize or quantify these combinations of symptoms. There is no firm physical evidence of disease that can be detected by blood tests or X-rays. Doctors diagnose fibromyalgia by testing 18 tender points, starting between the shoulders. People complain they are tender all over the body, but these areas, all where muscles attach to ligaments or bones, tend to have pain with just the pressure of a thumb.
What Causes Fibromyalgia?
There is a building body of research that is pointing to the likelihood that fibromyalgia is not an ‘auto-immune' disorder, but is instead caused by a number of different infectious pathogens. Some of the pathogens that may cause the symptoms of fibromyalgia are mycoplasmas and a variety of emerging bacteria that are carried by insects.
These pathogens are not easily detected because they tend to reside inside our cells instead of in the bloodstream. Special testing methods are required to detect the specific pathogen that may be triggering symptoms for a person with fibromyalgia.
It also appears that the severity of symptoms a person has may be related to the number of different pathogens that the person has. A person can experience pain and other symptoms that are very resistant to conventional methods of treatment, because the pain can persist as long as the pathogenic load is not reduced.
Some research studies suggest that fibromyalgia may have a genetic link. Other studies have shown a connection between physical and emotional trauma and the development of Fibromyalgia symptoms. There is also evidence of abnormal levels of pain transmitters which cause nerve receptors to communicate to the brain that there is pain when there is no obvious reason for it.
Some researchers are inclined to believe that Fibromyalgia is viral in origin such as chronic fatigue and Epstein barr. Others believe that it is directly related to high levels of toxins in the body’s delicate system which can lead to chemical changes.
Recently a connection between sleep disorders and Fibromyalgia has been established since people suffering from Fibromyalgia lack delta wave sleep which is the deepest and most relaxing sleep of all. When deprived of this fundamentally restorative sleep, disturbances in the delicate biological rhythms severely compromise systemic health.
Food allergies have also been linked to Fibromyalgia symptoms. Specific foods which are known to cause sensitivities that can aggravate fibromyalgia symptoms include shellfish, milk, citrus fruits, wheat, corn, and tomatoes among others.
Simply suppressing symptoms such as pain does not work very well or work for very long for people with this condition.
Checklist of Fibromyalgia Symptoms
Use the list below to help you discern if you MIGHT be suffering from fibromyalgia, but don’t overlook seeking the advice of a physician. Because fibromyalgia symptoms are overlapping and affect several bodily systems, they can also be indicative of another problem or disease. While you might be tempted to use this checklist to self-evaluate, you may also be overlooking other symptoms that lead to a misdiagnosis. This mistake can prove fatal if the alternative disease could have been successfully treated if found early.
The listed symptoms are common to fibromyalgia but they don’t all happen to one individual. Each person can suffer the syndrome in a different manner and fibromyalgia symptoms can change over time.
- Chronic muscle pain, muscle spasms, and leg cramps
- Muscle pain over specific trigger points identified in people with FMS
- Widespread pain
- Insomnia or waking up feeling just as tired as when you went to bed
- Sleep disorder called alpha-EEG anomaly
- Teeth grinding
- Restless Leg Syndrome
- Mood changes
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Acid Reflux
- GERD – Gastroesophageal Reflux
- Widespread pain
- Muscle twitches
- Weight gain
- Moderate or severe fatigue and decreased energy
- Stiffness in the muscles after waking or staying in one position
- Difficulty remembering or concentrating
- Jaw and facial tenderness
- Feeling anxious or depressed
- Decreased ability to exercise
- Painful menstrual periods
- Irritable bladder
- Chest pain
- numbness or tingling
- sensitive skin
- dry eyes and mouth
- legs and arms feel swollen
- sensitivity to bright lights, noises and sometimes medication
Factors that can aggravate fibromyalgia symptoms:
- Changes in weather
- Menstrual cycle
Natural Treatments for Fibromyalgia
Essential Oils for Fibromyalgia
One very effective way to manage this condition is through the use of essential oils for fibromyalgia. Essential oils can help people with fibromyalgia in a number of different ways.
First of all, they can relieve the pain of fibro. The pain relief people experience is frequently marked and rapid, even when the pain does not respond to heavy duty steroids or opiates. This in itself is a wonderful thing because pain can be addressed naturally, reducing the risk of unwanted side effects and reducing the risk of addiction to painkillers.
Another benefit of using essential oils for fibromyalgia is that the oils can have a marked effect on one's psychological and emotional state. This is partly due to the fact that the molecules that compose the oils have the capacity to cross the blood-brain barrier, and positively effect the mind.
The effects of the oils can range from relieving anxiety and improving sleep, to increasing concentration and relieving depression. The use of essential oils can relieve many of the neuropsychiatric and emotional problems related to this condition that are most disconcerting to the patient and to the people surrounding her or him.
The essential oils are also very effective at improving the immune system response. This improves the body's ability to fight of any infectious processes that have taken a hold.
Many essential oils are also antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral, and are active against mycoplasmas. The oils directly kill the pathogens that may be disrupting the person's health and well-being.
People with fibromyalgia often respond to treatment with essential oils very rapidly because the oils rapidly reduce the pathogenic load that is present in the body.
Each essential oil is often active against a broad spectrum of pathogens, and when these oils are used in combination with each other, their ability to deal with a wide range of bacteria, fungi, and viruses is enhanced.
Essential oil therapy can result in increased energy, significant pain reduction, improved concentration, better memory, increased metabolism, better sleep, reduced anxiety, reduced depression, better range of motion, improved blood circulation, and a significantly better quality of life.
Because the pathogens that may be responsible for fibromyalgia are often quite resistant to treatment, the essential oils need to be used at a higher concentration than in traditional aromatherapy. Some of the oils that I have seen people respond well to include eucalyptus, frankincense, lemon, and lavender.
People with fibromyalgia often shy away from aromatherapy as an option because many of them are chemically sensitive and have strong reactions to fragrances. The essential oils are natural plant extracts that bear no resemblance to toxic chemical perfumes.
When people with fibromyalgia have a temporary increase in symptoms, such as headache, when exposed to an essential oil, it is a detoxification response and a healing crisis response, not a result of chemical sensitivity.
The difference is that the person may feel discomfort temporarily, but after that they feel a significant improvement. On the other hand, when the person is exposed to a synthetic chemical fragrance, the person will spiral downward, because the chemical has increased, not decreased, the toxic load in the body.
Essential oils for fibromyalgia are potent multifaceted natural medicinals that are incredibly beneficial when addressing the complexity and diversity of symptoms that people with fibromyalgia experience. These powerful substances may offer hope to people who may have been hopeless in the face of their baffling and cunning illness, if they are open to a natural alternative.
Herbal Remedies for Fibromyalgia
The medicinal benefits of Herbs have been recorded for centuries. Herbs were extensively used to cure practically every known illness and have been documented by Egyptian, Roman, Native American, Persians, and Hebrews alike.
Many Herbs contain powerful ingredients that, if used correctly, can help heal the body. By using Herbs in their complete form, the body’s healing process utilizes a balance of the ingredients provided by nature.
- You may steep Herbs as Teas in order to release their healing properties.
- Herbal Supplements in pills and capsules are another form. These are Herbs ground into powder. Herbal formulas tend to be created for a single problem or nest of related problems and their specific pattern of disharmony.
- Tinctures. Herbal Remedies are also prescribed in tincture form and are the previously fresh herb in well preserved, highly concentrated form. This liquid, as well as, concentrated forms of extracted Herbs are preserved in their freshest form.
- Steam distillation or cold pressing results in Herbs as essential oils.
- Plasters are ingredients such as oils, Herbs, and other pain-relieving Herbs combined into an easy to use stick on strip or patch.
- Poultice are macerated or chopped Herbs that are placed directly on the skin and a hot, moist bandage is applied.
- Infusions are used when you are working with the most delicate part of the herb-the leaves flowers, fruits, and seeds.
- Decoction is used to extract the tougher part of the herb-Bark, berries, and roots.
It is also important to note that since Herbs contain active ingredients, be aware that some elements may interact negatively with prescribed medications! Therefore, your healthcare professional must be notified if you have any questions about safety. As a general rule: most of the bitter tasting Herbs are medicinal Herbs and the pleasant tasting Herbs are less toxic and can be used more often.
Also, some Herbs in any form, should not be taken for more than seven days at a time. Others Herbs are more beneficial with time. The fresh leaves, Bark, and roots of Herbs can be used in their natural form or can be found in dried form and used in capsules, tablets, tinctures, essential oils, powders, creams, lotions, and salves.
Herbal Medicine is a wonderful solution for pain and pain management. Complications can arise when taking Herbal Medicine and allopathic drugs internally, which your doctor has prescribed. Great caution should be used especially if you are on blood thinners, diuretics or heart-related medication. Consult your doctor with any questions you may have, before taking additional Herbs or Supplements, internally.
- Arnica Suave is a rich blend of Quartz silica, amber resin and the pain-relieving power of Arnica in a special massage-in suave designed by Andrew for his practice and is a part of his new “Crystal Inspirations” product line.
- Boswellia has unique anti-inflammatory action, much like the conventional non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) used by many for inflammatory conditions. Unlike NSAIDs, however, long-term use of Boswellia does not lead to irritation or ulceration of the stomach.
- Bromelain is a plant-enzyme. Bromelain is not actually a single substance, but a group of protein-digesting enzymes found in pineapple juice and in the stem of pineapple plants. Local swelling is the releasing of histamines in a localized area causes the vasodilation and increased permeability of blood vessels. Bromelain has an anti-inflammatory effect and is a very effective treatment for fibromyalgia. It is recommend taking 200 to 400 milligrams three times a day on an empty stomach at least ninety minutes before or three hours after eating. Discontinue use if you develop any itching or rash.
- Cayenne Pepper (Capsaicin) A cream containing small amounts of Capsaicin can help relieve pain when rubbed onto muscle pain and arthritic joints, according to the results of a double-blind study. It does this by depleting the nerves of a pain-mediating neurotransmitter known as substance P. Although the application of capsaicin cream may initially cause a burning feeling, the burning will lessen with each application and soon disappear for most people. A cream containing 0.025â€“0.075% of capsaicin can be applied to the affected joints three to five times a day.
- Devils Claw: An analgesic and anti-inflammatory. Dosage: one to two grams, three times daily.
- Ginger: An anti-inflammatory. Ginger has been used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine as an anti-inflammatory. Taking fresh or powdered Ginger per day might be helpful. Suggested Dosage: 0.5 to 1 mg of powdered Ginger daily
- Ginger Tea: Add one grated teaspoon of fresh Ginger to a cup of hot water. Take two times daily.
- Glucosamine Sulfate (GS), a nutrient derived from sea shells, contains a building block needed for the repair of joint cartilage. GS has significantly reduced symptoms of osteoarthritis. All published clinical investigations on the effects of GS in people with osteoarthritis report statistically significant improvement. Most research trials use 500 mg GS taken three times per day. Benefits from GS generally become evident after three to eight weeks of treatment. Avoid if you have any allergic reactions to shell fish.
- S-adenosyl methionine (SAMe) possesses anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, and tissue-healing properties that may help protect the health of joints.SAM-e is derived from methionine, an essential amino acid; it may promote cartilage formation and repair. Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate are usually sold together. In clinical studies, the Supplements had to be taken for several weeks before providing any pain relief. Don’t forget the truly natural and proven methods for battling osteoarthritis, lose excess weight and exercise.
- Licorice root: An anti-inflammatory. Long-term use can elevate blood pressure and increase potassium loss. Dosage: one-eighth to one-quarter teaspoon of a 5: 1 solid extract up to three times daily.
- Turmeric: An effective anti-inflammatory. Dosage: 400 mg three times daily; take on an empty stomach and combine with 1,000 mg of Bromelain
- White Willow Bark: Anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects. White Willow Bark has anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects. Extracts providing 120 mg salicin per day are approved for people with rheumatoid Arthritis. Although the analgesic actions of willow are typically slow-acting, they last longer than aspirin.
Foods that Help Fibromyalgia
A lot can be done to naturally improve the quality of life of those suffering from Fibromyalgia. Helpful foods as long as no allergies are present include:
- Canola oil
- Olive oil
- All types of fish
- Fruit (except citrus)
- Fresh vegetables
Recommended Lifestyle Changes to Help Fibromyalgia
Finding Balance: in a modern society we tend to “burn the Candle at both ends”. There MUST be a proper balance in the amount of work that we do, in the amount of sleep we have in the foods that we enjoy and in the amount of “down time” we give ourselves.
Excessive Work: can drain the very core of our energy. Today, if you are not working for a company who is placing high demands on your time, health and relationships, then you have your own business, which often has no boundaries when it comes to building and maintaining your dream.
Improper Diet: can be a nutrition zapper that robs the body of proper Vitamins, mineral and sufficient Amino Acids that are important for energy. A balance of fresh vegetables, complexed carbs, whole grain, as well as, fruits, nuts, seeds, and protein are very important for maintaining proper energy levels.
Lack of Exercise: is a major problem in fatigue syndromes. Regular exercise builds stamina that can help anyone battle stress. But even something as casual as a walk around the block can help you burn off some of the Tension that you carrying around. Stretching is a great Tension reducer.
Poor Sleep Habits: can drain us of a good day full of vital energy. Overthinking, anxiety and a racing mind are all issues that cause difficulty in falling asleep and/or difficulty staying asleep.
Dehydration: is a hidden issue that is seldom realized. Thirst is one indicator of dehydration, but it is not an early warning sign. By the time you feel thirsty, you might already be dehydrated. Other symptoms of dehydration include feeling dizzy and lightheaded, having a dry or sticky mouth, producing less urine and darker urine. As the condition progresses, a person will start to feel much sicker as more body systems (or organs) are affected by the dehydration.
Poor Assimilation: Difficulties with the digestive tract such as thirst, gas, Bloating, nausea, vomiting, Acid Reflux are symptoms of poor assimilation of food. The delicate balance of our digestive system can affect our whole system in so many ways.
Poor Elimination: results when food moves too slowly through the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Poor elimination is usually diagnosed when bowel movements occur fewer than three times per week on an ongoing basis. Other signs occur when the stool is hard, dry or there is excessive straining. The stool can often be described as “rabbit pellets” or like “toothpaste squeezed from the tube”. Sometimes it is painful to pass. Sometimes the patient does not feel complete after a bowel movement.
Additional Natural Treatment for Fibromyalgia
FibroFree Complex is a safe, non-addictive, FDA-registered natural remedy containing 100% homeopathic ingredients selected to relieve localized muscle pain, tender ligaments, sore tendons and tender spots on the body.
FibroFree Complex may be taken at the first sign of tenderness as it works quickly to soothe body aches, cramps and pains, as well as alleviate facial pain and headaches.
This remedy contains a selection of homeopathic ingredients known to relieve fatigue and promote energy levels, mood and mental clarity (reducing the feeling of ‘brain fog’), without side effects.
FibroFree Complex is taken internally and presented in a convenient, concentrated tincture formula. It is easy to ingest and hassle–free with no artificial colors or preservatives. It is safe for all ages, including pregnant women or those who may be breastfeeding.