Last year, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I had gradually been experiencing pain in new areas of my body over several years and it had gotten to a point that I decided I needed a formal diagnosis. One of the ways that conventional doctors diagnose fibromyalgia is by gently pressing specific points in the neck, back, hips, shoulders, elbows, and knees that in a normal person would not hurt, but in an affected person hurt very much. These are trigger points and there are eighteen of them. While mine did not quite match the classic ones, I still had eighteen points of pain. The rheumatologist wanted to prescribe medication, but I didn’t want pharmaceuticals. I hadn’t taken prescription drugs in more than twenty five years and I didn’t want something that would mask the pain, I wanted to know how I could get to the root of the problem and actually heal.
Now, I had already been gluten free for more than five years and was already eating mostly organic, fresh vegetables and grass fed, pasture-raised meat. Because of this, I initially thought that my diet was not a problem. However, after seeing the doctor, I remembered how I felt just a month earlier, after doing a candida diet for two months to support my husband in his quest for health answers. I discovered that my pain was lessened when I eliminated all grains, even gluten free ones, and all products made with cane sugar, even organic ones. This led me to the Paleo diet, which has helped me greatly in managing my pain.
1. Eating a Paleo diet lessens inflammation and decreases or eliminates dietary irritants and anti-nutrients and is therefore an important part of fibromyalgia natural treatment. Anti-nutrients are chemicals that take nutrients from your body instead of giving them to you. These anti-nutrients are found in seeds such as legumes, nuts/seeds, and grains. They can be partially eliminated by soaking the above foods in a slightly acidic medium for 7-48 hours or by sprouting. However, only nuts/seeds have enough positive nutrients to make it worthwhile and only nuts are relatively easy to process in this way. I mean, how many people are going to first soak their grains for 24 hours, then grind them themselves, and make their own bread? This is very time consuming and all just to eat a loaf of carbohydrates that contains a few vitamins that can be gotten much easier from vegetables.
Even though conventional doctors are unable to detect widespread inflammation in fibromyalgia patients, this condition is definitely associated with an overload of stressors, including environmental toxins, food toxins, emotional toxins (a.k.a. stress), and infectious toxins (such as mycotoxins left by candida or other fungal infections). Therefore, it is very important to get rid of as many toxins as you are able to control. This brings me to my next point.
2. Everything you breathe, touch, bathe in, decorate with, eat should be natural. I react to synthetic candles, gasoline fumes, the ink used in store advertisements sent to my home, MDF furniture, hair sprays, conventional soaps and bathroom cleaners, scented laundry detergent, and more. The cleaning aisle at the grocery store is a nightmare for me and I have to hold my nose while I rush to get my sponges and eco-friendly kitchen counter spray. Our world is full of toxins that are difficult to avoid, but it is important to control as much as you can. Remember, the fewer toxins that the body has to deal with, the easier it will be to heal.
3. Protect your sleep. Before the advent of electric lightbulbs, people would typically sleep eight to nine hours a night. Now, people tend to get only six hours. People with fibromyalgia have disordered sleep and have episodes of awake-type brain waves throughout the night. Also, it is important to go to sleep sometime between 8:30pm and 10pm. If you go to sleep too late, your body won’t produce enough growth hormone to make the repairs to damaged muscle tissue. People with fibromyalgia tend to make less growth hormone than the average person as it is. I know that if I go to bed too late, even if I still get eight hours of sleep, I feel exhausted the next day and suffer from headaches.
The headaches I experience are not like regular tension headaches. It is like an icepick has been thrust through my eye to the back of my head. The back of my head stiffens up as well. No over the counter migraine pills help. Even herbal supplements, such as turmeric, boswellia, and white willow do not help. The only thing that helps me is frankincense essential oil. This is the oil distilled from the resin of the frankincense tree. This is one of the supplements and natural remedies that I would personally recommend.
4. Use supplements if they help. As I said, I use frankincense essential oil for my fibromyalgia headaches. These headaches are often associated with hidden additives in foods that I’ve eaten. But, I’ve also developed headaches from cold, wet weather and from staying up too late, as I mentioned. The supplements that I feel have made the most difference for my other fibromyalgia symptoms are D-ribose and magnesium. D-ribose is a sugar that is a building block for DNA in your cells. While I have been taking these supplements, my night leg cramps have ceased and I have more energy. Coupled with the Paleo diet, the chronic pain in my hips is gone and the pains in my arms, legs, and neck are gone or greatly diminished.
5. Practice gentle exercise. It may seem counterintuitive to exercise when it hurts to move, but exercise it absolutely essential. I thought I could skip the exercise for a month because I was busy with my children’s end of year activities, but I soon realized that it was a mistake. I had been doing Pilates and yoga for six months. I had become flexible and strong and my muscles were feeling really good. The exercise had rid me of lower back pain that I had had for years. But after missing it for a month, the back pain returned and I had become stiff again. Exercise is the peak of all the other efforts.
Conventional medicine says that there is no cure for fibromyalgia. But that doesn’t mean you can’t put it in remission and experience great health. All components that I’ve discussed must be present to experience a remission of symptoms. I have certainly begun to see this in my life by implementing the above fibromyalgia natural treatment methods, and I know that you can, too. Blessings to you in your journey to health.