Have you ever wondered if there are researched-backed, natural remedies for fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes widespread pain and tenderness that may occur over the entire body or in centralized areas. Some of the most common symptoms of fibromyalgia include muscle pain and stiffness. Other symptoms include:
- fatigue and tiredness
- depression and anxiety
- tender points and tingling
- poor sleep
- problems with thinking and memory
- headaches and migraines
- fibro fog
It is estimated that approximately 10 million people in the United States are afflicted with this condition. It is known to be more prevalent in women. In fact, it’s twice as likely for women to suffer from it than men.
Living with the pain of fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia makes it difficult to live a normal life. When you’re constantly experiencing pain, every day can feel like a battle. While there is no cure, there are techniques that can treat fibromyalgia and provide pain relief and management to improve quality of life. These techniques include medications. However, medications can have some uncomfortable side effects, making long-term treatment challenging.
Enter natural remedies.
Natural remedies for fibromyalgia include practices geared toward improving pain relief treatments and leading to overall reduced pain. This includes a focus on lifestyle changes and exercises you can do at home. In this guide, let’s explore 4 research-backed natural remedies for fibromyalgia to ease the daily burden of living with this condition.
Remedy #1: Yoga
Just the thought of exercising when you’re in chronic pain can be scary. Ironically, that’s what makes yoga a great choice. Yoga is ideal for people with fibromyalgia because it can be modified to fit each individual person’s specific needs.
There are innumerable benefits that come with practicing yoga. These include its ability to:
- calm the mind
- reduce stress and anxiety
- relieve muscle tension
- strengthen muscles and flexibility
Try these three beginner poses:
Child’s pose is a position with your face facing toward the earth, allowing you to turn your focus toward your inner self.
When you are in this pose, focus on your breath to help you quit your mind. Hold this pose as long as it feels comfortable. Return to this pose at any time in your practice to recenter yourself and your breath.
Want to see child’s pose in action? Check out this video:
Legs up the wall pose
This is a gentle inversion that works in the opposite direction of your general posture. It allows your hip and leg muscles to stretch and relax. This pose can also reduce swelling and fatigue in your feet and ankles.
If this pose feels challenging on your lower back or hips, consider placing a bolster or folded blanket under your hips for added support.
Looking to learn more about the legs up the wall pose? Here you go:
Standing forward fold pose
This pose can have a great calming effect on your mind. It can also help to relieve symptoms such as back strain and pain. Bend down as far as feels comfortable for you. You might also try holding opposite elbows and swaying from side to side.
Watch this video to see how to make this yoga pose work best for you:
Remedy #2: Meditation
Meditation, or mindfulness, can be very therapeutic for fibromyalgia sufferers. Why? When you suffer from pain on a daily basis, it’s easy to start to dwell on it. This may lead to stress and anxiety. However, practicing mindfulness might help.
A peer-reviewed study published in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics found that a mindfulness program was effective at reducing and helping people cope with pain, anxiety and depression.
If you haven’t meditated before, here’s how to begin:
- Sit as still as possible for a few minutes with your legs crossed in front of you or feet flat on the floor if you’re sitting in a chair.
- Sit with a straight but neutral spine and close your eyes.
- Breathe in deeply through your nose.
- Release the breath either through your nose or mouth.
- Put on some relaxing music and focus on your breath.
- Think about, feel and experience your stress leaving your body with each breath.
You can also try apps like Headspace or Calm, both of which provide guided meditations.
If you’re ready to try a meditation exercise at home, here’s a simple one:
Remedy #3: Acupuncture
Acupuncture is a technique that can successfully treat a range of ailments usually related to aches and pains, including fibromyalgia. The technique is carried out by practitioners who stimulate your nervous system by inserting thin needles through the skin. Manipulating the needles causes the body to release endorphins into the bloodstream, acting as a natural painkiller.
This non-traditional pain relief technique can be an ideal option for people seeking anti-inflammatory relief. Studies support the use of acupuncture for the treatment of a wide variety of chronic pain concerns, including back pain, neck pain, osteoarthritis pain, knee pain and even tension and migraine headaches.
However, acupuncture isn’t a one time fix all treatment. For it to work effectively, it’s crucial to seek consistent treatment. You could see benefits as effective or even twice as effective as conventional Western therapy if you are treated consistently for over 6 months.
Here are a few different folks’ experiences with and reactions to getting acupuncture:
Remedy #4: Tai Chi
Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese art that involves slow movements. A 12-week clinical trial revealed that patients reported an improved quality of life after regular practice of Tai Chi. The researchers noted that “controlled breathing and movements promote a restful state and mental tranquility,” two key components to raising pain thresholds and breaking the pain cycle.
These breakthroughs can lead to “enhanced physical, psychological, and psychosocial well-being and overall quality of life in patients with fibromyalgia.”
Add Tai Chi into your daily routine with this quick and easy video:
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This post was updated in March 2019 with new information and resources.