Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes chronic pain and tenderness that may occur over the entire body or in centralized areas. It is estimated that approximately 5 million Americans age 18 or older are afflicted with fibromyalgia. The condition is much more common in women. In fact, between 80 to 90 percent of people who are diagnosed are women.
Fibromyalgia makes it difficult to live a normal life. When you’re constantly experiencing pain, every day can feel like a battle. In this post, we are going to discuss 4 natural remedies for fibromyalgia, in hopes to ease the daily burden of living with this condition.
Before trying any treatment, please talk with your doctor. These suggestions are not intended to replace any traditional medicine treatment plan. Rather, they should be used in conjunction with conventional medicine.
Yoga for Fibromyalgia
Just the thought of exercising when you’re in chronic pain can be scary, but that’s what makes yoga a great choice. Yoga is perfect 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, such as its ability to calm the mind and reduce stress. Additionally, it can also help to loosen tight muscles. Try these three beginner poses:
Child’s Pose: 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, and focus on your breathing.
Legs-up-the-Wall Pose: This is a gentle inversion that works in the opposite direction of your general posture, allowing 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.
Standing Forward Fold: This pose allows you to open your back body, and can have a great calming effect on your mind. Go as far as feels comfortable for you. You might also try holding opposite elbows and swaying from side to side.
Meditation for Fibromyalgia
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 study published in the journal 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, try sitting still for a few minutes, 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, and release the breath either through your nose or mouth. Put on some relaxing music and focus on your breath. You can also try apps like Headspace or Calm, both of which provide guided meditations.
Acupuncture for Fibromyalgia
Acupuncture involves sticking one or more needles into specific points in the body. Manipulating the needles causes the body to release endorphins into the bloodstream, acting as a natural painkiller. It has been shown to alleviate chronic pain in some people with fibromyalgia. While research isn’t conclusive, a small study recently suggests that fibromyalgia patients who had acupuncture therapy showed a reduction and pain and increase in their quality of life.
Tai Chi for Fibromyalgia
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. “We definitely saw better results than reported in trials of drug treatments for fibromyalgia,” said study researcher Chenchen Wang, M.D., of Tufts University School of Medicine. “One patient with previous arthritis pain kept saying, ‘No pain! No pain!’”