Fibromyalgia is an illness that is multi-causal and has multiple symptoms. It is difficult to diagnose and is often misdiagnosed. It has much in common with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. In the past fibromyalgia was mistakenly named fibrositis or fibromyositis.
Although there are many symptoms its main, differentiating characteristic is extreme pain throughout the body. Technically it is thought that the pain is from a tightening and thickening of the myofascia. This is a thin tissue that holds the muscles together. However it is acknowledged that fibromyalgia sufferers are known to have excess amounts of the neurotransmitter, Substance P. Substance P is released by the body as a response to physical injury and may cause the brain to have an increased perception of pain. Sufferers tend to have decreased levels of serotonin which is a natural painkiller produced by the pineal gland in the brain during sleep. Fibromyalgia sufferers tend to have sleeping disorders in which they wake up during stage four sleep. This stage of sleep is necessary for repairing muscle tissue and for the production of human growth hormone.
This disorder has only been recognized since 1987. Fibromyalgia is more common in women than men. Each sufferer has to be treated on a case by case basis because there may be multiple causes. Viral or bacterial infection may be a cause. Physical injury may trigger this illness. Toxins may be a factor such as mercury amalgam dental fillings. An unhealthy digestive system could be a significant factor since this would cause malabsorption making it difficult for the body to absorb and use nutrients.
People who suffer from fibromyalgia suffer with other disorders such as chronic headaches and allergies. The immune system is affected. The illness can be debilitating and cause depression. Not only have people been misdiagnosed but doctors have accused sufferers of having a psychosomatic illness. In the past there was a misconception in the medical industry that fibromyalgia was due to laziness and lack of activity. In fact many were very active, productive and even over achievers before they were afflicted.
Those afflicted with fibromyalgia have hormonal imbalances. They have higher than normal levels of cortisol, a hormone produced by the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands are located on the kidneys. Meat protein puts stress on the kidneys. Those with fibromyalgia have shown improvement by switching to a vegetarian diet.
Detoxifying is important to curing fibromyalgia. Rotating food in the diet helps to avoid food allergies. Nutritional deficiencies may be a factor. Those suffering from fibromyalgia may be very sensitive to chemicals and should switch to organic, natural foods and use non-toxic products in the household.
Fibromyalgia sufferers should drink fluids to cleanse the body of toxins. They should drink distilled water and organic, herb teas. Drinking vegetable juices supplies necessary vitamins and minerals. Sufferers should eat four to five meals a day to get the necessary protein and complex carbohydrates needed to repair muscle tissue. Patients should get some exercise each day to keep the muscles and joints flexible such as a walk and mild stretching exercises. Massage is helpful in breaking up deposits in the muscles and increasing circulation.
Candida infection in the intestines may be a causal factor. Pao d’Arco herb tea fights candida infection. It is a powerful herb in fighting chronic disorders by strengthening the immune system.
Herbs that support the glandular system will help restore the proper hormonal balance in the body. Problems with the thyroid gland can be a factor. Herbs that help are alfalfa, comfrey, dandelion, kelp, horsetail, hops, passion flower, skullcap, white willow bark and valerian root.
Foods that are helpful include raw fruit, vegetables, beans and whole grains such as millet, buckwheat, brown rice and whole oats. Rye is a grain that strengthens muscles. Magnesium relaxes muscles and can be found in bananas, almonds, pecans and cashews. Chronic pain sufferers are often deficient in magnesium. Red raspberry leaf tea contains nutrients that are especially helpful for women’s health issues related to fibromyalgia although this tea is beneficial for men as well. Cold water, ocean going fish in the diet can be very helpful. Avoid dairy and other foods that are high in saturated fat. Flaxseed oil protects against cell damage and reduces pain and fatigue.
Cayenne pepper in the diet improves circulation, relieves pain and reduces amounts of Substance P, one of the primary causes of fibromyalgia. Applying a combination of cayenne powder and wintergreen oil to the skin relieves muscle pain. Use one part cayenne with three parts wintergreen oil. Four to six ounces of ginger powder in a bath will help to detoxify. Drinking ginger tea has the same effect. Organic mushrooms such as shiitake mushrooms supply selenium. Fibromyalgia sufferers are deficient in selenium. Mushrooms, also, supply zinc which is necessary for tissue repair. Beware of supplements as some are not very useable to the body and too much of a nutrient especially minerals may be harmful.
Do not eat too much green peppers, eggplant, tomatoes and white potatoes. They contain solanine. Solanine interferes with enzymes in the muscles. Avoid processed sugars such as fructose and avoid honey. These sugars promote fatigue, pain and sleep loss. Avoid caffeine.
It is good to clean the colon (large intestine). A good herb tea formula for cleansing the colon consists of cascara sagrada, barberry, raspberry leaves, lobelia, ginger, rhubarb, golden seal root, fennel, capsicum. An easier formula is cascara sagrada and aloe vera. Using probiotics such as kombucha and acidophilus helps to restore the proper balance of bacteria in the intestines. Black walnut and garlic help to remove parasites. Herb teas that relieve stress are recommended such as chamomile and kava. I personally feel that St. John’s Wort relaxes me the best. Relieving stress is very important to the healing process.
Interestingly in my researching herbs that may be helpful to sufferers of fibromyalgia my book of herbal remedies just happened to fall open to the page about saffron. Most people know saffron as a delicious herb for making rice and soup. Recently I have been learning of its many health benefits. It can even be used in herb tea. Saffron is good for circulation and the digestive system. Saffron provides more oxygen to the veins and heart. It is a vegetable source of vitamin B12 which is necessary for healthy cell growth. It contains calcium, potassium, phosphorous and vitamin A.
For products that support the glands try: Smallflower
For Pau d’Arco