According to the National Fibromyalgia Association, 10 million people in the US are currently suffering from fibromyalgia. Of those 10 million, 90 percent are female, and a majority of them are between the ages of twenty and fifty. This means that chances are, many of those visiting this site right now are likely to experience fibromyalgia symptoms in their life.
What Is Fibromyalgia?
The true causes of fibromyalgia are unknown, but it is believed that fibromyalgia impacts the part of the brain and spinal cord that responds to pain. Fibromyalgia is more likely to occur if you have other chronic health conditions that cause pain, have been in an abusive or traumatic situation, or if fibromyalgia runs in your family. Some of its symptoms include:
- Muscle and joint pain
- Trouble concentrating or remembering things
- Mood changes
- Sleep trouble
- Numbness in the feet, legs, hands, arms, or face
- Stomach aches
- Sensitivity to heat, cold, light, or sound
Even though little is understood about why these symptoms occur, there are still many natural ways to relieve fibromyalgia symptoms.
In the past, it was thought that exercise would only exacerbate pain rather than relieve fibromyalgia symptoms. However, healthcare professionals have now found that exercise can be incredibly helpful for patients with this condition. Often, it’s a matter of starting slowly and finding the exercises that work for you. Most recommend stretching and strengthening exercises to help loosen stiff muscles and relieve pain. Exercise may also help relieve the more cognitive symptoms of fibromyalgia, such as depression, fatigue, and trouble focusing.
Massage has been used to improve people’s health for thousands of years. Many of the health benefits of massage can be used to specifically target fibromyalgia symptoms. Like stretching, massage helps to loosen and relax stiff muscles. And because fibromyalgia sufferers often have certain “tender points,” massage can help target and relieve pain in those areas. Massage also helps blood flow, aids with sleep, and improves mood.
Eating a balanced diet tends to help anyone struggling with a health condition, but upping your intake of certain foods may help relieve certain symptoms. For instance, those who eat more raw vegetables and plants with antioxidants often experience less fibromyalgia pain. Others suggest taking turmeric and Vitamin D supplements. Along with adding good things to your diet, you may want to avoid foods that trigger symptoms. These will be different for everyone, but some common triggering foods include gluten, additives, and MSG.