Fibromyalgia: Insight and Options from Someone Who Lives With It

James R. Coffey By James R. Coffey, 30th Aug 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/1chy2xab/
Posted in Wikinut>Health>Home Remedies

This article discusses the evolution of the medical community's understanding of this elusive illness over the past 20 years, as well as providing testamonial to a few proven herbal remedies that may help alleviate your symptoms.

By definition . . .

According to current medical criteria, fibromyalgia (also referred to as FM or FMS) is defined as: "a medical disorder characterized by chronic widespread pain and allodynia (pain caused by a stimulus which does not normally induce pain), and a heightened and painful response to pressure. Fibromyalgia symptoms are not restricted to physical pain, leading to the use of the alternative term 'fibromyalgia syndrome' for this condition. Other core symptoms include overpowering fatigue, sleep disturbance, and joint stiffness. Some patients also report difficulty swallowing, bowel and bladder abnormalities, numbness and tingling, and cognitive dysfunction. Fibromyalgia is frequently co-morbid (involving more than one disease or pathological condition) with psychiatric conditions such as depression and anxiety as well as stress-related disorders like PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder). Not all people with fibromyalgia experience all associated symptoms." Current statistics show that fibromyalgia affects approximately 2-4% of the population, with a female to male incidence ratio of approximately 9:1. But even with such a definitive description in front of you, how do you really know if you have it–when most doctors can’t verify it either?

My story

In 1992, I was involved in a serious auto accident that caused considerable damage to my lower spine (sacrum). Within a few days, I began experiencing a number of the symptoms listed above–some in tandem, some individually. Over the weeks, the combination of symptoms varied day to day, week to week, making it especially hard to pinpoint exactly what my problem was. When I visited my family physician, he said he could be of little help since my symptomology didn’t fit into any known diagnostic formula, but in an effort to alleviate the excruciating pain I was experiencing, he would prescribe pain medication. (Like most individuals in this situation, I was willing to try anything.)

As with most fibromyalgia sufferers, pain medication did little more than keep me stupefied–while the pain only intensified with time. My doctor then prescribed a succession of other drugs aimed at specific symptoms: muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatories, steroids, antidepressants, mood elevators, and several other last-ditch medications–none of which were formulated specifically for fibromyalgia. These medications not only left me feeling drained and disoriented, their side-effects included persistent stomach pain, headaches, vomiting, nervousness, moodiness, nightmares, and after two months, bleeding ulcers.

When all that my doctor had prescribed proved to have little or no direct affect on my condition, he then suggested physical therapy modalities such as deep tissue massage, acupuncture, and sports/rehabilitative therapy. But as most fibromyalgia sufferers can attest, these methods provide little more than momentary, fleeting relief. And as was often the case with fibromyalgia sufferers at that time, a point was reached where my doctor had no more advise to offer. And this was primarily due to the fact that “fibromyalgia,” “fibromyalgia syndrome,” and all their related symptoms and syndromes had yet to be recognized. Though it is a relatively common affliction affecting hundreds of thousands of people across the country--probably millions around the world--fibromyalgia didn’t have a name.

Searching for answers

In 1994 a pressure-point test created by the American College of Rheumatology for what at the time was thought to be an unrecognized form of arthritis, became the standard criteria for diagnosing fibromyalgia. While no treatment accompanied this pain-sensitivity test, its common administration lead to two major steps toward the advancement of a management program: it proved that this as-yet unnamed disease was not just another form of arthritis, and that a great deal of research needed to be conducted as it afflicted a huge sector of the population. That same year I became a founding member of a fledgling online fibromyalgia chat group known only as FM, which later became the core of the National Fibromyalgia Association (NFA) established in 1997.

During those interim years, I was in regular contact with dozens of other fibromyalgia sufferers around the country, and soon discovered what a strange and elusive disease fibromyalgia really is. I corresponded with many individuals who were experiencing the very same symptom that I was, while others had a different variety; individuals whose symptoms had become so severe they'd become bed-ridden or confined to wheelchairs, having resigned themselves to a future of decreasing mobility and constant pain.

I talked with athletes, teachers, law enforcement officers, priests, doctors, nurses, and dozens of people from other walks of life–all of whom were suffering much the same as I–with no help on the foreseeable horizon. And like many of them, I'd began to look for answers myself. And what I found was a whole world of herbal remedies that can not only improve the symptoms of fibromyalgia, they can actually negate many of them entirely.

Herbal discoveries

While a number of pharmaceuticals specifically geared to the management of fibromyalgia symptoms have indeed become available to the general public in recent years (none of which I would personally recommend), I would like to suggest a number of natural, herbal curatives I discovered through extensive, trial-and-error study, that I'm confident will help many other fibromyalgia suffers–if not alleviate at least some of the symptoms altogether. (I will only advocate those which have given me the most outstanding results!)

First of all, I can’t say enough good things about green tea. While this miracle herb has come into its own in recent years regarding its detoxifying and anti-oxidantal properties, I have found it to be a remarkable join pain reliever as well. Fifteen years ago I began drinking six cups each morning and within the very first month noticed a qualitative reduction in my morning pain level–as well as mobility. Range of motion that had normally taken several hours to achieve, could be accomplished in one. I am convinced that green tea is one of nature’s natural combatants of the symptoms of fibromyalgia.

The second herb that provided me with amazing results was flaxseed oil. While flax too has become broadly advocated in recent years–especially for its concentration of omega-3, brain-stimulating properties–I have found it to be a remarkable pain reducer as well. Shortly after I began taking 600 mgs each morning with breakfast, I realized that my overall pain level (combined with the effects of green tea) had dropped by at least 75%. I was shocked! In addition to taking capsules, I have also incorporated flaxseed grain into my general diet, adding it to oatmeal, yogurt, and anywhere I use flour.

My next great find was Korean ginseng (the "female" equivalent is Dong Quoi.) I began taking 1000 mgs of this highly potent Asian herb shortly after discovering the positive effects of Green tea/flaxseed, and was quite amazed at the boost it gives my system. Seeming to intensify the properties of the tea and flaxseed, ginseng increases my energy level, allowing me to push through any residual pain or stiffness I may experience.

And lastly (but perhaps most significantly for some), I have eliminated all processed foods (especially those containing MSG and other preservatives), high fructose corn syrup, artificial additives, sulfites, salt, junk food, chocolate, and any avoidable toxins from my diet. As a result, today I live virtually pain-free–with most of the symptoms I once experienced (including forgetfulness, inability to concentrate, fatigue, and sleep disturbance) things of the past. (I should note that I did experience marginal positive results with vitamin E, ginger root, and grape extract, but to a much lessor degree.)

The pro-active approach

Even with all that is known today about this mysterious disease, fibromyalgia is still considered a controversial diagnosis–with no scientific consensus as to its cause. Many members of the Western medical community still do not consider it a true "disease" because it lacks uniform symptoms/abnormalities on physical examination and does not "present" by accepted diagnostic testing. Accordingly, while some researchers advocate the new line of antidepressants and dopamine agonists, others focus on brain chemistry imbalances and psychosomatic origins. Still other research focuses on genetic make-up, stress factors, and physical injury. But with all these avenues of thought currently surrounding fibromyalgia and fibromyalgia syndrome, it seems that a pro-active approach to treating this mysterious and debilitating disease is our best bet. And after fifteen years of intensive experimentation, I can attest to the reality that the symptoms of fibromyalgia can indeed be dealt with naturally–and without side-effects–and that with the right diet and herbal intake, fibromyalgia can be manageable for many. I urge you to try it and see for yourself!

(Note: Keep in mind that as with any medication, not all herbs and natural curatives work the same on all people. You may need to experiment beyond what I've presented here. And should you experience any side-effects whatsoever, discontinue using that herb immediately. But should that occur, do not assume that no herb will work for you. There are many more to try!)

For more insight into this disease see:
http://health.wikinut.com/Fibromyalgia%2C-Chronic-myofascial-pain.-The-fog-gets-dense./112gbcdb/

And for recipes to treat this disease see
:
http://www.wikinut.com/three-recipes-with-fibromyalgia-sufferers-in-mind/1p42yr20/vebx7_2w/


credits:
www.mc.edu (pressure point diagram)

Tags

Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Fibromyalgia Syndrome, Flax Seed Oil, Ginseng, Greean Tea, Herbs, Joint Pain, Natural Curatives, Omega 3

Meet the author

author avatar James R. Coffey
I am founder and head writer for James R. Coffey Writing Services and Resource Center @ http://james-r-coffey-writing-services.blogspot.com/ where I offer a variety of writing and research services including article composition, ghostwriting, editing...(more)

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Comments

author avatar Jerry Walch
31st Aug 2010 (#)

Very informative, James. I learned something new this morning.

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author avatar James R. Coffey
31st Aug 2010 (#)

Then I've done my job!

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author avatar Jerry Walch
31st Aug 2010 (#)

You always do that James!

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author avatar Kim Phelps
22nd May 2013 (#)

Hello James. I also have Fibromyalgia. I wouldn't wish it on an enemy! I enjoyed your article and will try some of the things you recommended.

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author avatar James R. Coffey
31st Aug 2010 (#)

Thank you kindly, Jerry!

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author avatar Denise O
31st Aug 2010 (#)

James, you have hit a homerun as we Americans say.
I too have researched this disease for years.
I have Chronic myofascial pain and underlining Fibro, 21 years and counting.
I also use herbs, supplements, not your foo foo massage, hot water treatments, prayer and the rest, it is just a case of, you have it...buck up and deal with it attitude.
I opted out of pain pills well over a decade ago.
Mine also started after two physical incidents and I find that those of us dealing with muscles diseases like ours, it usually occured after such incidents.
Congrats on the star, you deserve it.

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author avatar Alexandra Heep
31st Aug 2010 (#)

Denise pointed out your article to me, thank you so much for sharing. I have Fibro and am stuck in a cycle that leaves me without income, health insurance, no family support, etc. I also have auto immune issues so can't take immune boosting herbs. Regardless, I always get more hope when I read articles such as yours.

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author avatar James R. Coffey
31st Aug 2010 (#)

Having "auto-immune" issues keeps you from taking immune-boosting herbs?

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author avatar James R. Coffey
31st Aug 2010 (#)

Much appreciated!

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author avatar SuzAlicie
31st Aug 2010 (#)

Wow, I learned more than one thing from this page. I've read horror stories of living with FMS, but have never seen it explained so well. Thanks!

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author avatar Alexandra Heep
31st Aug 2010 (#)

Yes, because in those cases the immune system is over-active and attacks itself. Immune sytem boosing herbs make the immune system more active, so it attacks more. Basically, it cannot distinguish between beneficial bodies in the system or harmful ones and treats them all as harmful.

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author avatar James R. Coffey
31st Aug 2010 (#)

My life-long philosophy and personal belief is that nature provides cures for every ailment we animals manage to contract. (There's a natural balance in progress.) I tend to think there are herbs to accomplish whatever we need to accomplish.

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author avatar Alexandra Heep
31st Aug 2010 (#)

Yes, there are herbs I am taking, but not the ones that stimulate the immune system per se. I have tried the immune boosters with very unpleasant results. Fibro is not an auto immune disorder, although some classify it as such. That is not my only problem however I have other illnesses as well which need a combined treatment.

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author avatar Alexandra Heep
31st Aug 2010 (#)

I would like to state I am not an herbalist, my information is simply gained from good herbalists I know and what works for one (or me) may not work for others.

I was simply expressing a personal statement that while some of the herbs listed would not work for me, I still gained valuable information from this article.

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author avatar chrysolite
28th Sep 2010 (#)

As I have very good experiences of my own with pain management using Lobelia Inflata (infusion of the whole herb incl. seeds), Cayenne Oil (gives a burning sensation, but doesn't burn!) and infusion of plantain herb WITH root, I'd like to recommend them. Please read further on http://www.herballegacy.com/
I hope this can be of help.

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author avatar James R. Coffey
28th Sep 2010 (#)

Wiil do. Thanks!

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