Fibromyalgia’s pain, depression, and insomnia can be overwhelming. However, more drug-free relief options are available all the time. Some alternatives cost nothing but a bit of time, and the payback is pain-freedom and a good night’s rest.
Symptoms and Relief Options
Fibromyalgia symptoms of chronic pain, joint stiffness, insomnia, tender points, fluid retention, numbness, tingling sensations, headaches, and mood disturbances can be managed. Prescriptions, non-drug options, and a combination of both can be used under the guidance of a qualified physician.
Drug-Free Fibromyalgia Relief
Approaching Fibromyalgia symptom relief without drugs is possible with assistance and recommendation from a qualified physician familiar with the Fibromyalgia patient’s personal medical history. There are many drug-free options. Heat therapy is one natural, and often overlooked, drug-free pain relief option for aches, tender points, stiff joints, migraines, and for use as relaxation to help relieve insomnia.
Reusable Hot Packs
The quick solution is pre-packaged, reusable, hot packs. Sold under many brand names in the first aid aisle of discount department stores, like Wal-mart® and Target® or online. Hot packs can be placed directly on the affected area for immediate pain relief. Likewise, a hot pack placed across the forehead while trying to fall asleep can be very effective in relaxation and insomnia.
Some brands can be used at work, at the beach, or anywhere at all, because they only need exposure to the air to activate the heat and last up to 8 hours at full heat retention. Prices range from $3.99 to $14.99 depending on the quantity, style, and sizing of the product in the packaging.
Paraffin Heat Therapy
Paraffin Heat Therapy is a natural pain relief therapy for Fibromyalgia joint stiffness, aches, and tender points of the fingers hands, wrists, elbows, knees, ankles and feet. Paraffin therapy treatments at a spa may be covered by insurance when prescribed by a doctor. Purchasing a Home Paraffin Spa may also be covered by insurance if long term paraffin use is prescribed by a doctor.
Homemade Paraffin Therapy Spa are equally effective against chronic pain syndrome attacks on these specific body parts, and cost effective should medical insurance not cover paraffin heat therapy for chronic pain relief.
Walking and Deep Water Running
Walking between 15 and 30 minutes a day, at a comfortable pace, and deep water running have been shown to decrease overall discomfort and improve mental health. Recovery from overexertion can be excruciating. Begin either of these activities with about 5 minute maximums, increasing by about 1 minute daily until reaching 30 minutes. Each person’s tolerance level is different.
Got insomnia? Keep a sleep diary. Fibromyalgia patients in an Insomnia Study, published in 2005 by JD Edinger, et al , Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, had a 50% reduction in night-time wakefulness, lower pain levels, and a general feeling of well-being when they kept a sleep diary.
Eat to Live. Don’t Live to Eat.
Eat to live instead of living to eat. Fresh and colorful fruit and vegetables, whole grains, and heart-healthy proteins are all part of an energy and mood enhancing lifestyle. Bleached flour, beef, pork, corn syrup, sugar, salt, fast food, alcohol, and caffeine can perpetuate chronic pain, insomnia, depression, and water retention associated with Fibromyalgia.
Holistic and vitamin supplements should be discussed with a qualified physician before adding them to any routine. Everything put into the body effects everything else, for better or worse.
Emerging Drug-Free Therapies for Fibromyalgia
According to Epocrates® healthcare information, the following natural treatments are being reported by Fibromyalgia patients across America as being used in treatment against pain and depression, as well as improving function:
The few studies done on External QiGong Therapy have shown that patients who have tried this martial arts part of Chinese medicine practice have had dramatically less pain and more function returned to them.
Acupuncture has had mixed results among Fibromyalgia patients, and should probably be considered after other therapies. Fibromyalgia patients with tingling sensations and other nerve pain might especially be cautious about acupuncture, since it directly affects nerves.
Tai Chi has been only minimally studied in relation to Fibromyalgia. However, deep breathing, slow and focused movements, and controlled stretching without causing worse pain is the key to anyone’s general good health. Discussion between patient and doctor is highly recommended before starting any therapy or exercise.
Epocrates® notes that biofeedback and controlled breathing training to adapt the heart rate may decrease pain and depression, while increasing overall function and wellness.
This article is for informational purposes only. It cannot replace doctor’s advice. It is not intended to cover all possible uses, warnings, interactions or allergic reactions. If you have medical questions of any kind – about this topic or any other – check with your doctor, nurse practitioner, or pharmacist.