With fibromyalgia still having no cure, treatment methods are all about symptom relief. Though these symptoms vary slightly from person to person, most sufferers experience fatigue, sensitive and painful joints, and chronic pain in muscles, ligaments, and joints.
Treatment methods include medication, lifestyle changes, and holistic options. There is no one remedy that works for everyone, so we always urge our patients to try the most natural treatment methods first to see if they provide any relief.
Below are 5 herbs and supplements that may help alleviate symptoms caused by fibromyalgia. Please check with your healthier provider before trying any of these supplements.
Ginseng has been used medicinally throughout Asia for thousands of years. Some people with fibromyalgia report reduced pain, less tender points found on the body, improved quality of sleep and decreased fatigue. It is available as an herbal supplement, in teabag form, and as a root.
Melatonin is a natural hormone produced in the pineal gland in the brain. This hormone helps to regulate sleep cycles, making it a popular supplement among people with fibromyalgia as poor quality of sleep and exhaustion are common symptoms of this condition. Melatonin may help reduce fatigue as well. Melatonin is also manufactured synthetically, and is available in supplement form.
Some women with fibromyalgia have lower levels of magnesium, as well as other minerals in their bodies. A study tested the effects of applying a topical magnesium spray to participant’s arms and legs for one month, and the results were an overall improvement in fibromyalgia symptoms. Magnesium can be found in a wide range of foods, including almonds, pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate, and spinach. It is also available in capsule form and as a topical solution.
St. John’s Wort
St. John’s Wort is a flowering herb and may help alleviate depression and reduce inflammation. St. John’s Wort is available in tablet and capsule form. St. John’s Wort can negatively interact with certain medications, including antidepressants and birth control pills, so it’s important to discuss this supplements with your doctor.
The supplement 5-HTP is thought to work by increasing levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain. There is some evidence that it may reduce the number of tender points in people with fibromyalgia, possibly by effecting pain-modulating systems in the brainstem. Though the side effects were mild and short-term, people taking 5-HTP also reported less stiffness, anxiety, and fatigue.
Side effects and risks
Herbs and supplements are readily available in stores and online, but it’s important not to assume that easy access translates into overall safety. Supplements can interfere with other medications you may already be taking, and some may have side effects like skin irritation or headaches. Always be sure to check with your healthcare provider before starting a supplement.
If you or a loved one is suffering from fibromyalgia, we recommend talking to your doctor about seeking alternative treatment methods. If you are in the south Denver Metro Area and are interested in learning more about supplements, Arapahoe Chiropractic & Acupuncture Center in Centennial would be happy to help. Call us or contact us online today!
BY: Dr. Friedman
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