Alternative therapies are actually widely used in treating the debilitating pain of fibromyalgia. Anti-inflammatory and anti-depressant medications may be prescribed, but primary treatment involves lifestyle changes, stress reduction, physical therapy, counseling and nutritional supplements. Patient education in pain management and participation in support groups is also considered beneficial.
One of the most effective therapies is a program of aerobic exercise. This may seem counterintuitive, but we're not talking about jumping into mountain climbing or weight lifting. Start slowly, with gentle stretching. Yoga, walking and water exercise are good ways to begin. Careful massage therapy, acupressure and acupuncture might also be helpful.
Reduction of stress and improving the quality of sleep are also important issues in managing fibromyalgia. In fact, some researchers feel that there is ambiguity in the cause-and-effect relationship between sleep dysfunction and fibromyalgia. Does the pain interfere with sleep, or does lack of sleep exacerbate the pain? This is just one of the questions regarding this disorder, the causes and cures of which are not yet known.
Relaxation techniques, self-hypnosis and biofeedback may be helpful, in addition to the exercise mentioned above. Avoid caffeine and eat a well-balanced diet that provides a variety of vitamins and minerals. Magnesium, for instance, is often recommended and can be increased by adding more root vegetables to your diet.
There are some valuable nutrients, such as plant sterols, that are not easily available through diet alone. Natur-Leaf®, a natural dietary supplement, contains approximately 40 mg of sterols and sterolins--in an ideal 6:1 ratio. Plant sterols have anti-inflammatory properties that may help alleviate soft-tissue pain. They are also useful in strengthening and modulating the immune system, which is often implicated in fibromyalgia and associated disorders such as lupus and arthritis.