TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR ILLNESS
COMPLEMENTARY THERAPIES FOR FIBROMYALGIA
There are a number of complementary therapies which may help to ease the symptoms of Fibromyalgia. However, it is important to remember that as there is little medical evidence to back up the effectiveness of these therapies they may not work for everyone. These therapies should also not be used as a replacement for treatment already provided by your doctor.
Some people find that complementary therapies help to ease their pain or fatigue and help them to relax and manage their condition more effectively. Examples of complementary treatments that may help to ease the symptoms of Fibromyalgia are detailed below.
This is where thin needles are inserted into certain points around the body to help relieve pain. This treatment must be carried out by professional practitioner
Acupressure is similar to Acupuncture but without needles. Pressure is applied to certain points in the body to relieve the stress and pain of FMS. You should initially consult a practitioner who may be able to show you how to apply relevant acupressure to various parts of the body.
Anxiety Management Techniques
Techniques of this nature would include counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy or other talking therapies. Often changing ones approach to life and the stresses and strains that it brings will help relieve the pain we often feel. Discuss with your GP the best technique to consider.
Application of Heat or Cold
This is something that can be done in the home. Using compresses of either heat or cold can help dull the pain of Fibromyalgia by blocking the nerve signals associated with pain to the brain. You can purchase both cold and heat sprays and packs or use a water bottle or heated cushion.
Essential oils are often used for a therapeutic effect. Aromatherapy involves inhaling or applying essential oils, which have been extracted from plants, seeds, bark, and flowers. There are over 150 different essential oils, which can be used alone or in combination with each other, to help treat different illnesses and disorders.
Oils which are recommended for use in Fibromyalgia include; Black Pepper, Clary Sage, Juniper, Lavender, Lemon Grass, Marjarom, Niaoli, Orange, Rosemary, Roman Chamomile, Geranium.
You can add a few neat drops into bath water and soak – or into an aromatherapy burner with some water. Alternately you could have a massage with a blend of these oils and a carrier oil.
Bach Flower Remedies
Bach Flower Essences are homeopathically prepared liquids. They work on an energetic level to gently release negative mental and emotional states, thereby strengthening our ability to cope. Additionally, it is not uncommon for clients to report unexpected relief from physical symptoms such as chronic pain, overweight and nervous or addictive habits. Bach Flower Remedies are sold in most good health stores and the store owner should be able to advise you of the best remedy for your particular symptoms.
Biofeedback Therapy uses a machine to record electric impulses emitted by your body in the form of temperature, muscle twitches, and brainwaves. The biofeedback machine then "feeds back" these impulses to you in the form of lights and beeps, which are displayed on a biofeedback monitor. The premise is that you will learn to have control over these impulses, thus controlling your symptoms. Biofeedback Therapy was designed to treat a variety of illnesses including chronic pain disorders, paralysis, and fatigue. This can only be practised by a recognised practitioner – consult your doctor to find the nearest.
Because Fibromyalgia causes numerous tender points all over the body, many Fibromyalgia patients suffer from back pain, neck pain, and leg cramps. In an attempt to solve these problems, many sufferers have looked to Chiropractors. Because simple adjustments to the neck and spine can restore the carriage of the whole body, a lot of Fibromyalgia sufferers find that alignments of the spine can significantly reduce pain all over their bodies. Nearly every town now has a qualified Chiropractic Clinic – ask about for recommendations.
Herbs can be a great way to boost the various systems in the body and restore depletions. A number of herbs have been recommended for use by those with FMS to relieve symptoms. These include: Chamomile, Echinacea, Cayenne, Ginger, Ginseng, Goldenseal, Kava kava, Lavender, Licorice, Pine Bark, Ephedra, Milk Thistle, Passionflower, Dong quai, Saw Palmetto and St. John's Wort.
Some of these herbs can be taken alone or may work better in combination. Please consult your local health food store owner who should be able to advise you on dosage.
Homeopathy is a natural way to take medication and relies on only natural ingredients for it’s medicines. Arnica is generally prescribed for pain, tenderness and stiffness. Bryonia helps ease pain that increases with movement and is better when resting. Hypericum is useful for the unbearable prickly pain that radiates along nerve pathways. Rhus toxicodendron is for the individual who feels better after moving around.
Many fibromyalgia sufferers attribute reduction in their symptoms to the power of Hypnosis. Fibromyalgia sufferers often use Hypnosis as a way to limit their pain symptoms and increase their energy and comfort level. Other benefits of hypnosis include decreased muscle pain, decreased morning fatigue, fewer
sleep difficulties and increased relaxation.
The primary method of practice of an Osteopath is known as Osteopathic Manual Manipulation (OMM). OMM works to remove obstructions in the musculoskeletal system, allowing the body to heal itself of disease and illness. It involves manual palpation of the body’s muscles, nerves, bones, and tissue.
There are a number of different types of relaxation therapy including deep breathing, meditation, yoga, and progressive muscle relaxation. Many relaxation therapy techniques can be performed at home, while others are performed under the guidance of an instructor at a relaxation therapy clinic.
Massage therapy is particularly beneficial for improved muscle function and pain relief. It also has a calming effect and reduces stress. It is best to find a therapeutic practitioner who will understand your condition and who is trained to offer a variety of massages to best treat you.
This could be through having regular baths to ease pain, having hydrotherapy treatment or going swimming and doing gentle water exercises. Your GP should be able to refer you for hydrotherapy at your local hospital where they will be able to teach you exercises for in the water. Or have a nice warm bath and blend in some lovely aromatherapy oils.
Anecdotally persons with FMS have reported significant improvements in symptoms with complementary approaches. Even if the benefits of such approaches derive from placebo effects, it is valuable to explore a range of different treatments and thereby take an active role in the management of your disease.
FMSNI do not recommend any of the above treatments or therapies without discussion with a qualified practitioner or your doctor.