If you can’t explain why every muscle in your body seems to hurt lately, you may have fibromyalgia, an elusive disorder that affects millions of Americans. This condition is most common among women between the ages of 20 and 50, although it can strike anyone at any age.

Chronic muscle pain and stiffness (at its worst in the morning) for three consecutive months.
Sensitivity in 11 of 18 specific body sites, called tender points.
Poor quality of sleep.
Fatigue (chronic or occasional), even after adequate sleep.
Depression, often with anxiety.
Impaired memory, concentration, and muscle coordination.

When to Call Your Doctor

If symptoms last for three months; sooner if you can’t carry out your daily routine.
If other causes, such as flu or arthritis, have been eliminated.
If sleep disturbances are severe.
If you are depressed.
Reminder: If you have a medical or psychiatric condition, talk to your doctor before taking supplements.

What It Is
Defined as a rheumatic disorder, fibromyalgia is characterized by widespread muscle pain and fatigue. In the morning, a person with this condition frequently feels unrefreshed and experiences aching or stabbing muscle pain (which often improves as the day progresses). Symptoms may be constant or disappear for months at a time and then recur. Because blood tests and X rays show no abnormalities, fibromyalgia can be hard to diagnose. To distinguish this disorder from others that cause similar symptoms, such as chronic fatigue syndrome or depression, doctors often apply pressure to specific areas of the body (called tender points); the pressure causes enough pain to make the person flinch or cry out. The diagnosis of fibromyalgia is made when fatigue and muscle pain persist for three months and can’t be linked to another cause, and when extreme sensitivity is found at 11 of 18 tender points, at the base of the skull and in the neck, shoulders, ribs, upper chest (near the collarbone), elbows, knees, lower back, and buttocks.

What Causes It
The cause of fibromyalgia is not known. Once thought to be a psychological disorder, the condition is now ascribed by some to low levels of serotonin, one of the chemicals that transmit messages throughout the brain and nervous system. Lack of serotonin may produce the muscle pain directly or, more likely, interfere with sleep, thus aggravating the pain.

How Supplements Can Help
Everyone with fibromyalgia should take magnesium and malic acid. These are important for energy and muscle relaxation. Many people with this condition are deficient in magnesium; the malic acid enhances its absorption as well as its fatigue-fighting effect. Consider adding either the herb St. John’s wort or 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan, a form of the amino acid tryptophan); both raise serotonin levels, ease depression, and improve pain tolerance. Unless directed to do so by a doctor, don’t use either of these with prescription antidepressants. To help protect muscle cells from damage, take vitamin C with or without grape seed extract; both are powerful antioxidants. If you feel you need more support, add coenzyme Q10. It helps relieve the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome, which may accompany fibromyalgia. And if you’re having difficulty sleeping, try melatonin or the herb valerian.

What Else You Can Do
Eat several small meals during the day to keep a steady supply of protein and carbohydrate available for proper muscle function.
Take hot baths or showers — especially in the morning — to soothe soreness, increase circulation, and relieve stiffness.
Find a massage therapist familiar with fibromyalgia. A technique called trigger point therapy can be extremely helpful in reducing pain.
Cut back on caffeine, alcohol, and sugar, which often cause fatigue.
Get at least eight hours of sleep a night.
Exercise. Rather than further taxing chronically sore muscles, aerobic exercise may actually help them and relieve symptoms of fibromyalgia, according to a recent study. When combined with stress management techniques, 45 minutes of exercise three to five times a week eased pain and fatigue. If you don’t currently exercise much, gradually work your way up to 45-minute sessions. Doing too much too fast can backfire.
Meditation, movement therapy, and knowledge of the connections between mind and body helped 20 fibromyalgia patients in one study. After eight weeks, standardized tests showed improvements in the sleep, fatigue, pain level, and mood of the study’s participants.

Supplement Recommendations
Magnesium/Malic Acid
St. John’s Wort
Vitamin C
Grape Seed Extract
Coenzyme Q10

Magnesium/Malic Acid

Dosage: 150 mg magnesium and 600 mg malic acid twice a day.
Comments: Sometimes sold in combination as magnesium malate.

St. John’s Wort
Dosage: 300 mg 3 times a day.
Comments: Standardized to contain 0.3% hypericin.

Dosage: 100 mg 3 times a day.
Comments: If drowsiness occurs, reduce to 50 mg 3 times a day.

Vitamin C

Dosage: 1,000 mg 3 times a day.
Comments: Reduce dose if diarrhea develops.

Grape Seed Extract

Dosage: 100 mg twice a day.
Comments: Standardized to contain 92%-95% proanthocyanidins.

Coenzyme Q10
Dosage: 100 mg twice a day.
Comments: For best absorption, take with food.

Dosage: 3 mg before bedtime.
Helpful if sleep disorders accompany pain.

Source:Your Guide to Vitamins, Minerals, and Herbs(Reader’s Digest)

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.

One thought on “Fibromyalgia

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *