If you are suffering from fibromyalgia, you probably have been prescribed a cocktail of medications that result in an array unwanted side effects while providing varying degrees of temporary benefit. As a result, many people are searching for natural remedies. Today we are going to look at 5 ways to cope with fibromyalgia that don’t come out of a pill bottle.
#1 A Daily Exercise Routine
Exercise can be a tough thing to think about when you are in pain. But what if just a 20-minute walk each morning could reduce inflammation in the body? According to researchers, that’s exactly what it does. Plus, other studies have shown that regular exercise reduces pain levels in the body. As a result, it makes sense to include a daily exercise routine consisting of walking, swimming, or even just stretching on days when you can’t do anything more. Reduced inflammation and pain are certainly worth the effort.
#2 A Regular Sleep Schedule
This is another natural remedy that seems like a catch 22 for fibromyalgia patients. Insomnia is a common symptom of the condition, but it also leads to higher pain levels. Getting back to a good sleep schedule can help to reduce those pain levels. How can you still get a good night’s rest despite dealing with a chronic health condition? The key is to create the right environment for sleep. You can do that by:
- Powering down electronic devices
- Keeping the bedroom dark and quiet
- Prepping for the next morning, so you are not worried about what you have to do when you get up (i.e. lay out an outfit, prep meals, etc.)
- Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day
#3 Proper Nutrition
Eating right is always important, even when you are feeling well, but it becomes vital for a person with a chronic ailment. The right diet can help reduce inflammation that can increase pain levels. You also want to beware of certain deficiencies that can affect neurological function, since fibromyalgia has been linked to both the vascular and central nervous systems. Here are a few things to add to your diet as well as a few things to avoid:
- Get enough vitamin D. This often means taking a supplement during winter or if you don’t leave the house much because the body produces vitamin D when it comes in contact with the sun.
- Get more Omega-3 fatty acids. That means eating more fish as well as things like walnuts and flaxseed. Omega-3s reduce inflammation and help the vascular system.
- Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. This is the best way to get your nutrients. You may even want to try juicing. Organic produce is even better because you are not coming in contact with residue from pesticides that can have a negative effect on the body.
- Avoid highly processed foods such as fast food. Common additives in prepackaged foods include things like MSG and aspartame which can actually increase pain levels in the body.
- Reduce your caffeine intake. This will help you to sleep better. If you want a hot beverage, try herbal teas or a decaf green tea.
#4 Relaxation Techniques
Stress is going to make any condition that is based in the central nervous system worse. Since you can’t avoid all stress, and feeling sick can be a stressor itself, that means finding positive ways to cope with stress. Here are a few things you may want to try:
- Deep breathing – Concentrate on filling the lower portion of your lungs first. When you breathe properly, your belly should actually expand as the diaphragm drops down to make room for the lungs. Exhale slowly, blowing the air out in a controlled manner. This is also good for the lymphatic system that clears toxins from the body.
- Stretching – Remember that exercise reduces pain levels. It also creates chemicals in the brain that make you feel good. Stretching is a great way to relieve stress and reduce pain at the same time.
- Meditation – Rather than simply cleaning your mind, pick positive things to focus on. This is an opportunity to dispel the negative. It may be tougher than it sounds at first, so start with brief meditation periods and work your way up to half an hour a day. If you are a religious person, you may choose to use some of this time for prayer.
#5 Upper Cervical Chiropractic for Fibromyalgia
When the C1 and C2 are misaligned, this can affect cerebral blood flow as well as brainstem function. When certain parts of the brain do not get enough blood, this can lead to a reduced ability to cope with pain. Other areas of the brain that receive pain signals may also be affected. Since the brainstem is the primary connection between the brain and the rest of the body, anything that inhibits function can create sensory issues.
Upper cervical chiropractors use diagnostic imaging techniques to pinpoint even the slightest shift of the C1 and C2. Then a gentle adjustment can be tailored to meet your needs. For many, this has resulted in reduced fibromyalgia symptoms. There are even case studies documenting complete resolution of the condition after just a few months of care.
To learn more about how upper cervical chiropractic differs from general chiropractic and to see how it may benefit you, contact a practitioner in your area and schedule a no-obligation consultation.