Controlling Fibromyalgia Naturally With Diet and Exercise

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One of the most aggravating things about suffering from fibromyalgia is the fluctuation of pain levels.

One day pain levels may be extremely low, followed by a day of not being able to move or even breathe deeply.

Accomplishing small tasks or holding a child may be beyond a fibro patient’s scope on a bad day. If you are one of the 1 in 50 Americans who suffers from this condition, rest assured that research continues to show that pain levels associated with fibromyalgia can be managed.

Controlling the pain associated with fibromyalgia can be accomplished one of three ways. You can elect to take prescribed medications such as duloxetine (Cymbalta), milnacipran (Savella), and velafaxin (Effexor). Also used are anti-seizure drugs and pain killers. But be aware that if you stop taking some of these they may cause withdrawal symptoms.

Never stop taking a medication without consulting your doctor.

You also can elect to take your medications and remove food triggers from your diet. These methods, when used together, can be extremely effective in pain management.

But sometimes the medical route can be ineffective, according to a research report published by The Jesse and Julie Rasch Foundation.

The third way to control your pain levels takes dedication and observation. That method is a natural reduction in the foods that are contributing to your condition while increasing anti-inflammatory foods and spices.

These natural treatment approaches can include cognitive behavioral therapy (such as meditation), physical therapy, occupational therapy, increased exercise, manual lymph drainage massage therapy, aquatic therapy, and diet.

Movement helps. Try signing up for a yoga class. The Journal of Pain Research reported that stretching twice a week had “lowered pain levels” at the end of a clinical study.

Do you wake up stiff and sore? Some sources suggest taking SAMe, or S-Adenosyl methionine, supplements to relieve these symptoms.

Before you dismiss the notion that natural control is possible, talk to your doctor about these methods, including diet. Most physicians will suggest you limit the intake of certain foods – this is a testimony that you can begin to control pain levels this way.

If you elect to examine your food choices, you will need to begin a food journal. Record every single thing that goes into your body, the date and time. That means if you eat meatloaf you will need to know what was put into that meatloaf and record that, for example.

After several months of data collection, you should start to see a pattern of correlation between pain increases and certain foods you have consumed.

Medical research continues to prove that vitamin D is essential for many body functions. According to a paper published in January 2012 in Pain Medicine, fibromyalgia pain improved after only eight weeks of vitamin D supplementation for 30 women in a study group.

Also, try topical application of capsaicin – the compound found in hot peppers. It works by stimulating the body’s production of “substance P,” which reduces chronic pain sensations for diabetics, cancer patients, and those who suffer from headaches and fibromyalgia flares. This over-the-counter lotion is sold in varying strengths.

Want to eat inflammation-reducing foods and spices? It has been medically proved that an increase of antioxidant foods, minerals and essential fatty acids (omega-3) foods can benefit overall health in everyone, but there are specific foods to eat that will reduce your pain levels over time.

Spices can help. Try using more turmeric, cayenne pepper, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, sage and rosemary in your cooking. Inflammation-reducing foods include tomatoes, olive oil, dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, collard greens and spinach (which all taste really good when cooked with a combination of the spices listed above).

Meats that reduce inflammation include salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines.

Even some fruits and nuts worked into the diet, such as strawberries, cherries, citrus and blueberries, can reduce pain levels. Try combining those with pain-reducing nuts such as almond and walnuts.

What should you avoid eating? Sugar can cause inflammation, so stay away from simple carbohydrates. Stay away from monosodium glutamate, or MSG, and sodium nitrite. These substances are used in processed foods to preserve flavor. You will see them in cured meats and prepared sauces. Also avoid glutamic acid, glutamate, yeast extract, anything hydrolyzed, gelatin and caseinate (a milk component). This means you need to avoid cheese, sour cream, creamer, ghee, yogurt, butter, and milk.

There are more things to add to your list of foods to avoid. By keeping your own food journal, though, you can customize your diet to exactly what is causing you grief.