Fibromyalgia Treatment is continued from Fibromyalgia Cause is Still a Mystery.
People usually consult their physicians for fibromyalgia treatment. Although some have found medication to be effective for pain relief and improved sleep, others prefer to supplement with integrative approaches. Still others like to do everything they can do themselves. Lifestyle changes with massage and exercises often reduce stress and benefit immune and nervous system response. Because there is an emotional component to the suffering, some improve from psychological counseling. Although, many also benefit from fibromyalgia support groups.
Each person is different, and responses to therapies may vary.
Complementary/ Integrative Fibromyalgia Treatments that work for some fibro sufferers:
Therapies: Massage, Warm Water and Acupuncture
- Massage therapy is widely used for symptom relief, with a recommended dose of one to two times a week. (Massage therapy for FM symptoms) Massage therapy can decrease depression and anxiety, relax muscles, increase range of motion of joints, relieve pain and stiffness, and improve sleep. However, it should start with low intensity and build up gradually. This is to avoid adding pain. A light to medium touch is best, since deep tissue can sometimes creates pain afterwards.
- Warm water therapy decreases immediate pain for many FM sufferers. Pool exercise might prolong the benefits. (A warm water pool-based FM exercise program and Investigation of the effects of pool-based exercise on FM)
- Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine have shown benefits for pain, depression, stiffness, fatigue and improving sleep. (Acupuncture for Treating Fibromyalgia and Traditional Chinese Medicine for Treatment of Fibromyalgia)
Self-Care: Exercise, Diet, Mindfulness Meditation
- Consider low impact aerobic exercise and strength training. More than just to support wellness, these also reduce pain, relieve tender points, improve sleep, and relieve depression. Even though initial movement may be painful, regular exercise is usually beneficial as a consistent component of fibromyalgia treatment. (Resistance Training for Fibromyalgia)
- Many people benefit from a healthy gluten-free diet. Try one that emphasizes whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, essential fatty acids, and proteins with low animal fats. Also, you might eliminate sugar, dairy, processed foods, alcohol and coffee. Together, these ease the inflammatory load of the body and improve neurological functioning. Perhaps add vitamins and herbal supplements as recommended by your health practitioner.
- Some research has studied Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) for its FM benefits. (Treating Fibromyalgia with MBSR and The impact of a meditation-based stress reduction program on fibromyalgia.) MBSR is an 8 week training program of mindfulness based meditation. It sometimes includes yoga with good results for FM.
- The Guaifenesin Protocol is a very strict regime of both dietary and lifestyle changes. It forbids salicylates, mint and lavender. It further limits specific ingredients from medications, diet and personal hygiene products. Independent research does not support the anecdotal evidence very well, but some apparently find it helpful in reversing symptoms. More at this website and in these research papers: City of Hope Report and other research.
How do these therapies help?
Recent research suggests that muscle tissues of people with fibromyalgia show mitochondrial dysfunction–deficiencies in how cells function. It may be that exercise, warm water therapy, massage and acupuncture improve cell functioning. Although these therapies have helped, we don’t really know the mechanism. We need more research!
Fibromyalgia Treatment at Integration Massage
My clients have found that the gentle touch and increased self-awareness of Ortho-Bionomy®1 give good symptom relief.2 Additionally, an Ortho-Bionomy® session has no deep tissue risk. And, there is no pain afterwards. Since Ortho-Bionomy® is based on osteopathic manual medicine, I treat the tender points of fibromyalgia as any other tender point. I position your body around the tender point until you are comfortable. I then wait for the self-corrective reflex, the body’s signal that it is letting go.
Massage, MBSR, acupuncture, warm water therapy and Ortho-Bionomy® support the parasympathetic response. This is also called the “rest and digest” mode. When your body is at ease, it does not feel threatened. So it reduces the alarm signals you experience as pain. Moreover, in a relaxed state, the brain increases the signals that block pain, the inhibitory neurotransmitters. Thus, these therapies can be valuable additions to your individualized plan for fibro treatment.
You may call Integration Massage for a free consultation: 503-708-2911.
1Ortho-Bionomy® is a registered trademark of the Society of Ortho-Bionomy, International, and is used with permission. Rosi Goldsmith, LMT is an Associate Member of SOBI.
2 The Testimonials entries are mostly from people who never heard of Ortho-Bionomy® before.