Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Herbal Treatment for Fibromyalgia? What Are the Pros and Cons?

Herbal Treatment for Fibromyalgia? What Are the Pros and Cons?Fibromyalgia syndrome affects about 5 million Americans, most of them women. It affects all ages and socioeconomic groups. With such a large number of people having this illness, there is a real need for effective treatments of this disease and its wide variety of symptoms. Herbal treatment for fibromyalgia is currently gaining in popularity with sufferers. And despite the large volume of research by medical organizations like the Mayo Clinic, the real cause of fibromyalgia has still not been determined. One theory suggests a chemical imbalance in the brain's serotonin levels, which has been shown to be low in fibromyalgia patient studies. Another school of thought under consideration is "hyperactive nerves" due to poor blood circulation in parts of the brain dealing with pain response.

No matter what the cause, the hallmarks of the syndrome are widespread pain, exhaustion, and nine tender points on the body that are especially sensitive to touch. These points, located on the neck, back, buttocks, elbows, thighs and knees, are the primary diagnostic method used by fibromyalgia doctors (with tender points manifesting in the four quadrants of the body, right and left sides, and above and below the waist)... along with the patient having symptoms that present for at least three months or more.

Once diagnosed, this is where herbal treatment for fibromyalgia comes in. Presently there is no cure for fibromyalgia syndrome. However, aside from the standard pharmaceutical treatments, there are herbal treatments for fibromyalgia that can relieve and even eliminate the symptoms. Here are some examples are of herbal treatment for fibromyalgia options:

* St. John'sWort- sleep aid, raises serotonin levels, can ease depression, can help reduce pain, muscle relaxer
* Willowbark - pain-relief without stomach distress or risk of bleeding
* Kava - help with sleep disturbances, insomnia
* Cat's Claw- general symptom improvement with continued use, lessening of pain response over time
* 5-HTP(5-hydroxy-l-tryptophan)- natural SSRI-like anti-depressant, increases the effect of St. John's Wort and tricyclic anti-depressant drugs,
* SAMe(S-adenozylmethionine) - studies have shown this substance relieves pain, muscle weakness, depression, fatigue, muscle stiffness
* Lavender essence- used to massage sore, painful muscles when diluted with jojoba, olive, or sunflower oil; aroma-therapy to calm nerves and relax
* Capsaicin, and Cayenne- fibromyalgia pain relief
* Ginger- compress for pain - improves circulation and increases pain-relieving properties of other herbs
* Mugwort- traditional Chinese medicine technique - burn herb and hold burning end near painful area, move around in spiral pattern for several hours of pain relief ( called Moxibustion)
* Grapeseed Extract- powerful antioxidant (procyanidins) from the seeds of wine grapes, inhibits inflammation and reduces pain
* Ginseng- builds immunity, reduces stress
* Nettle- pain relief, found in whole grains and leafy greens
* Arnica- herbal back pain remedy found in pharmacies
* Boswellia- pain and morning-stiffness
* Pomegranates- antioxidant, anti-inflammatory properties

The Pros...

When used properly, herbal treatment for fibromyalgia symptoms can be a safe, effective form of natural treatment and herbal pain relief. The examples above have been used successfully in folk remedies for hundreds of years. Most herbal treatment for fibromyalgia products are readily available in pharmacies, vitamin and nutrition stores, and online. Costs vary depending upon the strength, brand name, and form of herb (capsule, tablet, drops, etc.)... some herbal treatment for fibromyalgia products are relatively inexpensive.

The Cons...

Just like pharmaceutical drugs, herbs have side-effects and can interact with other herbs and medicines. For example, do not use cat's claw if you are diabetic and using insulin or if you are pregnant or nursing. Do not use St. John's Wort if you are using oral contraceptives, or if you are taking warfarin (cumiden), a blood thinner. Be aware that there are currently warnings on Kava products by the FDA. Discuss the use of herbal treatment for fibromyalgia remedies and other herbal cures, with your physician before using them. Become educated about the herbal treatment for fibromyalgia that you are considering and always start with a low dosage to see how the remedy works for you.

Other Considerations...

* Be sure to drink a lot of water... eight glasses per day, to help flush out toxins.
* Accupuncture is another natural treatment, used with some success, for the treatment of fibromyalgia.
* Exercise started slowly and increased to 20-30 minutes a day over time, can be beneficial to fibromyalgia sufferers.
* A heart-healthy diet is a good lifestyle choice, avoiding alcohol, sugar, caffeine and allergens.
* Rebuild your body from the inside out with a safe, natural nutritional supplement... recognized as an effective treatment by the AMA and CDC for autoimmune diseases like fibromyalgia by replacing damaged cells with healthy new ones.
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