My family and I spent years trying to get a diagnosis for my unexplained pain. The problem was that my pain managed to move around my entire body. One day my whole body would hurt and the next it would just be my low back or neck. As I got older the “random” symptoms, such as migraines and numbness, appeared to get worse.
Doctors were stumped.
Some doctors were telling me it was just back pain – which didn’t explain tender points on my legs or arms. Other doctors suggested more serious conditions like Multiple Sclerosis. My frustration was often unbearable. I just wanted to feel well.
After 7 years of misdiagnosis and unresolved pain, I finally saw a neurologist that seemed to have the possible answer.
“It sounds like Fibromyalgia,” said the neurologist. He had spent the last several months reviewing my medical history, symptoms and tests. “Let’s try Lyrica and see how you do.”
My sister had just finished 4 years of nursing school at that time and recently accepted a job in the Emergency Room as an RN. She had witnessed my health yo-yo between wellness and weakness for years. To say the least, she was unsatisfied with the diagnosis of “Fibromyalgia”.
Medical professionals seem to stand on one side of the fence or the other when it comes to Fibromyalgia. Some believe it’s just the “garbage-can diagnosis” while others stand firm in their belief that it’s a real condition.
To be honest, I was torn on what to believe at first. Was Fibromyalgia really the answer or was it just another step in the wrong direction?
After trying Lyrica and several other “so-called” pain controlling prescriptions, I decided to manage the pain naturally. It’s not that the medications didn’t work, but they all seemed to alter my reality and I could not think clearly. I also wanted to dive deep and REALLY understand the symptoms and studies on the condition itself.
So what are the common symptoms of Fibromyalgia? According to WebMD, most individuals experience symptoms like pain, anxiety, concentration and memory problems, depression, fatigue, headaches, IBS, morning stiffness, sleep problems, restless legs, numbness or tingling in hands, arms, feet and legs, tender points throughout the body and pain or frequency with urination.
In my opinion, these symptoms are not random at all. There is a REASON for your pain!
How might you feel if living with Fibromyalgia? Some might say they are fatigued on arising in the morning, fatigued after mild activity like folding clothes or grocery shopping, too fatigued to start minor projects, too fatigued to exercise, more fatigued after exercise, and too fatigued to function adequately at work.
Can you relate? I definitely can.
Why do medical professionals and patients have a hard time accepting Fibromyalgia? Well, most pain conditions seem to have a general cause and effect. For example, Fibromyalgia doesn’t seem to have an obvious cause other than over-active or overly stimulated nerves within the central nervous system. FibroCenter.com says that it’s “almost as if the volume control for pain is turned way up” for patients with Fibromyalgia.
My recommendation is to keep a medical journal of your symptoms. This is what helped me to find a diagnosis. There is not a specific test for Fibromyalgia, it is all based on medical history and recurring symptoms. The more you understand the symptoms (frequency, cause, time span, etc), the easier it will be for a doctor to help you.
It has taken over 200 years for this medical condition to be understood – and there is still a lot more for medical professionals to learn. It wasn’t until 2005 that the American Pain Society even recognized this condition for treatment in a publication – which was only 3 years after my pain started. The FDA finally approved the first medication to manage Fibro in 2007.
With treatment and clinical trials constantly revolving around this condition, there are also natural way to manage pain and symptoms.
One of the most helpful natural solutions for Fibromyalgia’s muscle pain and fatigue, is Malic Acid. Some experts have found that a combination of malic acid and magnesium can help reduce pain. Additionally, some studies have shown a strong dose of malic acid can significantly improve tender points and psychological levels. You can find Malic Acid products in our online store – Click here.
When it comes to food it’s important to eat a balanced, natural diet to prevent flare-ups and additional pain.
I cut out gluten years ago to help control muscle pain, but that doesn’t always seem to keep it away. It’s also beneficial to avoid foods that have been processed or manufactured. Try sticking to food that is from the ground or straight from the animal.
There are also supplements that can help reduce your widespread pain and other symptoms naturally. Many of these supplements can be found online at NaturalHealthyConcepts.com:
- 5 HTP – Amino Acid
- Gotu Kola – may help with sleep disorders, fatigue and depression
- Magnesium – alleviation of symptoms
- Skullcap – anti-inflammatory and joint pain
- Vitamin D – pain and fatigue
- B Complex – fatigue and brain fog
- Fish Oil – muscle pain
- Ribose – joint pain
- Brown Seaweed Extract – symptom reliever
Here are some additional resources for lifestyle changes to manage Fibromyalgia pain – Click here!
You can also read more about Fibromyalgia in Mary’s post – Suffering from Fibromyalgia?
While professionals are all still trying to understand this frustrating condition, we the patients do have options other than prescription medications to control symptoms.
Remember that you are NOT alone – there are approximately 5 million people in the US that suffer from Fibromyalgia. I hope these suggestions bring you some relief and understanding for why you feel the way that you do.
Please leave a comment if you have any questions or suggestions about managing Fibromyalgia naturally!