Supplements and Fibromyalgia: Proceed With Caution
If you are considering supplements, talk with your doctor. Some supplements can have harmful interactions with prescription medications. Some are unsafe if you have certain medical conditions. Pellegrino also advises being wary of products that promise fibromyalgia relief or contain supplements not commonly used.
“When it comes to supplements, we’re learning more and more,” he tells WebMD. “But unlike drugs, we don’t have rigorous research. It’s important for a person with fibromyalgia to work with a doctor who is knowledgeable about supplements.”
Acupuncture to Ease Fibromyalgia Pain
In traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture was thought to rebalance the flow of energy through one’s body. For modern Western practitioners, it’s a healing method that increases blood flow and production of the body’s natural painkillers.
In its most common form, acupuncture involves stimulating points on the body by inserting thin needles into the skin. When a slight electric current is run through the needles, it’s known as electroacupuncture. Both methods are used for fibromyalgia.
Some people believe acupuncture is an effective, if temporary, treatment for fibromyalgia symptoms. Others are not so sure.
In a 2006 Mayo Clinic study, acupuncture appeared to significantly reduce fatigue and anxiety among people with fibromyalgia. Other studies have suggested that acupuncture can temporarily ease fibromyalgia pain as well. Yet researchers who analyzed several clinical trials, including the Mayo Clinic study, concluded that overall, acupuncture is not effective in treating fibromyalgia.
Trying it yourself may be the only way to find out if it works for you. It may take several acupuncture treatments for you to conclude whether its benefits, if any, are worth the money.
Alternative Fibromyalgia Treatments: Massage
Massage can reduce muscle tension and ease pain in the muscles and soft tissue. It can also improve circulation and range of motion and boost production of natural painkillers. Some studies suggest it can improve your mood. And it may help people with fibromyalgia sleep better, too.
Formal studies of the effects of massage on fibromyalgia symptoms are few and results are mixed. However, researchers at the University of Miami’s Touch Research Institute report that just 20 minutes of moderate-pressure massage can lessen the flow of chemicals associated with pain and stress while increasing production of serotonin.
The result: a better night’s sleep. That can help combat fatigue and the inability to concentrate known as “fibro fog.”