Fibromyalgia: Causes, Symptoms, & Natural Management Options
An estimated 5 million American adults (most of them women) have fibromyalgia according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In this blog post, we will cover what Fibromyalgia is and what the symptoms are as well as known and potential ways that are being studied to help manage Fibromyalgia and Fibromyalgia-like symptoms.
What is Fibromyalgia? Causes and Symptoms:
Chronic widespread pain is the primary marker for Fibromyalgia.
Accompanied by extreme fatigue, sleep disturbances, sensitivity to touch, light, and sound and impaired memory and cognitive function. Many people with Fibromyalgia also experience
- Irritable bowel and bladder
- Skin sensitivity
- Restless leg syndrome
- Impaired coordination
- Vision problems
- and other symptoms
“Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals.” - Mayo Clinic
Things like excessive physical activity, physical and mental fatigue, stress, and a lack of restorative sleep can aggravate these symptoms. While doctors don’t know what causes Fibromyalgia, it is likely a variety of factors coming together such as genetics, certain infections or diseases, and physical or emotional trauma.
“Researchers believe repeated nerve stimulation causes the brains of people with fibromyalgia to change. This change involves an abnormal increase in levels of certain chemicals in the brain that signal pain (neurotransmitters). In addition, the brain's pain receptors seem to develop a sort of memory of the pain and become more sensitive, meaning they can overreact to pain signals.” - Mayo Clinic
Because there is no cure for Fibromyalgia, people with this condition often use a variety of medications to help relieve and control symptoms, oftentimes in addition to complementary therapies such as acupuncture, massage therapy, movement therapy, and supplements.
Some lifestyle changes can also help manage Fibromyalgia like getting enough sleep, exercising, eating a well-balanced diet, and adjusting work and other daily demands.
There are many supplements, home remedies, and alternative medicines that those with Fibromyalgia use and that they may benefit from. Although supplements like Magnesium, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, and DMSO require further research, present research suggests each could help to further manage symptoms.
The Link Between Fibromyalgia and Magnesium
Researchers have been looking into a possible connection between Fibromyalgia symptoms and low magnesium levels in the blood.
Because Magnesium is extremely important to hundreds of function in the body including helping to maintain normal nerve and muscle function, medical research suggests that low levels of magnesium could play a role in Fibromyalgia.
(Pictured: USP Grade Magnesium Chloride Oil by Herbal Mana)
The first-ever study on the link between fibromyalgia and magnesium levels was completed at the Mayo Clinic. Patients applied magnesium transdermally (topically) twice a day for four weeks and tracked their baseline and progress through self-reporting and questionnaires.
The study confirmed past medical research that says maintaining therapeutic serum magnesium levels has been linked to a lowering of fibromyalgia symptoms including depression, tender points, and fatigue; their only side-effect sometimes being skin irritation caused by the spray.
“Patients who tolerated the spray saw improvement of fibromyalgia symptoms within two weeks and these gains were maintained for the four-week period.”
Magnesium deficiency is common and things like stress, sleep deprivation, and a disrupted hormonal system can cause magnesium loss- making people with Fibromyalgia more likely to be candidates for magnesium deficiency.
Magnesium is necessary for almost all enzymes that help the body turn the sugar and fat we eat into ATP (the molecule that stores the energy we need to do just about everything we do).
Low levels of ATP have commonly been found in people with fibromyalgia, and it is believed that this plays an important role in many fibromyalgia symptoms including brain cognitive function and muscle tension, spasms, and general muscle function.
Low levels of Magnesium have also been linked to things like Restless Leg Syndrom, Sciatica pain, cramps, depression, insomnia, and inflammation.
(Graphic from sciencemission.com)
Brain fog is another common symptom of Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and vitamin B12 is known to help boost the energy, mood, memory, and concentration of those who have a vitamin b deficiency.
Some studies suggest that there may also be a correlation between vitamin b12 deficiency and worsening Fibromyalgia symptoms, particularly fatigue. Because vitamin b12 aids the body in the proper utilization of magnesium, those with Fibromyalgia might also have b vitamin deficiencies (especially b12), and those with low vitamin b levels may also be low in magnesium.
Homocysteine is a common amino acid in your blood. High levels of this amino acid are associated with vitamin b6 and b12 deficiencies. Cerebrospinal fluid protects the brain and the spinal cord from trauma and supplies nutrients to the nervous system.
When homocysteine levels are high in the cerebrospinal fluid, that indicates that the amount of vitamin b12 in your brain is low. High levels of this amino acid also cause decreased levels of magnesium within your cells, which is what’s lead researchers to believe a combination of b vitamins can counteract this depletion of magnesium.
One study states, “We conclude that increased homocysteine levels in the central nervous system [low amounts of Vitamin B12] characterize patients fulfilling the criteria for both fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.”
In another study, patients with myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME, also called chronic fatigue syndrome) were given B12 injections at least once a week for at least six months. Those who received more frequent and higher doses for a longer period of time rated themselves as “very much” or “much” improved whereas those who had lower doses less often rated “much” or “minimally” improved.
Methylcobalamin (MeCbl), the activated form of vitamin B12, has been used to treat some nutritional diseases and other diseases such as Alzheimer's and rheumatoid arthritis.
"Recently, several lines of evidence demonstrated that MeCbl may have potential analgesic effects in experimental and clinical studies. For example, MeCbl alleviated pain behaviors in diabetic neuropathy, low back pain, and neuralgia. MeCbl improved nerve conduction, promoted the regeneration of injured nerves, and inhibited ectopic spontaneous discharges of injured primary sensory neurons." - China Institue of Neuroscience
DMSO for Fibromyalgia
In his book, “The Miracle of MSM” by Dr. Stanley Jacob, he presents cases where large doses of MSM (also referred to as DMSO2) were found to reduce the pain of fibromyalgia. Patient reports also indicated that their chronic fatigue was reduced.
When DMSO is absorbed by the body, it is broken down and absorbed as MSM (a sub-molecule of DMSO). This creates an equilibrium system that could help to increase the transportation of oxygen throughout the body. This is why people like Dr. David W. Gregg believe that DMSO could help increase energy while stopping the production of lactic acid which could help to “resolve the chronic fatigue associated with fibromyalgia.”
"DMSO really made a difference for me; I have fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Osteoarthritis. I have used DMSO everywhere on my body that hurts and this works for me. My mother also has fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis and tried DMSO after her pain meds were not working. For her it was DMSO to the rescue! Thank you Herbal Mana for bringing us this product!" - Belinda B.
(Pictured: Inner Warrior - a blend for #FibroWarriors by Herbal Mana)
In order to best explain why DMSO can be beneficial for helping manage fibromyalgia, it is important to first explain oxidative stress and the importance of antioxidants in the body.
Oxidative stress is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in your body. Free radicals are oxygen-containing molecules that react easily with other molecules which can be beneficial or harmful depending on whether they are functioning properly. These reactions are called oxidation.
Oxidation is a necessary process that takes place in your body. Oxidative stress, however, occurs when there is no longer a balance between free radical activity and antioxidant activity in the body. When there are more free radicals than antioxidants, free radicals can damage DNA, fatty tissue, and proteins in the body - potentially causing a variety of diseases over time.
While it’s impossible to avoid oxidative stress completely, there are things you can do to minimize the effects it has on your body, like getting enough antioxidants in your diet and supplementing when you can.
DMSO has antioxidant properties which can help cells function better to get the oxygen that they need so the body can perform normal processes that help cells stay healthy.
Fibromyalgia is believed to be caused by the brain sending the wrong pain signals to the wrong place at the wrong time, theoretically caused by cells not working properly. Focusing on the core bases of your health (your cells), with things like DMSO could theoretically help correct the cells to work the way they are supposed to.
When we received this review from one of our customers using just our plain DMSO, we decided to research ingredients that could allow us to create a blend more targeted to things like widespread muscle pain, nerve pain, and fatigue. That is when Inner Warrior came to be.
Inner Warrior - Made with #FibroWarriors in mind
Inner Warrior combines Aloe Vera, DMSO, Magnesium, Vitamin B12, and a special blend of seven Essential Oils to bring you the newest product to help relieve pain and boost energy naturally.
Our customers have been using Inner Warrior for a variety of things such as pain caused by MS, neuropathy, general nerve and/or muscle pain, arthritis, and more.
Since releasing it in September, Inner Warrior has quickly become our top-seller and the people who've tried it can't stop raving about it. See what they had to say and try it for yourself by clicking here.
"I just bought 2 more 8oz bottles. I have been using different forms of magnesium to help with pain and to sleep at night. They all helped but the Herbal Mana Inner Warrior has helped more than anything. I have fibromyalgia and suffer from inflammation that attempts control with diet. My sleep has definitely improved because my pain level has gone down and I'm able to be more comfortable." - Rachel N.
“Fibromyalgia.” The ACPA, 18 Jan. 2018, www.theacpa.org/conditions-treatments/conditions-a-z/fibromyalgia/.
“Fibromyalgia Center: Symptoms, Treatments, Causes, Tests, and Diagnosis.” WebMD, WebMD, www.webmd.com/fibromyalgia/default.htm.
“Fibromyalgia.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 11 Aug. 2017, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/fibromyalgia/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20354785.
“Fibromyalgia.” National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 27 Aug. 2018, www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/fibromyalgia#tab-treatment.
**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition.