I have several friends that sadly suffer from this condition and it can be so debilitating especially for mothers with young children relying on them. Fibromyalgia is a chronic and common disease that affects 2-4% people of total world population. Although the cause behind this disease is still unknown, the syndrome is very well known and very painful for the people suffering from this disease. The pain experienced is widespread and produces a fatigue disorder. The disease mostly affects muscles, ligaments, tendons and other soft fibres in the body; as a consequence sufferers feel the pain in the muscle joint areas of body, such as neck, shoulder, elbow and heap.
Some experts consider it a form of arthritis but the fact is the affected muscles in the body are not deformed like in typical arthritis cases. Fibromyalgia is more a neuromuscular pain, which affects the musculoskeletal schema of human body. Those affected cab suffer from the following symptoms:
Widespread pain for more than 3 months
Tenderness in the neck, shoulder, knee, elbow, or upper buttocks or thigh areas
Trouble sleeping and tiredness in the morning or late in the day
Mood changes and difficulty concentrating
Headaches, sometimes migraines
Numbness and tingling in hands, arms, feet, legs or face
Long lasting morning stiffness (not to be confused with gout)
Abdominal pain, bloating, constipation and diarrhoea
Irritable bowel syndrome
Fatigue that interferes with work and daily activities
Sleep problems (difficulty falling or staying asleep, waking up feeling tired)
In addition of these unpleasant symptoms, fibromyalgia sufferers often complain of anxiety along with depression. This can leave sufferers feeling lethargic and deeply frustrated in their life.
Not surprising, is it?
Recent research has found that women are more affected than men, and that this is a common phenomenon in women who lack calcium or may have a deficiency. Women with the condition can also face problems in their monthly cycle, hormone imbalances and suffer from other feminine diseases.
As the last thing a tired mother needs, fibromyalgia can disturb sleep patterns leading to further sleep deprivation, moodiness, and is often a sneaky cause of some mental disorders such as anxiety and depression. It is still a bit of a mystery what that root cause of this disease is, but the effects are very acute and the trickle effects can affect the entire family.
The Fibromyalgia Diet
Once you have a diagnosis (or suspect it), there are some things you can do to help your body heal. According to fellow nutrition expert and certified doctor of natural medicine, Dr Josh Axe, says diet plays a huge role in the successful management and natural treatment of fibromyalgia. In this post (click here), he suggests that real, whole foods can help to reduce inflammation and that you should avoid foods that are known to trigger inflammation.
To accomplish this, Dr Axe recommends eating a low FODMAP diet as this has been shown to significantly reduce fibromyalgia symptoms, gastrointestinal symptoms and pain (as published in Scandinavian Journal of Pain). Here's a brief overview of what the FODMAP diet looks like:
Foods You Can Eat On The Low FODMAP Diet
Vegetables: capsiums, bok choy, carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, potatoes, summer squash and winter squash.
Fruit: bananas, berries, rock melon, grapes, honeydew melon, kiwi, kumquat, citrus fruits, pineapple and rhubarb.
Dairy & milk alternatives: raw hard cheeses, almond milk, coconut milk, rice milk, goat milk yogurt and kefir.
Protein sources: organic, free-range eggs, grass-fed beef and lamb, free-range chicken and turkey, wild-caught fish and tempeh.
Breads & grains: gluten-free oats, GMO-free corn, GMO-free rice, quinoa, sourdough spelt, gluten-free bread and gluten-free pasta.
Nuts & seeds: Macadamia nuts, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds and walnuts.
Seasonings & condiments: avocado oil, coconut oil, grape seed oil, grass-fed butter, all-natural mayonnaise, mustard, olives, maple syrup, vinegar, soy sauce and salad dressing made with ingredients on this list.
Foods You Should Try To Avoid
The following foods have been identified as high in FODMAPs by Monash University, where researchers Peter Gibson and Dr. Sue Shepherd developed the low FODMAP diet.
Fructose: fruits such as apples, honey, high fructose corn syrup
Lactose: cow’s milk dairy, including yogurt and dairy kefir, goat’s milk, products with added lactose and soft cheeses
Fructans: wheat, rye, garlic, onion and inulin
Galactans: legumes, lentils and soybeans
Polyols: sweeteners including sorbitol, xylitol, mannitol, isomalt and stone fruits including avocados, apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches and plums
Excess alcohol and caffeine.
Processed foods and foods with additives.
Fermented products to avoid: Sauerkraut from common cabbage; cow’s milk yogurt and kefir; pickled onions and pickled mixed vegetables
Dr Axe goes on to share supplements and further advice to help manage and reduce symptoms of this exhausting health condition. You read more here. For those suffering from this health condition, assembling a team of health practitioners to support your recovery is key. Diet, lifestyle and mental health changes can help you reduce symptoms, and in some cases reverse this condition.
You don't have to suffer anymore. Get a proper diagnosis (and a second opinion or two) and work your GP and naturopath, counsellor and other practitioners to take back your life again! It is possible!