The most distinctive feature of FMS, one that differentiates it from similar conditions, is the existence of certain tender spots – eighteen specific spots where the muscles are abnormally tender to the touch. These points tend to cluster around the neck, shoulders, chest, knees, elbows region, and hips, and include the following:
- Around the lower vertebra of the neck
- At the insertion of the second rib
- Around the upper part of the thigh bone
- In the middle of the knee joint
- In muscles connected to the base of the skull
- In muscles of the neck and upper back
- In muscles of the mid back
- On the side of the elbow
- In the upper and outer muscles of the buttocks
- Chemical and/or food allergies
- Dizziness and loss of balance
- Extreme fatigue
- Irritable bowel syndrome (diarrhoea and/or constipation, often alternating)
- Jaw pain
- Memory loss and difficulty concentrating
- Menstrual pain
- Sensitivity to bright lights and loud noises
- Sensitivity to dairy products
- Skin sensitivities
- Stiffness in the morning and, often, when walking
Recommendations:Eat a well balanced diet of 50% raw foods and fresh ‘live’ juices. The diet should consist of mainly of vegetables, fruits, whole gains (primarily millet and brown rice), raw nuts and seeds, soy products, skinless turkey or chicken, and oily fish. These quality foods supply nutrients that renew energy and build immunity.
Include pomegranates and pomegranate juice (some commercial makes have high sugar!) in your diet. They have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Eat four or five small meals daily to keep a study supply of protein and carbohydrates available for proper muscle function. If the body does not have enough fuel for energy, it will rob the muscles of essential nutrients, causing muscle wasting and pain.
Drink plenty of liquids to help flush out toxins. The best choices are bottled or filtered water and herbal teas. Fresh vegetable juices supply necessary vitamins and minerals.
Limit consumption of green peppers, aubergines, tomatoes and white potatoes (sweet potatoes are fine). These foods contain ‘solanine’ which interferes with the enzymes in the muscles, and may cause pain an discomfort.
Do not eat red meat, dairy products, or any other foods that are high in saturated fats. Saturated fats raise cholesterol levels and interfere with circulation, as well as promoting inflammation and increasing pain. Also avoid fried foods, processed foods, shellfish, dairy foods, and white flour products such as bread and pasta.
Do not consume any caffeine, alcohol, or sugar. Eating sugar in any form (including fructose and honey) promotes fatigue, increases pain, and disturbs sleep. If these substances have been a regular part of the diet, symptoms may actually get worse for a short period as a result of the ‘withdrawal’ effect, but after that, a noticeable improvement in the condition should be experienced.
Avoid wheat and brewer’s yeast until symptoms improve.
Maintain a programme of moderate exercise. A daily walk followed by some gentle stretching is good. Start slowly and be careful not to overdo it as this can aggravate symptoms. Keep in mind that what is needed is some amount of daily exercise not a strenuous workout two or three times a week. Once the body is accustomed to regular exercise, symptoms are likely to improve. Moderate exercise and stretching help to keep muscles flexible and prevent joints from stiffening up.
Be sure to give the body sufficient rest. Set aside at least eight hours for sleep each night.
Take a hot shower or bath on rising to stimulate circulation and help relieve morning stiffness. Or alternate between hot water and cold water – recent studies have shown cold showers to be beneficial for relieving the pain of fibromyalgia. Hot baths help relax the muscles.
Consider trying massage therapy, which can help to relax muscles and reduce joint stiffness.
Supplements to consider:Acidophilus – candida infection is common in people with FMS. Acidophilus probiotics replace ‘friendly’ bacteria destroyed by candida (use a non-dairy formula)
Co-enzyme Q10 (75mg daily) – improves oxygenation of tissues, enhances the effectiveness of the immune system, and protects the heart. Co-enzyme-A works the co-enzyme Q10 to increase energy supply to the cells.
Malic acid and magnesium – involved in energy production in many cells of the body, including muscle cells, needed for sugar metabolism.
Manganese (5mg daily – take separately from calcium) – influences the metabolic rate by its involvement in the pituitary/hypothalamic/thyroid axis.
Vitamin C (5-10g daily) – has a powerful anti-viral effect and increases the body’s energy level. Use a buffered form.
Antioxidant complex (with 25,000iu of vitamin A) – powerful free radical scavenger that protects the body’s cells and enhances immune function. Use an emulsified form for easier assimilation.
5HTP (5-hydroxy triptophan – 50mg daily for 1 week then increase to 100mg daily) – enhances synthesis of serotonin in the brain. Excellent for pain relief. (Caution: do not use if you take an MAO inhibitor, commonly prescribed for depression).
Garlic (2 capsules 3 times daily) – promotes immune function and increases energy. Also destroys common parasites, improves digestion and cleanses the blood.
Digestive enzymes – reduces inflammation and improves absorption of foods, especially protein, which is needed for tissue repair.
Multi vitamin and mineral with good levels of B vitamins – all nutrients are necessary in balance.
Chromium (200-400mcg daily) – to help balance blood sugar levels and aid in preventing night sweats.
Essential fatty acids (1g 3 times daily) – protects against cell damage, helps to reduce pain and inflammation, helps to reduce fatigue.
Astralagus and Echinacea enhance immune function.
Milk thistle protects and enhances liver function.
Gingko biloba improves circulation and brain function.
Teas brewed from burdock root, dandelion, and red clover promote healing by cleansing the bloodstream and enhancing immune function. Combine or alternate these herbal teas and drink 4 to 6 cups daily.