Chronic muscle pain accompanied by lack of sleep and a consequent feeling of constant tiredness is often a sign of stress. However, it may be indicative of another lesser known condition – fibromyalgia.
This is a syndrome that affects muscles as well the surrounding soft tissues and can be responsible for the unexplained feeling of muscle pain you experience for no specific reason.
Closely related to this is another disorder called chronic fatigue syndrome. Both fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome are highly debilitating because of the severe fatigue they cause and this can totally interfere with a person’s lifestyle.
What Causes Fibromyalgia
Experts are divided in their opinion of what causes this disease. While some say it is due to improper nerve signals that arise from chemical imbalance or because of hormonal disturbance, others say it is related to deep-seated trauma or stress; a few experts believe fibromyalgia to be an inherited problem that runs in families.
But most experts agree that emotional disturbances appear to trigger or aggravate the attacks of muscle pain.
Signs and Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
Many people observe that their symptoms tend to peak at particular times of the day such as early morning and evening. Some of the common symptoms of this condition include:
Chronic pain in the muscles or muscle spasm
Low energy levels and fatigue ranging from moderate to severe
Lack of refreshing sleep or insomnia
Stiffness after being in a single position for long
Chronic generalized aches all over or specific complaints such as headache or migraine
Fogginess of the mind, depression, problems with concentrating on simple mental tasks
Sensitivity to noise, bright light, cold weather and strong smells
Numbness or a tingling sensation in the legs, hands and face
Feeling of swelling in the hands and feet when none exists
Modern systems of medicine have no cure for this disease; the treatment therefore focusses only on managing the symptoms of pain and discomfort by the use of painkiller medication.
Doctors will also advise some form of exercise and a diet that helps overweight people lose weight to reduce the strain on the muscles. In most cases, people with fibromyalgia do not experience a complete recovery from the problem using the modern systems of medicine.
Ayurveda says that fibromyalgia is because of an improper functioning of the nerves that carry impulses to and from the muscles. The symptoms of this disorder are categorized under Vataja Jwara that is due to imbalance in Vata Dosha; when this advances, it begins to affect the deeper tissues and Ojas – the material power in the body that nourishes the higher consciousness, holding together the spirit, mind and body.
The nervous system is governed by the Vata dosha and therefore, an imbalance in this dosha is responsible for fibromyalgia. Therefore, treatment of this condition in Ayurveda depends on correcting this Vata imbalance by ridding the body of the toxins and impurities that have built up within the tissues.
Ayurvedic treatment uses a 3-pronged approach to cure this disease.
At first, the toxins that have accumulated are eliminated by a detoxification procedure called Panchakarma therapy.
Next, the body is urged towards a state of equilibrium by the use of certain herbs that alleviate the symptoms
Formulations made of rejuvenative drugs are used to strengthen Ojas or Immunity.
Ayurvedic Panchakarma therapies such as Pizichili and Shirodhara combine the effects of massage therapy with the medicinal effects of specially formulated oils and have been found highly effective in reducing the painful symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Besides this, regular massage therapy with medicated oils such as Mahanarayan Oil can help to relieve the stiffness and sore feeling in the muscles and the joints that is typical of fibromyalgia. This oil is specially prepared from herbs that increase blood circulation to the muscles and therefore, it exerts an analgesic effect.
Many neurological ailments have been found to respond well to a unique form of Ayurvedic therapy called Shasti Shali Pinda Swedana. The word “Shasti” refers to the rice that is made to grow in 60 days and swedana is therapy that induces perspiration.
Thus, this is a process in which the affected part is treated by applying medicated boluses made by combining rice with different medicinal herbs tied in a cloth bag; when this method is used, it induces perspiration that helps to rid the body of toxins.
Herbs that help to detoxify the body, eliminate vata dosha and remove excess of pitta are said to be good for fibromyalgia. One can get all the below mention Ayurvedic Herbs in the Veggie Capsule from "Pure Herbal Ayurved Clinic", one of the best ayurvedic Clinic in Melbourne, Australia. Amla (Emblica officinalis) is a classic example of such a drug and it is a part of formulations such as Chyavanprash and Triphala that your Ayurvedic physician may recommend.
Is well known for being the richest natural source of vitamin C; however, it also contains other ingredients – tannins such as gallic acid and ellagic acid and phyllanemblin and flavonoids.
Amla has the unique property among Ayurvedic herbs of being able to balance all the three Doshas and therefore, it is an important drug in the treatment of debilitating disorders such as fibromyalgia.
Other herbs that help with fibromyalgia include turmeric (Curcuma longa), garlic (Allium sativum), guggul (Commiphora mukul) and ginger (Zingiber officinale).
Contains curcumin that has been shown to possess anti-inflammatory and antioxidant action and this makes it a powerful remedy against the pain and fatigue of fibromyalgia.
Helps to detoxify the body of the toxins that have accumulated and led to the symptoms of this condition. Besides, it also strengthens the immune system and therefore, has rejuvenative properties.
Contain volatile oil that are made up of phytoconstituents with a marked anti-inflammatory and analgesic property.
1. Aswagandharishtam - Herbal tonic
2. Balarishtam - Herbal tonic
3. Dasmoolarishtam - Herbal tonic
4. Bala Thailam - Herbal oil
5. Balaswagandhadhi Thailam - Herbal oil
6. Dhanwantharam Thailam - Herbal oil
7. Ksheerabala Thailam- Herbal oil
8. Mahamasha Thailam - Herbal oil
9. Murivenna oil
10. Narayana Thailam - Herbal oil
11. Sahacharadi thailam - Herbal oil
12. Dhanwantharam 101 Capsule
13. Ksheerabala 101 Capsule
14. Aswagandhadi lehyam - Herbal jam
15. Rasana erandadi Kashayam tablet
16. Rasana saptakam kashayam tablet
People with this chronic disease have to battle a lot of pain and tension in different parts of the body. Certain yogasanas (yoga postures) can help to keep the muscles supple and reduce the pain and tension.
For example, Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose) helps to keep the spine strong and free from pain. Garudasana (Eagle Pose) helps to stretch the muscles in the upper back and Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose) serves to open the chest and extend the back. Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend) helps to keep anxiety in check.
In Ayurveda, the food we consume is considered as playing an important role in maintaining the balance of the 3 Doshas. Therefore, when treating fibromyalgia, the physician also gives advice about the types of food to be eaten and those to be avoided. Here are a few guidelines about what to eat:
Beetroot, cucumber and carrot juice
Spices such as ginger, coriander, cumin and asafetida
Coconut milk and coconut water
Green salads with salt and lemon juice dressing
Foods to be avoided in chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia include:
Fried, spicy and hot foods
Vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, brinjal, okra, spinach and potato
Yogurt, cocoa, chocolate
Excess of beverages such as coffee, tea and alcohol
Lifestyle to Alleviate Fibromyalgia
The symptoms of fibromyalgia get aggravated at times when people are under stress. Therefore, learning to keep calm is an important part of the treatment of this condition. Avoiding mental tension and setting up a regular sleeping pattern without sleeping during the day are important measures that can help better recovery from fibromyalgia.
Practices such as pranayama, yoga and meditation can help to deal with the symptoms of fibromyalgia. These practices also help to calm the mind, relieve anxiety and prevent mental fatigue.
While this is a general explanation of fibromyalgia and its treatment as per Ayurvedic concepts, the fact remains that Ayurveda provides a treatment method that is tailored to an individual’s specific constitution.
Depending on the specific symptoms of fibromyalgia that you experience and your body type, an Ayurvedic physician will be able to get an idea of the root cause of your problem. Using this information, he or she will then design a therapy protocol that is tailor-made to suit your particular constitution to help you get relief from the pain and discomfort of fibromyalgia.
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