The Eclectic Physician
Natural Health Care
by Beth Burch N.D.
Fibromyalgia is a complex condition. It appears to be a systemic nervous
system and endocrine (adrenal, pituitary, hypothalamus) system disruption.
It is accompanied by an abnormal sleep pattern, in which the normal deep
restorative sleep is disrupted. The underlying cause isnít known nor do
we even know which came first, the disrupted sleep or the endocrine imbalance.
Studies with people who have normal sleep patterns, but are subjected to
several days of disrupted deep sleep will exhibit similar body pain to
Getting restorative sleep is important, because lack of sleep will definitely
make the fibromyalgia worse. (see insomnia)
Low dose tricyclic antidepressants seem to work well for some people. Another
possibility is 5-hydroxytryptophan. It has been studied with fibromyalgia
and found to be helpful. It is a prescription medication obtainable from
a compounding pharmacist. A number of things will help promote more restful
sleep. Be sure you have a comfortable bed and supportive pillow. Your bedroom
should be completely dark and as free of noise as possible. A white noise
generator, a water fountain or tapes of nature, ocean, rain sounds may
help to cover noise. Or you can try ear plugs. Light weight covers or something
to keep heavy covers off of your feet will help alleviate discomfort along
with pillows under your knees if you sleep on your back or under your upper
leg if you sleep on your side. Going to bed and getting up at the same
time will assist your body in establishing normal rhy thms. Avoid the TV,
computer and bright lights for the hour before you go to sleep.
Massage is very helpful for pain. Find a good therapist and schedule
a series of regular treatments to get the most benefit. Acupuncture is
also good for treating pain. Again you need a series of treatments.
Besides eating a healthy diet, you should take a high potency vitamin-mineral
supplement and also take extra magnesium
as the citrate or malate form. High magnesium
foods include beans, soy, seeds, nuts, whole grains and green leafy vegetables.
5-hydroxy-tryptophan can help with sleep.
St. Johnís Wort- helps to
increase serotonin levels which increases pain tolerance and improves sleep.
May take 4-6 weeks to get maximum benefit.
Liquid extract-1/2 teaspoon one-three times a day.
Dry herb in capsules-500 mg one- three times a day.
Standardized extract (0.3% hypericin content)- 300 mg one- three times
Other herbs- Panax ginseng,
* The information presented in this web site is intended to inform and educate.
It is not intended replace a qualified medical practitioner to diagnose or treat medical conditions.