What Cures Your Fibromyalgia?

Updated on October 21, 2010
S.H. asks from Stafford Springs, CT
14 answers

We just discovered that my husband suffers from Fibromyalgia. He has had it for years, but has never really complained about it because he just assumed it was a byproduct of his job which requires a lot of physical labor in an uncomfortable environment - he is a mechanic and works on concrete for much of the day. He had previously been diagnosed with irritable bladder and has been able to control that some of the time with diet - but finds that so many things irritate it (like caffeine and aspartame) that he finds himself stuck in a cycle of feeling exhausted and then using these irritants out of desperation to feel better while he is at work. We have just learned that irritable bladder (interstitial cystisis) is commonly found together with Fibromyalgia. When he is able to keep the irritable bladder symptoms under control, the Fibromyalgia symptoms also dissipate...however, along with the stress of a move to a new house and a sick mother, his symptoms are making him really uncomfortable right now and he could use your help.

He is currently increasing his magnesium, B, D and Omega 3 intake and is cutting out all soda due to the phosphorus present. Did you find that any consistent (or temporary) diet changes or lifestyle changes cure you of your Fibromyalgia? Have you discovered what is at the root of your symptoms?

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So What Happened?

Great News! After just 1.5 days of no wheat and dairy he feels considerably better. He noticed that only after eating a granola bar (that he didn't realize had wheat in it) and an apple that he was once again bloated and physically irritated...hmmm, now that is literally food for thought :).

Thank you all so much for your great advice - having a forum in which to ask these questions and to get such helpful responses is such a God-send. One of the respondents gave a convincing account of cutting out all dairy and wheat. I think we will informally give this a shot for a couple of weeks - and then maybe on to the local naturopath and then onto the doctor if he is still uncomfortable - poor guy :( . Thank you for your comments as to triggers, such as cold weather, stress, hormones and for your real-life accounts as to what has helped you or others, such as stretching, exercise, baths, medications, allergy and hormone testing. I definitely think that they are all pieces of the puzzle. Thank you.

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answers from Los Angeles on

You got a lot of good advice regarding medication and food and supplements but as for what to do when he works, have him get a thick blanket and have him lay on that when he works under cars. That will keep his back warm. Cold aggrivates the symptoms of Fibro. I have had it since 1993 and unfortunately mine went to Lupus. Also put him on an exercise program of stretching and light aerobics. That and all that has been mentioned should help.

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answers from Boise on

I think the root of the problem might lie in the endocrine system.

I have an ill daughter who has had worsening symptoms for the last 10 years, so I have been doing medical research for that long. Her biggest complaints were pains, like joints of hips, knees, lower back, neck, toes, fingers. But then pain moved into her muscles, particularly her upper legs, and even more prominently after excercise, and gets somewhat better with rest. But hse is veery tired and wiped out. It is like Chronic fatigue. Ive narrowed it down-(because she faints now) -that she has addison's disease. This is an adrenal gland issue where the gland doesn't put out enough hormones.

You might want to look up Cushings disease, Addisons disease, and hyperthyroid, hypothyroid.

The adrenal gland is a very important gland, it controls MANY, many body functions with several hormones- cortisol, aldosterone, and the sex hormones. Cortisol controls inflammation. So those who don't secrete enough cortisol will have pain and inflammation. Cortisol also signals the liver to release blood sugar- so many people with adrenal problems will face low blood sugar with not enough cortisol or high blood sugar/diabetes with too much cortisol. Cortisol controls the amount of water in the body and salt to water ratios , so if it is lacking low blood volume will show. Aldosterone is also from the gland and helps to balance sodium and potassium. Low aldosterone secretion will cause low sodium and usually higher potassium and this low sodium will cause low blood pressure. too much aldosterone will cause high sodium/low potassium and high blood pressure. Nausea can also be present due to low sodium or low potassium or low blood sugar. The kidneys are involved in the action by releasing Renin, depending on what is happening with the gland. It is a back up mechanism. so that is how kidney/bladder /IC problems can correlate with the adrenal gland issue.

Testing the adrenal gland can be done with:
*24 hour cortisol saliva testing - some labs will do this on a panel and will test cortisol, DHEA, and the sex hormones from one saliva sample. I would recommend that.
*ACTH test
*blood aldosterone levels

* and then I recommend a shilling test as well, to see if there are anemic issues due to vit b12 processing problems that are common with endocrine issues.

Also do a complete blood count. Low cortisol/aldosterone can show with high or high-normal calcium. I think in this case Magnesium would be a benefit. Vitamin D causes the gut to absorb higher levels of calcium, so I'm not sure vit D is needed for this kind of patient. Also know that Fish /cod oils have VERY high vit D content, so be careful. High blood calcium (hypercalcemia) is not good, it will dump the calcium into the soft tissues, kidney, bladder, heart, veins, etc. and calcify and harden them. I tend to find that a majority of people have vit D intakes that are too high. People who have had a thyroid removed would need vit D, but the way the public opinion has been swayed to dose out vit D to the general public and even healthy children is just wrong.
As far as the electrolytes, (sodium and potassium) a large percentage of patients with low cellular electrolytes will show fine serum levels on blood tests. Unfortunately doctors really RELY heavily on serum tests.To be quite honest serum tests really don't necessarily reflect the truth of what is happening in the body, especially if the disease is not very progressed. And adrenal disease can take 10-20 years to manefest. Most symptoms are slow in comming and adding up and so most people get vague diagnosis like Chronic fatigue, RA, Fibro, and others until the disease has progressed to a point where they end up in ER. Either that or the doctor puts them on so many other drugs for these other suspected syndromes that it masks the real problem and then creates new ones, making the diagnosis even more unlikely.

The adrenal gland feeds hormones to the thyroid gland. So alot of times the thyroid is treated because there will be thyroid symptoms. But they find that the patient doesnt get better, because the real issue was the adrenals.Unfortunately doctors will up the thyroid meds but the patient will seem to get worse. That is how you know it's adrenals. Thyroid meds push the adrenal gland to work harder, thus exhausting it even more.

Kidney disease can manefest with problems urinating, burning, frequency at night, midback pain, high blood pressure, swelling and puffy eyes, face, wrist ,stomach or ankles. when Kidneys get worse you might see darkened skin, numb/swelling in hands and feet, muscle cramps, itchy, tired, loss of concentration. To test the kidney they should do creatinine testing on the blood and calculate the GFR. (glomural filtration rate).

Iv'e had doctors tell me my daughter's condition was due to growing pains, constipation, leaky gut, and possible bad memories. They were convinced she had connective tissue disease, then RA, then Anklyosing Spondilitis, and LYME. None of these were correct, so don't trust that a diagnosis of Fibro is the cause. Seems fibro and CF are just basket syndromes they like to throw people into who have several system impairments. Many diagnosis' are simply expanations of the 'symptoms' rather than the expanation of the 'cause.'

Keep in mind HIGH potassium and LOW potassium both can cause muscle aches.
Email me if you have any questions
God bless,

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answers from Topeka on

As you can see from the responses that you have received, there is a MOUNTAIN of different theories as to what causes and helps alleviate fibromyalgia!! I work with a young woman ( in her mid 30's) who has been diagnosed with the disease and I can tell you that it is very much on cyclic, she has good days, not so good days and bad days. I think that diet has a lot to do with it, but your doctor is the one to help you decide what needs to be eliminated or reduced. My cowork has gotten a LOT of relief from Cymbalta, Lyrica didn't help her but it has helped a lot of other people. ( We work in a pharmacy so we see a lot of Fibromyalgia patients). One of our customers SWEARS she has gotten relief by cutting out all carbonated drinks....one swears by exercise. It is just such an individual disease that your husband is going to have to experiment and learn what helps and what makes the symptoms worse. I do know that my cowork has been told to increase her daily intake of Vitamin C to help...she thinks it has made things better for her.
Good luck to both of you

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answers from Hartford on

I see you are in central CT. I saw Dr. Nancy White in West Hartford ((she is a naturopath) and she tested me for food sensitivities. Seemed hokey to me at the time but I went along with the drastic diet change and my symptoms were cleared in two weeks....for me it was no dairy, no yeast, no sugar, no chicken, no apples, no peanut butter, no white flour. It was hard and I stuck to it for 6 months. Now I eat a normal diet and my symptoms are at bay, except for the trigger points.
There is a clinic in Norwalk that is for fibromyalgia www.fibroandfatigue.com where my niece used to work.
I caution you to avoid traditional modern medicine-they really don't understand it and sometimes the prescriptions make it worse.

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answers from Boston on

You've received all kinds of advice about drugs drugs drugs. Your husband already has a lot of problems and he's taking this vitamin and that - given that he probably doesn't have a PhD in food science, he is doing what most of us do. He's taking isolated vitamins (B, D etc) and eliminating isolated other minerals (phosphorus) and guess what, he's not better!

He needs a balanced comprehensive whole food supplement in liquid form, from a patented source (effective, safe & unique). He needs to stop putting pills into his body - he's already got problems. Pills are not dissolved and he is wasting his money only absorbing 1/4 of their nutrients, plus the pills can just, frankly, make a hole in his stomach. He can take pain pills and antidepressants, as others have recommended - but how in the world do those get rid of fibromyalgia? They just treat the symptom, at best - they don't get rid of the problem.

I am a nutritional consultant and help people for free - this will take more than an email response but I have helped MANY people get rid of their fibromyalgia and their bladder problems. Email me and we can talk. My husband also has bladder problems and is much relieved, if your husband wants to talk "man to man."

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answers from Detroit on

Stress is 100% of our nations health problem. You are doing great things by eliminating caffeeine and aspartame and soda.

Taking whole food vitamins is also good. You didn't mention the brand so my hope is that they are whole food supplements.

There are supplements that help with the pain. If you would like more information, email me.

God bless you and your husband.

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answers from Philadelphia on

I have three words for you....

Please, I urge you to look it up, research it and decide if you think it is the best course of action for your husband. I've been taking it for over a year now for my Multipule Sclerosis and it has changed my life completely. No more exacerbations, lesions or flare-ups. NO SIDE EFFECTS. The cost is about $35.00 monthly and I tell you, what LDN has done for me is priceless. The cost of the MS drugs were over $10,000.00 a year, so the $35.00 monthly is miniscule by comparison. Please message me if you have any questions you'd like to ask. I advocate for this drug because it has changed my life completely. There is a webpage called LDN, google it and Fibromyalgia is one of the listed illnesses LDN treats.
God Bless!

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answers from Springfield on

I do not dispute that your husband has very real, physical symptoms. I agree with those who recommend reducing stress, taking whole food supplements, and looking at diet sensitivities. I also recommend looking at the root cause of stress...I learned a lot by reading a book by (John?) Sarno, called Healing Back Pain. It basically advised to deeply examine the emotional/psychological sources of stress and how that stress might be creating a physical condition. He talks about fibromyalgia in the book also. He has seen thousands of patients. It is a fascinating, easy read. It also mentions that irritable bowel syndrome is a symptom of unexamined/unacknowledged emotional/psychological stress, so maybe the irritable bladder is similar. I recommend this book because you say your husband is a hard-worker who takes on pain without complaint. He sounds like a textbook example of the personality type that ends up having these types of diseases. The good news is that those who are willing to take on a short daily personal regimen of examining what is REALLY bothering them (and acknowledging pent-up anger and other strong emotions) find tremendous relief. I wish you and your husband all the best. I have found a great deal of freedom from my pain after reading this book. And when my body sends me "signals," I look at family or work issues that are bothering me and find that once I tend to these things and acknowledge them, the pain departs fairly quickly.

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answers from Kokomo on

There is no cure for it unfortunately. However I hope having the knowledge of where is pain and any other problems that has come with it has given him some relief. I have suffered from fibromyalgia for nearly as long as I can remember. It is so hard to deal with something so difficult in every possible way and not have understanding or support from people in your lives because there is no decernable reason behind it.
The changes and increase in vitamins will help. I have tried lyrica and cymbalta and could not tough them out long enough to see and major results. I tend to get an increase in migraines from most medications I take. However I know they have helped many other people who haveno tgotten intolerable side effects.
I mostly use ibuprofen and lots of baths. Which I know he is a guy and might not like them but they help so much when I have a flare up. I take my lap top in the bathroom to watch a show, keep adding hot water, and sit as long as I can and then go to bed.
I wish him luck and am glad he has someone as supportive as you to help him this.

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answers from St. Cloud on

Hi S.! My reply is short, but it REALLY worked for me. I went off grain and dairy for a couple of months (I mean absolutely no grain or dairy AT ALL) and my symptoms went away. It was temporary for me, but some people need to cut foods out of their diet permanently.

My heart goes out to your husband! Pain in itself is stressful, let alone the other stressors of moving and a sick mom.

I hope you can find a solution soon!

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answers from Atlanta on

I have 3 family members with fibromyalgia and taking cymbalta has done wonders for all of them.

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answers from Philadelphia on

I heard that lyrica is good for the fibomyalgia. I know that your diet is a way to help control the symptoms. I would go to someone who deals in holistic medicine if that is the route you prefer and see what they say. It is good to know the triggers. I hope he feels better soon.

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answers from Boston on

I sympathize with your husband, being diagnosed with fibromyalgia at the age of 19, 15 years ago. While nothing officially "cures" fibromyalgia, cutting out/limiting wheat, dairy & sugar can help significantly along with daily exercise. Along with these suggestion, acupuncture has worked wonders for me to help with the pain, sleep & stress reduction. I highly recommend the book "Curing Fibromyalgia Naturally with Chinese Medicine" by Bob Flaws, as an acupuncturist myself specializing in fibromyalgia and a fibromyalgia patient myself I know it works. The best thing about acupuncture is that its drug-free & doesn't put you in a haze like some of the medications typically prescribed to fibro patients. Best of luck!

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answers from Boston on

I have a close friend who suffers from fibromyalgia, and she credits acupuncture with giving her her life back.

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