Fibromyalgia, associated with pain and tender muscles, is not an inflammatory disorder. This means that there is no muscle wasting or damage, but the muscles are stiff and patients often feel fatigued even when they wake up. As an Ayurveda doctor in my clinic in Chennai, I see this condition as a common complaint primarily in women. Yes, fibromyalgia mainly targets women and is chronic, which means that patients will have to adopt a smart lifestyle change and a healthy routine to overcome this condition. Let’s look at what fibromyalgia is all about.
More about fibromyalgia
This condition mainly involves the soft tissues of the body – which includes the muscles and ligaments. It also affects joints. This condition does not start at middle or old age, rather it is known to originate from the early stages of adulthood and even childhood. The characteristic muscular pain and stiffness, especially in specific locations of the back, and a fatigued feeling are characteristic pointers to fibromyalgia. This condition definitely needs attention since it invariably affects your ability to carry out your routine activities.
Why does fibromyalgia occur?
There is no clear reason why fibromyalgia occurs, but stress, sleep disturbances, and digestive imbalances are common causative factors. Genetics and poor lifestyle choices are also indicated as contributors. Ayurveda points to three main causes – vata imbalance, toxins or ama in the body, and stress.
Vata imbalance affects the nervous system, causing energy imbalances in the muscles and causing pain. The toxins are produced due to digestive imbalances and poor food habits. The accumulation of these toxins also leads to fibromyalgia. Allergies, infection, poor sleep habits, and stress also trigger fibromyalgia.
Symptoms of fibromyalgia
Chronic pain across specific parts of the body is a characteristic feature of fibromyalgia. Fatigue, muscle numbness and stiffness, sudden shifts in mood, and other psychological discomforts are additional symptoms. The affected muscles are extremely sensitive to pain.
Management of fibromyalgia
Ayurveda recommends a nature-friendly treatment approach – including detoxification, oil massage, and lifestyle corrections.
Based on the severity of the condition, patients will have to undergo a detoxification therapy, which is a combination of massage, heat therapy, and internal cleansing. Panchakarma treatment, which includes these treatments, as well as snehana, swedana, nasya, and other therapies, is the treatment of choice.
Herbal oil or moderately warm sesame oil followed by hot fomentation is the ideal choice for oil massages. This approach helps calm the nervous system, reducing fatigue and stress. Meanwhile the massage also improves circulation and stimulates detoxification. The herbal oils also calm any vata imbalance.
Internal medications with a healthy mix of herbs help in strengthening the digestive and nervous system and eliminating the toxins. Many formulations include ayurveda herbs like ashwagandha, shatavari, turmeric, ginger, triphala, licorice, etc.
A balanced diet is critical to manage fibromyalgia. Avoid vata-intensifying and toxin-generating food. The food patients ingest must be easily digestible and nutritious. For example, vegetables, coconut-based food, salads, ginger, and coriander are popular food sources. Avoid alcohol, coffee, and hot and spicy food, especially fried foods.
Lead a stress-free life, since this approach will minimize the chances of firomyalgia. Regularly practice stress and sleep management techniques such as yoga and meditation since they are effective.
One of the main points to note in the management of fibromyalgia is to avoid self-diagnosis and treatment. The symptoms of fibromyalgia overlap with those of many other related conditions. Hence take the guidance of a trusted Ayurveda doctor before you take any decision.