While no one has developed a clear understanding of what fibromyalgia is, there have been some discoveries that link it to other conditions. Hyperalgesia, paresthesia, and allodynia are the three main types of pain associated with fibromyalgia, and they can be found in other medical conditions, too. Because of these similarities, the disease often responds to treatments used to combat these other ailments. This includes the use of nutrients and even herbal medications. By examining how various treatments help reduce the pain, researchers are able to gain insights into what causes fibromyalgia.
Both paresthesia and allodynia are also associated with neuropathy and migraine headaches. Paresthesia, which can be either painful or simply a tingling sensation, also occurs with multiple sclerosis. Some scientists have noted that fibromyalgia often occurs along with an autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. Multiple sclerosis is also in this category, and the immune system plays a role in fibromyalgia. In fact, it has been observed that the immediate pain from the disease is produced by an over-abundance of cytokines meant to fight infections of the nervous system. When using a nutritional approach to treating the disease, both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agents have been used.
In the anti-inflammatory group, omega-3 fatty acids are used as an over-the-counter supplement that can directly reduce the pain at the nerve endings. Likewise, capsaicin, as an ointment, produces the same results. Herbal medicines also help to lower both the typical pain of this ailment and the unpleasant sensations of paresthesia. Tumeric, bromelain, and cat's claw are the most popular means of lowering the inflammation. There can be some problems with them altering the effectiveness of other medicines used against fibromyalgia.
The use of antioxidants has also proven effective against pain. The speculation is that these chemicals eliminate free radicals that could be triggering the production of cytokines. Increasing the levels of these agents can be as simple as eating more foods like blueberries, strawberries, kale, or bell peppers. There are also a wide variety of supplements that provide a good mix of different antioxidants. Alpha-lipoic acid and coenzyme q-10 have been shown to be particularly effective. Minerals like magnesium, calcium, zinc, and selenium also have antioxidant qualities. In addition, vitamins C, D, E, and the B series are useful for reducing free radicals. Vitamin B-12 has also been used separately for controlling paresthesia discomfort.
Among other illnesses associated with fibromyalgia, depression and anxiety show a link. In exploring the connection, researchers have found that part of the disease's pain could stem from low serotonin levels that lead to heightened pain awareness. This has led many physicians to prescribe anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs to patients. While the choice is more limited among supplements, SAMe and rhodiola rosea have been shown to counteract depression. In the process, fibromyalgia sufferers experience less pain sensation.