Fibromyalgia has a reputation for being a difficult disease to treat. Its symptoms are far-reaching and diffuse. But the one thing every patient seems to mention is fatigue. This is not the sort of tiredness you feel after a long day or a sleepless night—it’s the kind of fatigue fibromyalgia patients say they can feel in the very core of their being. It doesn’t go away with rest or relaxation or by drinking five cups of coffee in a row. It is just there, blanketing every task they try to do.
For this reason, fibromyalgia can be a hard disease to sell to medical professionals and friends alike. After all, many people will degrade the disease, and say it’s all about your attitude—that you’re feeling tired and fatigued because you’re not trying hard enough. Do some exercising, the thinking often goes.
Then there’s also the problem of diagnosing fatigue. There’s no blood test or urine test that determines its severity. You can’t really see any changes anywhere in the body. Blood sugar can be stable, the heart can be beating away in perfect regularity, and the lungs can be functioning normally.
However, fibromyalgia exists—patients have come forward and repeatedly (and courageously) explained their symptoms. So how is one to go about treating fibromyalgia? How do you get that horrible feeling of fatigue out of the body and resume a normal life?
Part of the answer lies with a very well-known mineral: magnesium. Scientists tell us that magnesium plays a big role in getting muscles to relax. When we don’t have enough magnesium, our bodies will borrow some from our muscles. This starts a chain reaction that can lead to a profound feeling of fatigue. As soon as muscles lose magnesium, calcium is sent to replace it. But calcium can make our muscles grow tense and cramped—an exhausting state for someone to be in.
MORE: Other things to know about healing fibromyalgia
Magnesium deficiency may be a good place to look when seeking a remedy for the fatigue associated with fibromyalgia. According to researchers in Korea, this link does exist. When they performed a hair mineral analysis on 44 patients with fibromyalgia, they found that they had significantly lower levels of magnesium than matched controls. These patients were also found to be deficient in calcium, copper, iron, and manganese. Another study had similar results: 32 patients with fibromyalgia were found to be deficient in both magnesium and zinc. There was a distinct relationship between low levels of zinc and pain symptoms and low levels of magnesium and fatigue.
Besides mineral supplementation, there are four complementary alternative therapies (CAM) that have shown positive results in the treatment of fibromyalgia symptoms: acupuncture, homoeopathy, hydrotherapy, and massage.
The key to managing and treating fibromyalgia involves using multiple therapies that reach different parts of the body. Combining CAM treatments could support and boost multiple bodily processes, coaxing energy levels to return to normal and eradicating fatigue.
Source(s) for Today’s Article:
Kim, Y.S., et al., “Women with fibromyalgia have lower levels of calcium, magnesium, iron and manganese in hair mineral analysis,” J Korean Med Sci. October 2011; 26(10): 1253-7.
Sendur, O.F., et al., “The relationship between serum trace element levels and clinical parameters in patients with fibromyalgia,” Rheumatol Int. September 2008; 28(11): 1117-21.
Terry, R., et al., “An overview of systematic reviews of complementary and alternative medicine for fibromyalgia,” Clin Rheumatol. January 2012; 31(1): 55-66.