There is still plenty of room, though, to include alternative therapies. In my practice, I have a number of patients who have added these other treatments to the triad above and achieved success.
Among the most common are :
As part of your daily yoga routine, be sure to include poses that stretch and strengthen your joints, muscles and nerves.
These include the knee squeeze, spine twist, easy bridge and cobra. These will help reduce the pain of muscle spasms by keeping you more flexible. Caution: only do these if it doesn't hurt and only do these under the supervision of a qualified yoga instructor.
There is a direct connection between breathing and stress. When you're feeling stress, your muscles tighten, and your breath becomes shallow and faster. Some evidence indicates that rapid shallow breathing can aggravate fibromyalgia-related pain. Taking full, deep, slower breaths reverses the stress response and helps muscles to relax.
Sit up straight, loosen your clothes if necessary, and exhale fully, emptying your lungs. Then, inhale, filling your abdomen with air, expanding it like a balloon. Focus on your breathing and relax. Do this for a few minutes whenever you feel muscle tension beginning to build.
Acupressure and acupuncture
If you have specific tender points that are particularly painful, you can use acupressure techniques to relieve the pain. Find the spot with your fingertips and press, gradually increasing the pressure. The spot may initially feel sore, but within a few seconds, the pain should start to ease, and you will feel the muscle relax. For hard-to-reach places on your back, you can lie down and roll your back on a tennis ball. Acupuncture can also relieve the pain of fibromyalgia in some cases due to endorphin release.
Chiropractic is one of the most often used types of alternative therapy, especially for chronic pain illnesses, such as fibromyalgia. Chiropractors have been shown to successfully treat several conditions, including fibromyalgia, by manipulating joints with stretches and adjustments. A recent study showed that following four weeks of treatment, 21 patients with fibromyalgia improved compared with control subjects receiving medication alone. Chiropractic care often incorporates many different types of treatments including massage, electro-stimulation, exercise, lifestyle changes, and nutrition. Chiropractors can also provide you with worthwhile advice on improved ergonomics and biomechanical imbalance.
Most massage therapists practice purely manual techniques. However, some also provide heat and cold therapies to stimulate blood flow and ease tired muscles. The various types of massage include: Shiatsu, deep connective tissue, Swedish and myofascial release.
The theory behind the effectiveness of massage therapy is that it increases blood circulation to the muscles. This helps to flush out any toxins that may have accumulated in the muscles while at the same time increasing the flow of nutrients to the muscles. This relaxes sore muscles. As a result, there is reduction of pain. Massage therapy may also increase production of your body’s natural painkillers (endorphins). Myofascial release technique is utilized specifically to relieve muscle tightness. When done properly, myofascial release can help "lengthen" connective tissue. Some people report that this offers them long-term relief.