As I discussed in the previous article (Understanding the 7 Types of Fibromyalgia Pain), pain is your body's way of saying that something needs attention. By giving your body what it needs, your pain usually decreases and often goes away.
I prefer to use a mix of natural and prescription therapies while going after the root causes of the pain, as this is most effective with the least side effects. While they may each be helpful, no single treatment is likely to give completely effective pain relief on its own, and they are best combined in an integrated program.
My free Energy Analysis Program can help analyze your symptoms and guide you and your physician on how to optimize your energy by utilizing the S.H.I.N.E.® protocol specifically tailored for your condition. This often addresses the root causes of the pain. While doing this, the treatments to be discussed in this article can be very helpful. They can all be combined together, along with pain medication. After the pain has decreased or resolved for three months, the doses of most natural and prescription pain treatments can be lowered or used intermittently as needed. Think of it like a fire. Once the fire is put out, you can put away the fire hose.
Curamin — a Pain Relief Miracle
For day-to-day pain, this herbal mix has been nothing short of remarkable. I've seen it eliminate pain in people where morphine wasn't helping. Although sometimes it begins to work very quickly, you should give it six weeks to see the full effect. I recommend one to two tablets three times a day depending on the severity of the pain.
Experience has shown that combining moderate doses of several synergistic remedies (which calm inflammation through multiple pathways, instead of basically poisoning a single pathway as occurs with most medications) is far more effective, and better tolerated, than pushing high doses of a single herb. Curamin takes advantage of this principle, and combines the special new highly absorbed forms of curcumin and boswellia to great benefit.
What Is in Curamin?
Curamin is formulated with 4 key ingredients.
The special highly absorbed form of curcumin is called BCM 95. Curcumin has been shown in many studies to regulate numerous transcription factors, cytokines, protein kinases, adhesion molecules, and other enzymes that have been linked to inflammation. Side benefits? Curcumin may also help prevent Alzheimer's, cancer, heart disease and diabetes. One of the wonderful things about herbals is that, as opposed to medications, we often see "side benefits" instead of the medication "side effects"!
2. Boswellia (a k a Frankincense)
This herb settles down several critical inflammatory pathways, including lipoxygenase (LOX) and elastase.
3. DLPA (Phenylalanine)
This amino acid is the key building block for the pain relieving neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine
This natural clot dissolver helps break down the wall of debris around the inflammation, allowing the herbal (and medication) relief to get where it is needed, while speeding healing.
When I first looked at this combination, I thought it would be an interesting, and possibly a helpful addition, based on the theory of how it would work. Sometimes though, medicine stumbles onto a mix that comes together to give incredibly powerful relief. Curamin was one of those magical moments.
Head-on studies of this curcumin and boswellia combination has shown it to be more effective for arthritis pain than Celebrex. Interestingly, the BCM 95 form of curcumin (CuraMed) was also more effective than antidepressants for depression in a head-on study. This is the only form of curcumin I would use, unless you are ready to take 7 to 250 tablets a day instead of just one.
End Pain is a mix of willow bark, boswellia, and cherry can have potent immune balancing properties. In head on studies against Motrin for severe chronic low back pain, the willow bark was twice as effective as ibuprofen. This can be especially helpful when there is an inflammatory component to your fibromyalgia. I recommend 1-2 tablets 3x a day (depending on the severity of the pain).
Nonprescription Topical Pain Creams
There are three main topical pain creams that I recommend:
1. Topical Comfrey (Called TraumaPlant)
Rub topical comfrey over painful areas 3x a day. Effects can be seen fairly quickly. Over 14 studies have shown this to be helpful for sprains, strains, bruises, cuts, burns, wounds, muscle soreness and joint pain. It reduces inflammation while speeding healing. In centuries past, it even used to be called "bone knit," as it helped to speed the healing of broken bones. I would use only the Traumaplant brand, as comfrey contains a mix of helpful and problematic compounds, and this one has removed the latter.
2. Mixtures of Salicylate and Menthol
Putting menthol on the skin occupies the nerves by sending a cooling sensation. This can create a "busy signal" on your nerves telephone lines, diminishing the pain signal. Try this over your temples on your forehead the next time you get a tension headache. Example brands include Icy Hot and Tiger Balm (has menthol and other herbals).
3. Histamine Creams
Such as Australian Dream Cream (can be found online).
In the next article on prescription medications, I will discuss compounded topical creams that can also be very helpful for pain. (When combining this with any of the above three, put the prescription one closest to the skin.)
Try these individually or combined to see which are most helpful.
Natural Remedies for Other Types of Pain
Natural remedies can also be helpful when tailored for a number of other types of pain.
For Prevention of Migraines
Magnesium is very important (200 mg a day). I would add vitamin B2 400 mg daily. If your migraines are predominately around your period or associated with taking estrogen, they can often be eliminated by adjusting estrogen dosing or adding an estrogen patch around your menses. Food allergies are also very important to consider in the prevention of migraines.
The most commonly implicated foods are wheat in 78% of patients, orange in 65%, eggs in 45%, tea and coffee in 40% each, chocolate and milk in 37% each, beef in 35% and corn, cane sugar, and yeast in 33% each. If you have severe and frequent migraines, it is worth exploring this. You may find that instead of avoiding these foods for the rest of your life, you can eliminate the sensitivities/allergies using an acupressure technique called NAET.
Butterbur can be helpful to prevent migraines (50 mg 3 times a day for 1 month and then twice a day). I recommend only Enzymatic Therapy or ITI brands (Petadolex), as others often have impurities and may not contain the amount of butterbur the label claims. This can be highly effective.
For Acute Migraines
Take 2 softgels of 50 mg butterbur (Petadolex) every 3 hours (up to 6 daily) for acute migraines.
Acetaminophen 500 mg, aspirin 500 mg, and caffeine 130 mg is more effective than Imitrex 50 mg in a head to head study, and much cheaper. Sold as Excedrin Migraine, I find that higher doses than the label recommendations are sometimes needed in those I treat.
Magnesium 1-2 grams intravenously over 15-30 minutes will knock out acute migraine attacks in 85% of the cases in placebo-controlled research. This can be helpful if you find yourself in the emergency room with an open-minded physician.
This can take 3 to 12 months to begin healing, and I use a mix of:
- Acetyl L-carnitine thousand milligrams twice a day
- Lipoic acid 300 mg twice a day
- Coenzyme Q10 200 mg daily
- Vitamin B12 (methylcobalamin 5000 µg sublingual daily) and pyridoxal five phosphate 50 mg a day (a special form of vitamin B6)
There are many many natural treatments that the scientific literature has shown to be helpful for pain relief. For more information I invite you to read my books, Pain Free 1-2-3 and The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution.
Our next article will be on pharmacologic pain relief.
It's time for you to get pain free now!
Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D. is one of the world's leading integrative medical authorities on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. He is the lead author of four research studies on their treatments, and has published numerous health & wellness books, including the bestseller on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome From Fatigued to Fantastic! and his newer The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution. Dr. Teitelbaum is one of the most frequently quoted fibromyalgia experts in the world and appears often as a guest on news and talk shows nationwide including Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, Oprah & Friends, CNN, and Fox News Health.