Fibromyalgia is a complex disease that causes pain and tenderness all over the body. These symptoms which may also include fatigue, memory, mood, and sleep issues can come and go and move throughout the body. This condition is more common in women than in men. It has also been compared to arthritis. Both cause pain and fatigue but unlike arthritis, fibromyalgia is characterized by complex health issues which we will discuss in this article.
Despite being relatively common, fibromyalgia can be misunderstood if not properly diagnosed by a health professional. Further research is also still needed to fully understand the condition and help find a cure.
The disease affects people differently. Aside from its defining symptoms such as extensive muscle and joint pain, individuals with fibromyalgia may also experience the following:
- Cognitive or memory problems; also called “fibro fog”
- Extreme fatigue and exhaustion
- Mood swings
- Muscle spasms, twitches, and cramps
- Temperature sensitivity
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Tingling sensations in the hands and feet
- Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)
Although there is no known cause or cure for fibromyalgia, some medications and lifestyle changes may help relieve the symptoms. Studies show that most people see improvements after taking proper steps in managing stress, improving sleep, exercising, and eating healthy foods. Research also suggests that CBD may help manage some of the symptoms of fibromyalgia. So what does science say about fibromyalgia and CBD? Let us read to learn more.
Fibromyalgia and CBD
Some alternative treatments that focus on pain management may help shed a light on the treatment of fibromyalgia. One of these is the use of Cannabidiol or CBD. It is a compound found in the cannabis plant. Cannabis has been used historically to treat different pain conditions since ancient times.
CBD supports our body’s endocannabinoid system or ECS by interacting with its receptors. ECS helps control and balance many of our most critical body functions. Some of these are pain and temperature control, learning and memory, immunity, sleep, eating, emotion, and stress management.
Fibromyalgia and CBD: pain management
The ECS is comprised of cannabinoid receptors. One of these receptors, called the CB2 receptor, plays an important role in pain perception, reducing inflammation, and maintaining body temperature.
According to research, CBD helps these receptors carry out their functions effectively by regulating and supporting them. CBD also helps the body to produce its natural cannabinoids (endocannabinoids) that attach to these receptors. This may then result in reduced pain and inflammation.
Aside from its pain relieving properties, CBD helps ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and IBS. It may also improve sleep and mood.
Medication and self-care strategies
Treatments for fibromyalgia may differ but their main focus is to reduce its symptoms and improve general health. Some medications may include pain relievers, antidepressants, and anti-seizure drugs. Different types of therapies may also help to reduce the effect of fibromyalgia on the patient’s body and quality of life. Some therapies that your doctor may suggest to you are physical and occupational therapy or counseling.
Proper lifestyle choices may help manage symptoms and fibromyalgia flare-ups. The following are just some of the steps to take at home:
- Reduce your stress through different strategies such as meditation, yoga, massage, and constant communication with your family and friends.
- Fibromyalgia can make it hard for you to fall and stay asleep. So talk to your doctor about any sleep problems you have and the natural ways to treat them.
- Being physically active helps with pain management. Any activity, even walking and running can help relieve your symptoms.
- Avoid foods that make the symptoms worst. These include sugar, carbohydrates, processed foods, unhealthy fats, and alcohol.
- Adopt an anti-inflammatory diet by eating foods rich in antioxidants. These are plant-based foods such as fruit and vegetables.
Fibromyalgia is a long-term disease that does not just affect the individuals suffering from it but the people around them. So researchers are continuing to find a cure. CBD offers a lot of promise as one of the treatments for this condition. Studies show a direct link between fibromyalgia and CBD through the endocannabinoid system. Because of this connection and its health benefits, more and more clinical studies are being conducted to prove its effectiveness against fibromyalgia.