Fibromyalgia: Naturopathic Treatment Approaches


by Dr. Greg Eckel

Nature Cures Clinic physician

I have been researching fibromyalgia for the last 13 years.  My mother had it, and as any son would want to help his mother out, I really was looking for ways to decrease her pain.  I have come to understand fibromyalgia to be a very complex pattern for those suffering from it.  In assessing sleep, levels of toxicity, hormone balance and meningeal compression, we can arrive at a comprehensive treatment plan that has the best chance of relieving one’s pain and suffering.

Sleep and Fibromyalgia

Sleep is a huge component to correct, as it’s the time of rest and regeneration.  The body can heal itself and/or have some respite from the day.  I start here with patients.  Often times patients with fibromyalgia are on multiple pharmaceuticals for sleep and are still experiencing difficulty getting and staying asleep.  We will use Chinese herbs, magnesium and amino acid blend, just to name a few, to help correct the imbalances that have led to sleep issues.  This is step one in treating fibromyalgia.

Toxicity and Fibromyalgia

The body stores toxins in its fat.  Perhaps it’s a protective mechanism, to store these toxins out of circulation.  Through cleansing the connective tissue and the the liver we help clear these toxins out, which in turn helps tune down the nervous system and thus helps at relieving pain.  All of my patients are on a liver cleanse at least once a year.  Personally, I tend to do 2-3 cleanses a year.  We are all exposed to over 80,000 chemicals a week here in the US.  Most of those have never been tested as far as the safety of those chemicals in our bodies.

Stress, Hormones and Fibromyalgia

Stress has a huge impact on patients.  Stress flares symptoms for patients by increasing inflammation in the body.  Acupuncture treatments put patients into a parasympathetic (rest and regenerative state).  We also work on mental emotional states, deep breathing, meditation, and mindfulness techniques.  Diet can have a huge impact on stress as well.  All of my patients have a comprehensive diet analysis and meet with my holistic nutritionist.

When someone has been in a lot of pain over time, their hormones can become affected.  The pain triggers a stress response, which affects the adrenal gland (the major stress response hormones come from there), which can in turn affect thyroid function and estrogen, progesterone and testosterone.  This rarely gets addressed conventionally.  Through correcting hormone imbalances we have a better chance at correcting the imbalances that have led to the chronic pain pattern.

The Neurological Relief Technique

A new technique we have incorporated into treatment is the neurological relief technique (NRT).  This is a great technique when it works and through a free test we can see if it will work. If the result is positive, you know with greater certainty the technique will be beneficial.  There are multiple causes of meningeal compression — stress, trauma and environmental toxicity to name a few.  The meninges compress the nerves at the level of the foramen magnum (where the spinal cord enters the skull) causing pain on the nerves (hence the patterns of pain associated with fibromyalgia).  The NRT has been a great addition to how we treat patients with fibromyalgia.  This component is also why pain medications don’t correct any dysfunction in the body, as they don’t do anything for this component that a lot of patients have.

Of course there are some very specific nutrients we can use depending on what the root causes of the fibromyalgia are.  It is through the comprehensive evaluation — looking at all of these aspects of the patient — that we find good success at relieving pain and suffering.

If you know of anyone suffering with this condition, please have them call our clinic and ask for a complimentary consult with me. During the consult, we will go through the neurological relief technique test and see if we could help them.




Image courtesy Menage a Moi