Fibromyalgia: Pain Syndrome Strikes Mostly Women

Fibromyalgia (<i>cont'd</i>)

Exercise is also critical to combating the symptoms of this condition. Paduano finds that water exercises are particularly helpful. She also believes that meditation has helped her to limit the medications that she would otherwise need to help manage her symptoms.

"The people who seem to do well are the ones who are open-minded and open to working with others in a multi-practice approach," Liller says. Such an approach may include one or more of the following: physical therapy, massage, chiropractic, osteopathy, aerobic exercise, biofeedback and other relaxation therapies, behavioral therapy, acupuncture and nutritional therapy.

In their "Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine," noted naturopaths Michael Murray and Joseph Pizzorno recommend that those with fibromyalgia take 100 mg of 5-Hydroxytryptophan (100 mg), St. John's Wort extract (300 mg, 0.3% hypericin content) and magnesium (150 to 250 mg) three times a day. 5-HTP is converted to serotonin. Low levels of serotonin levels are linked to depression and to fibromyalgia. St. John's Wort extract together with 5-HTP were shown to have "significantly better results" than either one alone, the authors said. Magnesium helps to boost energy.

But Goldenberg of the Arthritis Foundation says getting a correct diagnosis and information on the syndrome goes a long way to help sufferers manage fibromyalgia. He and others also stress the importance of finding a physician who is familiar with the syndrome — and to find one who will listen.