A little stretching can go a long way.
While Big Pharma offers powerful, dangerous and largely ineffective drugs for the pain condition fibromyalgia, a new study finds the only prescription you might really need is a little yoga.
Pick your mantra, kill the pain.
OK, it's not quite that simple--but researchers have found that yoga can offer a 30 percent reduction in fibromyalgia pain. That's roughly in line with the "relief" offered by many drugs, and even better than some of them--with none of the risk.
In the new study, 53 women with an average age of 54 who had been battling the condition for at least a decade were assigned to either a yoga program, or put on a waiting list for a yoga program.
The course consisted of a weekly two-hour lesson, with participants given DVDs so they could practice at home. They were asked to do at least 20 minutes of yoga a day, five days a week, on their own.
And it really helped.
The researchers say 77.3 percent of the women were "at least a little better," versus 19.2 percent of the patients on the waiting list.
Even more significant, however, is that half the yoga students reported a 30 percent reduction in pain, and none of them worsened.
The only potential pitfall here is that some fibromyalgia sufferers experience so much pain they can barely move, much less perform pretzel-like yoga positions.
But if you want to give this a shot, don't get frustrated and don't give up--start with the simplest positions and stick to the ones you can handle. You may find that over time, as your pain improves, your body will be able to do more.
And if you can't afford yoga lessons in a studio, try your local senior center--many offer free or heavily discounted classes. You could even buy or rent a yoga DVD, or borrow one from the local library.
While there's no single answer to fibromyalgia yet, it's becoming clear that steady movement such as yoga can play a huge role in improving the condition.
Other studies have found that everything from the gentle stretching exercises of tai chi to common activities like gardening can offer real and significant relief from the pain and improve mobility.
But some people need more than light exercise.
Many fibromyalgia patients have found relief with the hormone relaxin... while others have been successfully treated with the famous Myers Cocktail, a potent nutritional blend delivered intravenously.
The mainstream hasn't recognized it yet, but nutritional and hormonal deficiencies often play a major role in fibromyalgia, and a good naturopathic physician can find them--and fix them for good.