How many reports, articles etc. have you read, naming nutrition as a crucial way to manage fibromyalgia symptoms? Some even go further to say, nutrient deficient foods could be one of the combining factors that cause of fibromyalgia.
Why have none of my doctors ever asked about my diet?
It’s been five years since I was diagnosed in 2014. Several years prior to diagnosis I experienced random symptoms and no answers (If you live with fibro you know the story). To date, I have seen a rheumatologist, psychologist, physiotherapist, neurologist and a pain management consultant.
Surely, as food has the power to affect fibromyalgia symptoms either negatively or positively, shouldn’t nutrition be included in pain management? I was with the consultant for just over 10 minutes. He honed in on a couple of general fibro symptoms, wide spread pain and fatigue. We barely spoke about the symptoms I was experiencing and how I was managing day to day life. Last but not least, what medication I was taking.
I explained, when I was at my wits end and almost pulling my hair out, I took Sertraline. I woke every morning with dilated pupils…apparently a rare side effect, (the first morning this happened, I looked in the mirror and made myself jump…no comments needed here thank you 🙂 ) . I persisted to see if it would stop, but it didn’t. The next side affect was severe headaches. I did feel my mood slightly lift, but it didn’t feel real and I was taking more paracetamol to relieve the headaches. My pain levels were not touched by Sertraline and I spent more time managing the side effects. He told me, ‘this was perfectly normal’…What?
Next Gabapentin, I was off the face of the earth for most of the time and it didn’t help my pain levels, but according to him…’it was not problem’. Well for someone who works and looks after a house and 5 teenage boys, It’s is a very real problem!
Once I started talking about managing my symptoms naturally rather than dealing with fibro symptoms topped with side effects from medication, my appointment drew to a close. He advised me to start taking medication again and that was about it. But I’d waited years for this appointment and that was it? There was absolutely no mention of nutrition or lifestyle.
I will never forget this experience. I had struggled to get there as my mobility was at an all time low. I hobbled into his office, to find that he could not work with me as I was in too much pain. Verbatim, this is what he said;
‘Doctors are only sending fibromyalgia patients to physio because they do not know where else to send them.’
I almost burst into tears on the spot!
I have to say that this was a particularly bad experience and I have put in a complaint as the thought of other people going through the same experience is terrible. I have since seen a fantastic physiotherapist who has actually helped a lot. If you are not happy with the help you are receiving, please do speak up!
I know where else you can send fibromyalgia patients! Yes I am shouting…a bit!
Referral to a Nutritionist.
Now I know through experience, that you can be referred to a nutritionalist and there is one that attends my G.P.’s surgery on certain days of the week, so why isn’t this happening? Not only is nutrition the very essence of good health (that is greatly overlooked), nutrition is hugely beneficial for managing fibromyalgia symptoms such as inflammation, fibro fog, stomach issues, headaches, fatigue, depression and anxiety.
My question is, ‘Why is nutrition being completely ignored?’ If there are any medical doctors reading this…I would love an answer, please.
Surely, it would be more cost effective for the NHS to refer fibro patients to a nutritionist rather than prescribing expensive drugs that will only ‘Band Aid’ symptoms. I’ve a feeling it’s a little deeper than that…mentioning no names Big Pharma.
Is the system the same abroad? I’m not sure. If you are reading this from abroad, I would love to know if you have been referred to a nutritionist by your medical doctor…please do drop a comment below or get in touch.
For people totally drained by constant pain and fatigue, conventional medication appears to be a possible solution to help manage symptoms. But we are never pointed in any other direction, for example: A Closer Look at Diet & Lifestyle. Quite frankly, it’s as much as most of us can do to get through each day without doing lots of research on top. It really is time for change!
I grant you, there isn’t a specific ‘Fibromyalgia Diet’, as one food could sit absolutely fine with one person but could send another into a fibro flare. However, there are guidelines on certain types of foods that can help alleviate symptoms and those that can cause a flare.
Could Referral to a Nutritionist Help?
YES! A simple month food diary could be given to the patient to fill in then return. This would give a far clearer insight into the lifestyle of the patient, highlighting any nutritionally deficient food the patient was eating. Also, foods that can trigger a flare for the individual would be far clearer by adding a symptoms checker into the diary. Daily nutrition could be tweaked in order to fuel health rather than flares. This change in nutrition can change the quality of life each day!
Want to see how food is affecting your fibromyalgia symptoms? Click here to download your free Fibro Flair 21 Day Food Diary.
If you are taking medication to manage your fibromyalgia symptoms, looking into natural ways of managing your symptoms can only be beneficial. It’s about finding what’s right for you BUT I can safely say that it’s a holistic approach that has helped me to manage symptoms and drastically improve my quality of life without taking any medication.
Returning to a ‘Clean Diet’
Eating Healthy, Natural, Real food, you are fuelling good health and it’s not only for people with fibro…it’s for everyone!
I’ve heard people say (and thought myself), eating healthier is expensive and takes too much time, but I’ve found there are many meals that you can make that are very economical, easy and made in bulk. Plus remember that hunger pangs are often a sign that your body is not getting the nutrients it needs, so by eating foods containing more nutrients you will feel full for longer and generally eat less.
Don’t forget to grab your 3 week food diary, you’ll be amazed what a difference getting to know your diet and tweaking your nutrition will make.
Have a wonderful day x