Fibromyalgia causes diffuse aching muscle pain throughout your body. The pain often moves from one site to another, often made worse but certain stressors – like changes in the weather.
My patients often complain of aching pain in their low back. This pain may or may not be from fibromyalgia. Unfortunately, once you get the diagnosis of fibromyalgia most doctors dismiss all your symptoms as being “due to your fibromyalgia.”
This may or may not be the case. Several common conditions can trigger low back pain including osteoarthritis (wear and tear), sacroiliac dysfunction, spinal defects (spondylolithesis), and herniated disc are just a few. All can be found by doing a low back, lumbar x-ray. Endometriosis is another common, though often times missed, reason for chronic low back pain.
Endometriosis is a condition where the tissue lining in the uterus spreads and grows outside the uterus. Symptoms of endometriosis are not always apparent and can go undetected for long periods of time.
Symptoms often present themselves in the form of:
- Very painful menstrual cramps; pain may get worse over time
- Chronic pain in the lower back and pelvis
- Pain during or after sex
- Intestinal pain
- Painful bowel movements or painful urination during menstrual periods
- Spotting or bleeding between menstrual periods
- Infertility or not being able to get pregnant
- Diarrhea, constipation, bloating, or nausea, especially during menstrual periods
Although conventional treatment includes surgery and the use of hormones, there are effective natural alternatives, which include diet, herbs, and nutrient supplementation.
When a woman has endometriosis the lining of the uterus that should have been eliminated during menstruation instead migrates and attaches itself to other parts of the body outside the uterus. These parts can be varied, including other organs of the body. It can entwine itself around the ovaries, fallopian tubes, bladder and intestines and in some cases can travel to distant areas such as the lungs.
Research now shows that antioxidants, including vitamin E and C, help reduce pain associated with endometriosis. Women in the study reported a 43% reduction in symptoms compared to placebo.
Endometriosis is often the result of too much estrogen circulating in the body. This is known as estrogen dominance.
Excess estrogen can lead to changes in the lining of the uterus.
Nutrients that help in the balancing and metabolic process of estrogen are found in foods such as Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, and bok choy.
Additional beneficial foods and herbs include:
* Flavones, celery and parsley of which are an excellent source.
* Flaxseeds, which are high in lignins and fiber.
* Chaste-tree berry.
Progesterone cream may relieve the pain experienced during menstrual periods and it is thought to slow the growth of abnormal tissue. For my patients I recommend a trial of over the counter progesterone cream, a natural, non-synthetic, thus safe form of progesterone. You can call the clinic, 205-879-2383, to learn more about the natural progesterone cream I recommend for my patients with endometriosis symptoms, hot flashes, menopause, and peri-menopause symptoms.
Studies have indicated that Omega 3’s may be beneficial when addressing endometriosis. These can be found in fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, and anchovies. However, because of the dioxins and PCB’s that they contain, it may be preferable to take an Omega 3 supplement that contains a minimal amount of these environmental chemicals.
Chronic low back pain shouldn’t be swept under the “It’s your fibromyalgia” carpet. It, like all symptoms should be explored in order to find the causes of the pain and or other symptoms. Treating symptoms isn’t the best approach. Finding and fixing causes is always preferable to simply treating symptoms.
If you have symptoms similar to the ones associated with endometriosis, make sure you have your gynecologist do a thorough pelvic exam including an ultrasound to see if your low back pain is from fibro or something else.