Natural health: Fibromyalgia and foot blisters

Megan Sheppard answers your questions on how to deal with fibromyalgia and foot blisters naturally.

Q. My mother suffers from fibromyalgia. She is miserable with the pain and is exhausted all of the time. 

She is on medication to help her sleep, and anti-inflammatories for the pain.

Her doctor has suggested she should consider taking anti-depressants as well. I don’t think any of these are actually helping.

Please, could you let me know if there is anything that might help her get through it?

A. The term fibromyalgia literally means pain in the fibrous tissues of the body (muscles, ligaments, and tendons). 

Typically it’s experienced as a severe ache and stiff sensation in the muscles that can be shooting, throbbing, burning, or sharp. 

It can come on suddenly, or develop gradually, but there are 18 key pain sites from the base of the skull down to the knees linked to fibromyalgia. 

Extreme tenderness at 11 or more of these points persisting for at least three months is usually enough for a clear diagnosis since x-rays and blood tests usually show up as being normal. 

Some researchers believe there may be a link between chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia, but in any case, ongoing fatigue is certainly a problem for sufferers. 

The pain makes it difficult to get any quality sleep, which further contributes to the cycle of pain, fatigue, and depression.

Interestingly, a lack of serotonin is common in people with fibromyalgia. 

Whether or not this produces the pain or interferes with the transmission of pain messages from the body to the brain is not fully understood, but a lack of serotonin is well documented in depression and insomnia.

Stress, trauma, anxiety, allergies, hormonal fluctuations, infection, weather change, and fever are all triggers for symptom flare-ups. 

It used to be thought that a bacterial or viral infection was actually the root cause for developing fibromyalgia in the first place, and while this hasn’t been ruled out completely, it has yet to be proven conclusively.

Acupuncture has shown some promising results in treating the pain. 

While it is not a cure, it can be a useful adjunct to medications or other treatments. 

Topically, a cayenne heat balm can help to relieve pain and improve circulation to the affected areas. The best product I have come across is Dr Christopher’s Cayenne Heat Balm.

Magnesium and malic acid have been shown to help both with muscle relaxation and energy levels. 

Many sufferers are actually deficient in magnesium while the malic acid helps with absorption as well as fighting fatigue. 

Your mother should consider taking 200mg of magnesium and 600mg of malic acid, twice daily.

Reducing pain levels, relaxing the muscles and nerves, and alleviating the fatigue should all go a long way towards helping with sleep and depression issues and reduce the need for medications that can have unwanted side-effects.

Q. I am breaking in a new pair of shoes and have terrible blisters on my feet. Is there something to help the blisters to heal more rapidly?

A. This is a great question and a very common problem for people of all ages and footwear preferences. 

First of all — it is best to keep the blister intact if possible. Sometimes the blister breaks open when it rubs against the sock or shoe, in which case you need to be careful to prevent infection.

Give your feet a brief soak in warm chamomile tea to which you have added a couple of drops of lavender and tea tree essential oils, then gently pat them dry. 

If you can find a balm or cream containing comfrey and chamomile (you might need to buy a small pot of each and combine the two), then apply this to the affected area(s) and cover with a piece of sterile gauze.

The chamomile has wound-healing properties along with being anti-inflammatory and antiseptic while lavender and tea tree essential oils both help to speed the healing process and stave off infection. 

Comfrey works by stimulating cell proliferation, which simply makes your healthy new skin grow faster. 

Calendula is soothing, antiseptic, and healing for open or closed injuries.


Lifestyle

THE number of children with mental health issues presenting to the paediatric emergency department in Temple Street has increased dramatically, according to a study by Dr Eoin Fitzgerald.Learning Points: Light at the end of the tunnel for mental health?

Cooking in the MasterChef kitchen is just as scary as you’d imagine, writes Georgia Humphreys.Sweet 16 as Masterchef returns

Martin Hayes doesn’t like to stand still. The fiddle virtuoso from East Clare has made it a hallmark of his career to seek out creative ideas from beyond his musical tradition.Martin Hayes: Breaking new ground

At this point, if we are talking about a collective consciousness and how to move forward, lets go back to basics and talk about what we teach our children and what we were taught ourselves, writes Alison Curtis.Mum's the Word: Children remind us, in a world where we can be anything, be kind

More From The Irish Examiner