Paleo and Fibromyalgia?

by (980) Updated July 11, 2014 at 1:04 AM Created March 12, 2010 at 8:45 PM

Is there anyone lurking around here who has fibromyalgia? If yes, what are your symptoms? Is paleo helping you? Anyone else who has some info on fibromyalgia and paleo would be very welcome.

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21 Replies

135 · April 21, 2011 at 2:44 AM

Hi, I am a 26 year old female and began manifesting symptoms of Fibromyalgia at age 11 after an abdominal surgery. I went for years without diagnosis and finally at 19 found a doctor who diagnosed me, but gave me no hope for relief as no effective medication was available at the time.

My symptoms have been pressure point pain, IBS, knee, elbow, neck and back pain, with muscle aches and burning/tingling at various points all over my body, along with frequent fatigue and migraines. Each year had been getting progressively worse with a new section of my body seeming to ache more. The depression from being in constant pain was almost worse than the symptoms. I began taking 75 mg of Lyrica last year and viewed it as a miracle drug, since it was the first time I was out of pain in 15 years. However, some of the side effects were annoying (weight gain, dry mouth), the drug was very expensive, and I was building up a tolerance requiring a higher dose. I had began to fear the progression of my disease would leave me disabled and unable to function in the future.

I started Paleo a month ago and within the first 2 weeks my symptoms were improving. I took lyrica the first week, but have been feeling so good I haven't taken any in 3 weeks. My family and doctors can't believe the effect this diet has had on me. My Fibromyalgia is basically gone, my stomach pain, severe environmental allergies and persistent sinus infections are gone as well and I've lost 19 lbs. so far.

I'm not saying anyone else would have similar results with this diet, it could be my personal physiology or relative age, but I would encourage anyone with an inflammatory disease to try the diet for a month and see how you feel.

(P.S. I tried taking Lyrica one day last week just to see what it would do and the drug no longer seems to have an effect on my body which I really can't explain.)

50 · March 20, 2010 at 2:26 PM

Hi, I have severe Fibromyalgia, and my main symptoms are as well as severe pain all over, sevre fatigue, short term memory loss aka "brain fog", problems with sleep (either not enough or too much) severe pain all over my body, light sensitivety, hightened sensitivity to sound and smell (loud and busy areas give me bad headaches and some smells like eggs being cooked make me very nausious).

Some days are better than others and on those days I have to pace myself to try not over do it, as we tend to try an do all we can during a good spell, and that can bring on a flare up. During a flare up the pain is horrendous. Some areas of my body get as painful as 32x more pain than a normal person. My skin hurts to have clothes next to it at times as it feels like it's bruised. my memory becomes very bad and I have headaches, some can become migranes. I tire extremely easily and find the simplest of tasks difficult to do. I have all 18/18 painful pressure points and these areas are located at the main joints in the body, just lightly pressing on these points will be enough to send me up to the ceiling. I need help getting in and out of bed and to and from the toilet, getting in and out of the bath and about the house and aything else that needs the support of another person. on good days I can just about manage myself though somethings I still need a little help.

I was diagnosed by a senior Rheumatologist in 2007. I have tried numerous treatments and am currently trying an anti convulsant drug, which seems to be helping. My fibro was thought to have been triggered by an accident I had in 2000 when I fracture a vertebra. Before that accident I was extremely fit, loved cycling and riding my horse everyday as well as holding down a full time job as a bar/waitress in a busy hotel. If I could go back to that I would in a heartbeat.

Everyone I know who has fibro have been people who where hard working and certainly not "junkies attempting to get a fix" (if the guy that made this commet had it, he would be thinking differently). I do know that if myself and these other people had a choice between a life of fibro and a life free of fibro and were able to do the things we enjoyed - we would choose the firbo free life. I can guarantee that Fibro is a living hell. and the majority of people who have it are not lazy obese people lacking in will power... far from it... it takes a lot of will power to make it through each day let alone a flare up. Fibro is very debilitating and something I would not wish on anyone. Just count yourself very lucky if you don't have fibromyalgia.

I am currently looking in to trying new diets and have been trying a diet with my partner that works on similar principles, more meat, vegetables and fruit than carbs and fat. I also ride once a week with the RDA and some weeks I have to force myself to go simply because the pain is so bad. on these days I can't ride for long because of the pain and fatigue. My RDA group has given me a new lease of life and something to look forward to each week - whether I feel up to it or not. These sessions are as good as a session of Physio therapy and the support and help they give others is amazing. Simple being back around horses helps my depression - which is brought on by the fibro. I am trying to do as much as I am pysically able to improve my health and fight this awfyl disease. Fibro is now considered a disease by our government.

It takes a strong person to live with fibromyalgia, as we don't get a rest from it. I don't want to be sick, I would rather be a fit and healthy person enjoying life to the full. So before you go and make comments like that... think how it must feel to live with a chronic illness from day to day.

I also suggest that if you're the type of shallow, insensitive person who likes to go and write snide comments to rile and upset people in these forums, which are places where we look for help and even a possible relief.... maybe you should go and take up a new hobby, maybe squash to work off your frustrations.... don't take it out on people who are genuinely ill. That would make you a sick, bitter and twisted person who needs help.

If you are a person who is geneinly interested in how this diet may help me and my fibro then post away and I will try and give you updates as when I can. I also apologise for any spelling mistakes... I'm not having a good time at the moment.

4813 · March 14, 2010 at 5:00 PM

I have fibro, and I've been eating low-carb (paleo more or less) for about ... two months? I have much more energy, my constant fatigue got much, much better. I have no knee-joint pains as I used to have and much less general pain in legs. I still have tender points to touch - but my body aches less "by it self".

My diet is almost completely gluten free now. I eat a lot of protein, and try to have enough fat. My carbs are about 6-12%.

4813 · September 12, 2010 at 9:45 PM

I would like to renew the thread, as I think it's easier than starting a new one.

Now, a few months later, I am still much better - it seems like the change in diet helped in lifting the chronic muscle pain, the spells of bruised-like feeling all over the body that kept for three days or so. I do not have joint pain as much as I used to, and I can exercise without the typical pain. I still have some stiffness in joints (mostly hands) and tenderness to touch, over-reacting to poking/touching/hitting etc., but at least the muscles don't hurt "of their own" as much. I also have much more energy, I used to become a vegetable after work, not being able to do anything. Now I actually want to do things, have energy to cook, exercise, clean the house... Not non stop, I have worse days, but in general the difference is amazing.

But what i still struggle with is proper sleep. It's still very uneven, with often waking up during the night, troubles with falling asleep even if being tired, and waking up after 7-9h still tired and not rested.

Anyone had a luck with fixing that? Maybe eliminating something from the diet (in addition to the general paleo)? I would appreciate any advice!

2264 · March 14, 2010 at 12:11 AM

I don't have any firsthand experience, but I have heard of several cases where fibro went into remission after gluten was removed from the patient's diet. It's something one hears about in the online celiac communities fairly frequently.

244 · January 16, 2012 at 9:24 AM

I have Lyme/Chronic Fatigue. Although low-carb Paleo felt great in the beginning, I found myself getting tired if I adhered to it too strictly. I needed a certain amount of carbs from rice.

Recently, I figured out I felt much better eating sugar (!) a la Ray Peat.

20 · September 19, 2011 at 7:47 PM

I have fibro and Celiac Disease. I'm 28 and a mother of 2. I was diagnosed with Celiac in 2004 and had a lot of relief from that part of it going gluten free, but even gluten and dairy free I still had a lot of pain from the fibromyalgia. I tried elimination diets, cleanses, etc., but I have never felt as good as I have going Paleo. I've been Paleo for 7 months now and I feel better than I've felt in years, probably in over a decade. I have to be pretty strict about it - for example I let myself have some rice noodles, a big bag of potato chips, and sweetened hempmilk in a latte the other day (all in one day) and my joints and muscles were hurting so bad the next day that I could hardly function. That just confirmed for me how much of a difference diet has made. In addition to eating paleo, I have to avoid some nightshades - particularly potatoes, tomatoes and eggplant seem to aggrevate my symptoms, and I also have to watch my coffee intake. I feel so much better though that it's worth it to not eat the food that doesn't make my body happy. I would really encourage anyone with those type of problems to at least try it for 30 days. When you are in pain I know that cutting out comforting grains and bread and stuff sounds terrible, but it really is worth it. I don't have to be on any medication for fibromyalgia - not even advil or anything.

My whole story is on Robb Wolf's blog if you are interested: http://robbwolf.com/2011/06/13/real-life-testimonial-sarahs-finally-healthy/

495 · November 16, 2012 at 5:46 PM

Rather than start a new thread, I thought I'd bump this & see if there's any new research, advice, stories, etc.

I'm curious about the effects between fibro & simple carbs.
Several others mention sugar (sweets)... but I'm curious if simple carbs would have the same reaction.

10 · September 15, 2011 at 10:03 PM

I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia by a rheumatologist 6 years ago, but had been feeling ill for about 15 years. I'm 42 years old and male. My symptoms were pain in the neck and upper back and lower back. Severe headaches. Insomnia (I would only sleep about 5 hours per night, after that, the backpain would make it impossible to sleep). After waking up, I'd feel tired, 'broken' and 85 years old. The pain would become tolerable after 15 minutes of activity. My arms and hands would ache, and feel swollen, although they looked fine. Going to the toilet was always a problem. I often would fail to find words, I guess some would call this a 'fog of brain'. I would have several swollen and painful pressure points all over my body, aspecially in my arms and muscles in the back and neck. I refused any therapy or medication, because it was quite obvious that it was a so called 'exclusion diagnosis': I have a set of symptoms, but they don't make sense to the doctors, so after excluding all other possible diagnoses by doing the necessary tests, they decide to call it 'fibromiyalgia'.

All these symptoms went away almost instantly after I started an aspartame free diet. (Before the diet, I would eat and drink 'light' products from time to time, and I would add two grains of aspartame to my cup of coffee (I used to drink 4 to 6 cups of coffee a day, which makes a lot of aspartame.))

I'm in a euphoric state of mind, simply because since I have been on a aspartame free diet, I'm pain free and feel much stronger. I now am woken up by the alarm clock at 7 o'clock, rather than by the horrible back and neck pain, and migraine, at 4 am ... Since the beginning of August, I haven't felt sick again, and that is a good sign, because my symptoms were somewhat cyclic: every two weeks, the infection would flare up and I would feel really bad, and then slowly I would feel a bit better, only to feel very bad again two weeks later. All that has gone away now, so I'm hopeful to stay healthy now.

My advise to any person with a chronic condition with a broad spectrum of symptoms is to go on a diet that is free of any 'modern' additives.

EDIT: I took a better look at my bottle of sweeteners and it is actually a mixture of cyclamate and saccharine, not aspartame. This is what Wikipedia says - it is actually very scary: Cyclamate In the United States, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the sale of cyclamate in 1970 after lab tests in rats involving a 10:1 mixture of cyclamate and saccharin indicated that large amounts of cyclamates causes bladder cancer, a disease to which rats are particularly susceptible. Cyclamates are still used as sweeteners in many parts of the world, including Europe.

35 · October 14, 2010 at 4:31 AM

I am trying the Paleo diet, and after one month find my fiber symptoms are way down. This should be considered "anecdotal", really. It could be just a coincidence. Only time will tell.

Are there any serious researchers out there doing any scientifically controlled studies on this? ::::crickets::::

10170 · March 14, 2010 at 8:46 PM

I have some experience 'treating' these patients (I'm a physical therapist), but not that much. I haven't followed all the scientific literature, but know that a lot of scientists now think of the immune system as crucial to fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. And some of those scientists are using diet (mostly elimination diets)

I'm quite convinced that a paleo diet, or more, lifestyle could really help. Again, I'm not the specialist on this, but I think fibromyalgia could be considered a disease of civilisation. And as with all these diseases, a hunter-gatherer diet-lifestyle could be helpful.

I'm not aware of scientists using the evolutionary reasoning on fibromyalgia. They start eliminating, just trial and error. You can find the solution this way, but why not eliminate all the neolithic stuff, and than try to fine-tune your diet with trial and error (dairy or not, nightshades, low or very low carb, ...)

10 · July 11, 2014 at 1:04 AM

While my symptoms don't seem to be as severe as yours, I am right there with you on many things. My fibro seems to have started when I was 16 and had a pretty horrendous Asian flu that lasted 3 weeks. Various injuries over the years have exacerbated my symptoms, especially a severe back injury that essentially ripped the muscles from my lower back area. I now have sciatic pain on most days. I was put on tramadol (100mg twice daily), but it only dulled the pain. I'm also on Cymbalta, but while it helped temper emotional issues, it didn't help with the pain at all. I am now also taking gabapentin and it actually seems to help both the fibro pain and the sciatic pain. I've only been on it two weeks and am gradually building up to 200mg twice daily, so if 100mg has helped, I can't wait to see what 200mg does. I am hoping it helps me be relatively pain-free most of the day. But man, before I take that first dose in the morning, I can barely get out of bed. Everything aches as if I have the flu.

I am hoping the Paleo/The Perfect Health Diet will help. My husband and I are still transitioning as going "cold turkey" isn't going to work for us. But we're trying to eat Paleo most meals. I'm not sure how long it takes for a new eating protocol to kick in or if ANY amount of processed food/grain/etc. is going to prevent us from feeling the positive benefits. We're still trying to figure things out, especially how to prepare some snacks and meals we can make quickly as I often get very lightheaded within minutes of feeling hungry. And I know a lot of that is probably caused by years of eating crap food and carbs, but I hope that as we eat less of those things, the lightheadedness won't present itself as often.

Good luck to you (and everyone else here). May we all find the answers we seek in order to live healthier, better lives.

120 · February 27, 2013 at 4:56 AM

I had Fibromyalgia for a year and Paleo totally fixed it! Success :D

660 · September 12, 2012 at 2:05 PM

i have awful fibro and a RSI with numb hands

paleo has helped but mainly bc it stabilized my blood sugar. i tried not eating gluten and it didnt make a difference.

329 · September 12, 2012 at 1:57 PM

I have fibromyalgia and had a big reduction in pain going...am aloud to say this here? Vegan. I am now no longer following that diet but did learn from it. Do not eat dairy whatever you do ridding my diet of dairy had to be one of the best things I have done for myself. Also, soon after becoming vegan I had also given up gluten which I also think made a very noticeable difference. I am new to Paleo, but even removing what few grains were left in my diet has made a huge difference in my Ibs symptoms. From this I would say being grain free and dairy free are very important for a fibromyalgia sufferer.

10 · June 21, 2012 at 3:13 PM

I suffer from Fybromayalgia, and have been since I was a child, but had no idea what was going on with me until this year. I have had every doctor in the world try to fix me over the years, but none could diagnose what was going on until this year, when my general practioner sent me to a Rheumatologist.

My symptoms are: Migranes, Exhaustion, Fatigue, Insomnia, joints that constantly feel on fire, short term memory loss, ...heck, I can go on and on. But Paleo has been my own personal Godsend. When I follow my paleo, I feel 90% better ( I have only been following for a short time) After a few days on the diet, I felt lighter than cotton...symptom free immediately. My joints don't burn, my energy is way up, and I can actually function normally.

The momment I slip up, my joints are on fire. My sleep is completely evasive, and my overall well being is affected. There is really something special about Paleo. I have even found a meetup group here in St. Louis, called Primal Living STL, that focuses on fitness and following Palep. We swap recipes and tips that make this lifestyle enjoyable. I am even starting to transition my kids it. My son (11yrs) has migranes, and my daughters both (4 & 6) have eczema and allergies. It has really offered me hope for a better quality of life. Tonight I am making Paleo Chocolate Cake!

0 · April 26, 2012 at 9:14 PM

No one has written on here in awhile, but I am interested in trying a Paleo diet to help with my Fibromyalgia. I was recently diagnosed with it, but also have IBS, chronic headaches, lactose intolerance, and severe TMJ pain. I changed my diet about 2 months ago by going completely gluten free and cutting out the majority of processed foods. However, I know that I still need to cut out sugar and have had a hard time doing that. I've seen different results from Paleo, but I tend to work well if someone tells me to try something for a set amount of time. Someone mentioned 30 days, but I wanted to see if it could take longer for me to notice any differences. Thanks for the help!

0 · January 16, 2012 at 2:20 AM

Thank you, Sarah Johnson,for sharing your story. I am a 60 year old female that has just started on the Paleo Diet, this is day 7. Yesterday, I had a nice sized bowl of ice cream, and this morning I had a nasty flare-up of the fibromyalgia, and all my joints were swollen and red due to the rheumatoid arthritis I have. I'm wondering if this flare-up is caused by my "cheating" on my Paleo with the ice cream...just like when you "cheated" with the potato chips and such? I was unaware that it could effect me so badly. NO more ice cream for this lady! Only good Paleo food. Since I went on the Paleo, just 7 days ago, I've been doing okay, pain wise, until this morning. Thanks to all who have been sharing their experiences, and also for sharing what type of pain you have with your fibromyalgia. My family has never known anybody that has ever had it, and they just don't seem to understand how debilitating and painful it can be. Thanks again, for sharing.

1098 · March 12, 2010 at 9:37 PM

Not firsthand, but I knew someone with Fibro who felt better on a Paleo diet.

-2 · May 27, 2010 at 5:06 PM

Excellent topics, I really like this topics. Can you please publish more articles? After long searching I found this online that, the best chiropractic clinic helps people in Lawrenceville GA with back pain, neck pain, headaches. Call their office and speak to any one of their friendly staff to make an appointment for a FREE consultation.

-14 · March 13, 2010 at 11:58 PM

I'm convinced those who claim they have fibro are just junkies attempting to get a fix.

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