Michael Pearce, Immunotec Consultant

Cherries Can Relieve the Pain of Fibromyalgia

Written By: Robin - Apr• 24•10

Some consumers have discovered that Montmorency tart cherries can help relieve the pain of Fibromyalgia, a debilitating muscle disorder.

What is Fibromyalgia Syndrome?
FMS (fibromyalgia syndrome) is a widespread musculoskeletal pain and fatigue disorder for which the cause is still unknown. Fibromyalgia means pain in the muscles, ligaments and tendons – the fibrous tissues in the body. Most patients with fibromyalgia say that they ache all over. Their muscles may feel like they have been pulled or overworked. Sometimes the muscles twitch and at other times they burn. More women than men are afflicted with fibromyalgia, but it shows up in people of all ages.

In 1990, the American College of Rheumatology, the official body of doctors who treat arthritis and related conditions, developed criteria for diagnosing fibromyalgia. It is diagnosed when the following symptoms are displayed:

  • A history of widespread pain (pain on both sides of the body and above and below the waist) that is Present for at least three months.
  • Pain in at least 11 of 18 tender-point sites.

Common Treatments
Traditional treatments are geared toward improving the quality of sleep, as well as reducing pain. Because deep level (stage 4) sleep is so crucial for many body functions, such as tissue repair, antibody production, and perhaps even the regulation of various neurotransmitters, hormones and immune system chemicals, the sleep disorders that frequently occur in fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue patients are thought to be a major contributing factor to the symptoms of this condition. Medicines that boost the body’s level of serotonin and norepinephrine – neurotransmitters that modulate sleep, pain and immune system function – are commonly prescribed. In addition, nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen may also be beneficial.

Can Cherries Help?
The consumption of cherries should never be considered a cure for Fibromyalgia. However, some patients with Fibromyalgia have expressed to the Cherry Marketing Institute that the consumption of Montmorency tart cherry juice has helped alleviate some symptoms when combined with a prescribed health regimen.

Why Would This Be?
It is certainly possible that tart cherries could play a role in alleviating some of the pain and discomfort brought on by Fibromyalgia. First, cherries contain significant quantities of melatonin, which help regulate the sleep cycle. One of the key treatment areas for patients with fibromyalgia is to regulate the sleep cycle. Melatonin helps do that. Further, the anthocyanins found in cherries contain some of the highest levels of Cox-1 and Cox-2 inhibitors of any known food. The anthocyanins found in cherries function in the same manner as ibuprofen, and thus, may help relieve the pain of fibromyalgia syndrome.

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