According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, fibromyalgia currently affects an estimated 5 million American adults. At least 80 percent of all fibromyalgia patients are adult women, but this does not mean that men and children are unable to contract this medical condition.
There are many physical and mental difficulties associated with fibromyalgia, including headaches, insomnia, morning stiffness, memory and thinking problems, numbness in feet and hands and painful menstrual periods.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for fibromyalgia, and treating this condition can be problematic. Due to this, there are numerous alternative options that patients have tried, including Omega-3 supplements and kratom. The main goal attached to each of these methods is the reduction and management of pain, which can also relieve anxiety and depression.
People with fibromyalgia have a much higher risk of developing depression, and many medical experts believe that the main link between these two issues is the social isolation that often accompanies painful flare-ups.
It is easy to understand why fibromyalgia sufferers would seek out any possible treatment that can help them get away from the pain and sadness that is commonly associated with this condition. Therefore, it is not surprising that for people with fibromyalgia, kratom supplements have attracted attention, but it is also important to take the time to research whether or not this is actually a viable option for pain management.
What Exactly is Kratom?
Before we can dive into the potential benefits of kratom for individuals with fibromyalgia, it is necessary to develop an understanding of what this supplement actually is. Kratom is made from the leaves of the Mitragyna speciosa, which is part of the coffee family and is found in Southeast Asia. These leaves include many beneficial alkaloids, and the best results are attributed to mature leaves that have been harvested from their natural growing locations.
People in southern Thailand have reportedly used kratom for thousands of years. Chewing the leaves is said to make people more energized, and Thailand residents have also utilized kratom to enhance their mood and relieve pain. There have been some medicinal purposes for kratom in Thailand, including treatment for opiate withdrawal.
Is Kratom Legal?
In 1943, the Thai government made the controversial decision to declare kratom a controlled substance, but politicians and advocacy workers have been trying to get this decision overturned since 2010. As of 2013, the Ministry of Public Health has been considering whether or not to decriminalize kratom nationwide.
Prior to September, 2016, Kratom was legal to own and use in 46 of the United States, and the federal government does not regulate any version of this substance. The DEA determined that it was becoming a “public health crisis.” The reality is that kratom is not understood very well at a government level. Additionally, the criminalization of natural products can become a money generator for the states involved due to fines and other penalties.
Does Kratom Help Fibromyalgia Patients? A Patient’s Account
Florida resident Tammy Hartman told a reporter for the Tampa Bay Times that kratom removes her fibromyalgia pain and has helped her get rid of the grogginess that her prescription medication caused. Florida distributor James Morrissette also spoke about having many customers who turn to kratom to help them with fibromyalgia, insomnia and anxiety.
Although the DEA acknowledges that kratom can act as a stimulant and offers sedative effects, the state of Florida is currently considering taking this helpful supplement away from fibromyalgia patients. This battle is reminiscent of medicinal marijuana, but there is one major difference: taking a normal dose of kratom is not going to get you high. Despite this, the DEA is concerned about the potential for kratom abuse, even though most sources indicate that you would need to take an extraordinarily large amount of kratom to even have the possibility of experiencing any unintended effects.
Kratom for Pain: Through the Eyes of a Medical Researcher
Edward Boyer, who is the director of medical toxicology and professor of emergency medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, has spent a lot of time studying kratom, and his findings are quite interesting. Boyer has indicated that mitragynine, which is one of the main alkaloids found within kratom, binds to the mu-opioid receptor in the same way as morphine. This discovery helps explain why people feel pain relief when they take kratom.
Boyer went on to say that the serotonergic activity of kratom could potentially be used to treat depression, and the energy boost that many users report is caused by adrenergic and kappa-opioid receptor activity. In other words, “if you want to treat depression, if you want to treat opioid pain, if you want to treat sleepiness, this really puts it all together.”
Boyer pointed out that lab research proved overdosing on kratom does not lead to respiratory depression, unlike morphine, and he believes that an effective pain medication could be derived from this natural substance. In the meantime, fibromyalgia patients can add kratom to their daily routine to take advantage of its analgesic properties.
Numerous other studies, most of which have been conducted in Southeast Asia, have provided solid backing for the claim that kratom has analgesic properties and can be an effective painkiller. Some studies also showcased kratom’s ability to act as a muscle relaxant and worthwhile treatment option for the side effects associated with opiate withdrawal.
Which Kratom is Best for Fibromyalgia?
There are multiple strains of kratom. Those that have used it report that you will want to pay close attention to the strain that you purchase. According to an online vendor of the herb, there are three main kratom categories: white vein, green vein and red vein. White vein is reported to be a stimulant, red vein strain is touted as a muscle relaxant and green vein is used for an energy boost and to manage pain. Some users claim that stacking multiple strains end in the analgesic effect aforementioned, and that the green and red strains used together make for a viable mixture for fibromyalgia patients.
Ultimately, the decision about whether or not try kratom is a personal one. However, many people with fibromyalgia are not satisfied with the approved medication that is currently available. This makes alternative options such as kratom very attractive, especially when user accounts and medical studies showcase the supplement’s ability to reduce pain, increase energy and relax sore muscles.