Muscular dystrophy (MD) is a group of more than 30 genetic disorders or muscle-wasting conditions that involve progressive weakness and degeneration of muscles. MD leads to the loss of muscle mass and strength over time. While there are nine distinct types of muscular dystrophy, myotonic MD is the most common among adults.
What’s more, while some types are severe and affect young boys, others strike in adulthood and follow a very slow progressive course over decades. As the condition progresses, it becomes more difficult to move over time.
Symptoms of muscular dystrophy include delayed muscle relaxation after contraction and weakness in the arms, legs, and facial muscles. In some cases, heart function and breathing can also be affected. Natural treatments to alleviate the symptoms of muscular dystrophy options are available.
Underlying Causes of Muscular Dystrophy
Muscular dystrophy is an X-linked disease caused by gene mutations, which means it is passed down from the mother. However, there are over 30 different types of MD, and each type is caused by a different set of mutations that prevent the body from producing the protein dystrophin.
This protein is critical to the building and repairing of muscles. It allows muscles to work properly by anchoring muscle cell components together and linking them to the outer membrane. Deformed or absent dystrophin causes disruptions to the outer membrane, causing muscle weakness and damage to muscle cells.
Natural Therapies for Muscular Dystrophy Symptoms
Unfortunately, there is no cure for muscular dystrophy, nor is there a way to prevent or reverse the condition. Muscular Dystrophy Treatment can focus on improving quality of life and delaying the progression and severity of symptoms. If you have muscular dystrophy, finding the right treatment regimen can help maintain your physical and emotional health while prolonging your ability to walk.
While drug therapies and surgeries are available, many natural therapies can also help manage symptoms.
Medical cannabis is an approved treatment option for muscular dystrophy symptoms in many states, which has helped many patients find relief from chronic pain, cramps, and muscle spasms. It is a particularly good alternative if you are looking to avoid using opioids for chronic long-term pain. Because MD is considered a degenerative disease, it gets worse over time. Medical cannabis can help keep you comfortable and pain-free for as long as possible to improve your quality of life.
Book an appointment with Heally to talk to a licensed physician online. A consultation with a physician is the first step to getting your medical marijuana card.
Stretching and range-of-motion exercises can help slow down the progression of shortening tendons and the inevitable inward movement of the limbs. These types of exercises can help keep limbs mobile for a longer period of time, preventing them from getting fixed in position.
Further, walking, swimming, and other low-impact aerobic exercises can also help slow the progression of MD. Exercises should be light in nature but undertaken frequently, ideally 5 times a week.
Nutrition and Supplements
Eating a healthy diet of whole foods can help you get the vitamins and minerals necessary for optimal muscle health. Supplements can also help reduce the risk of nutritional deficiencies. The following vitamins and minerals are recommended for MD. However, you should always consult with your doctor before taking any new supplements.
- Calcium and vitamin D: Both help support muscle and skeletal weakness.
- Coenzyme Q10: This supplement is often taken for muscular support.
- Acetyl-L-carnitine: This supplement contains muscle-protective properties.
- Amino acids: Glutamine and arginine are both important amino acids for muscle protection. Research shows that amino acids can help inhibit whole-body protein degradation.
- Creatine: When deemed appropriate, another amino acid known as creatine can be added to improve muscle weakness and wasting. Creatine helps provide energy to the muscle cells.
- Green tea: Research indicates that the antioxidant properties found in green tea may be able to help protect against muscle wasting associated with MD.
Homeopathic remedies for muscular dystrophy may include Arnica for muscle pain and spasm relief, Calcarea carbonica for lower extremity cramps, and Magnesia phos for muscle pain and spasms, shooting pains, and cramps.
Getting massages on a regular basis can help reduce muscle contractions and spasms while helping you naturally manage the pain of muscle weakness, stiffness, and degeneration. Further, massages can help improve your range of motion by relaxing contracted and tight muscles. In turn, muscle function and mobility may improve.
Thai massage, in particular, is often recommended to stretch the body and relieve muscle tension. Stretching can help maintain the elasticity and length of muscles while also increasing the flexibility of your joints.
Interested in more natural remedies to alleviate the symptoms of muscular dystrophy? Book a telehealth appointment to talk to a functional medicine doctor online.