What're the treatments for fibromyalgia?
There is no cure for fibromyalgia, but many treatment options are available. Patient usually try many routes of treatment under the guidance of a physician to find relief. Treatments range from prescription medication to herbal medicine to exercise therapy. Most treatments only ease some symptoms. In mild cases, symptoms may go away when stress is
decreased or lifestyle changes are implemented. A combination of treatments including medications, patient education, physical therapy, and counseling are usually recommended. Many fibromyalgia sufferers have found support groups helpful.
The most popular treatment involves conventional analgesics to reduce the effects of fatigue and pain. Antidepressants are often prescribed as well to adjust nerve response and help to deal with the psychological effects of constant fatigue and pain. Low doses of antidepressants, often tricyclic antidepressants like amitriptyline, have also been used to treat the insomnia associated with fibromyalgia. Physicians may also prescribe exercise in an attempt to build up muscle bulk and reduce stress on the muscles, but it is often poorly tolerated in the more severe cases. Certain classes of antidepressant medications are sometimes prescribed for the disorder. Studies show that antidepressants in low doses can decrease depression, relax craniofacial and skeletal muscles, improve sleep quality, and release pain-killing endorphins. Other medications that are used include anti-inflammatory pain medications and medications that work on pain transmission pathways, such as Gabapentin.
Lifestyle changes that can help alleviate symptoms include avoiding caffeine (it can aggravate sleep disorders), sticking to an exercise program, avoiding nonessential activities, performing tasks more efficiently, establishing regular sleep routines, and eating a healthy diet. Learning relaxation techniques (e.g., meditation, biofeedback) may help control symptoms. Eating a well-balanced diet, and avoiding caffeine may help with problems sleeping, and may help reduce the severity of the symptoms. Lifestyle measures to improve the quality of sleep can be effective for fibromyalgia. Some reports indicate that fish oil, magnesium/malic acid combinations, or vitamins may be effective. Reducing stress and improving coping skills may also help reduce painful symptoms.
Improved fitness through exercise is recommended. Studies have shown that fibromyalgia symptoms can be relieved by aerobic exercise. Routine low-impact aerobics and strength may help reduce pain, tender-point counts, depression, and sleep disturbance. During aerobic exercise, endorphins, hormone-like substances, are released. Endorphins help relieve pain and produce a feeling of well-being. The best way to begin a fitness program is to start with low impact exercises, like walking and swimming. Starting slowly helps stretch and mobilize tight, sore muscles. High-impact aerobics and weight lifting could cause increased discomfort. Symptoms may be relieved by gentle stretching and light massage, as well as acupressure, acupuncture, and relaxation techniques.
Many patients find temporary relief by applying heat to painful areas, through physical therapy, lymphatic drainage, or massage. Occupational therapy may assist patients in maintaining employment. Some patients find the Guaifenesin Protocol particularly effective when followed properly. Some have even reported a full reversal of symptoms through the application of this treatment, though it is not a cure.
More information on fibromyalgia syndrome
What is fibromyalgia syndrome? - Fibromyalgia is a debilitating chronic illness characterized by diffuse pain, fatigue, and a wide range of other symptoms.
What causes fibromyalgia? - The cause of fibromyalgia is currently unknown. Sleep disturbances are common in fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is an inherited disorder.
What're the risk factors for fibromyalgia? - Risk factors for fibromyalgia include gender, age, genetic factors, specific lifestyle factors, psychiatric illness.
What're the complications of fibromyalgia? - Fibromyalgia is a common and chronic problem. Fibromyalgia can be mild or disabling, and the emotional repercussions can be substantial.
What are the symptoms of fibromyalgia? - Fibromyalgia symptoms include widespread, diffuse pain, physical fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, genitourinary symptoms, dermatological disorders.
How is fibromyalgia diagnosed? - Diagnosis of fibromyalgia is difficult. The doctor may make a diagnosis by ruling out other conditions with similar symptoms.
What's the treatment for fibromyalgia? - There is no cure for fibromyalgia. Treatment for fibromyalgia involves conventional analgesics to reduce the effects of fatigue and pain.
What fibromyalgia diet is suggested? - Fibromyalgia patients should maintain a healthy diet low in animal fat and high in fiber, with plenty of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables.
What fibromyalgia exercise is suggested? - Low-impact aerobic exercises are effective treatments for fibromyalgia. Exercise regimens are most beneficial when performed on an every-other-day basis.
Fibromyalgia pain relief medications - Pain relief is of major concern for patients with fibromyalgia. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is often used for mild pibromyalgia pain relief.