In general, treatments for fibromyalgia include both medication and self-care. The emphasis is on minimizing symptoms and improving general health. No one treatment works for all symptoms. Every person is different and so what works for one might not work the same for another.
Medications can help reduce some of the symptoms of fibromyalgia and improve sleep, but all of them have side-effects. Common choices include:
- Pain relievers. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) or naproxen sodium (Aleve, others) may be helpful, but do not use them often as they are hard on your organs. Your doctor might suggest a prescription pain reliever such as tramadol (Ultram, Conzip). Narcotics are not advised, because they can lead to dependence and may even make Fibromyalgia worse. The newest thought from Fibromyalgia experts is that Narcotics should Never be given to Fibromyalgia patients, especially Oxycodone which is actually synthetic heroine.
- Antidepressants. Duloxetine (Cymbalta) and milnacipran (Savella) may help ease the pain and fatigue associated with fibromyalgia. It also helps with nerve ending pain. However, they do have side-effects so be aware of that. Your doctor may prescribe amitriptyline at night to help promote sleep. All of these will put on weight. Another drug for sleep is Trazodone. If you do not get good deep sleep.
- Anti-seizure drugs. Medications designed to treat epilepsy are often useful in reducing certain types of pain. Gabapentin (Neurontin, Gralise) is sometimes helpful in reducing fibromyalgia symptoms, while pregabalin (Lyrica) was the first drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat fibromyalgia.
- Sleep.Your Doctor may prescribe medications to help you sleep. Some of these may be Amitriptyline, which will make you gain weight quickly, or Trazodone. If you do not get good deep sleep, REM, your pain is going to feel worse. Personally, I act out my dreams and even throw myself off the bed and hurt myself. I get this lovely trait from my Grandfather. When I told my Doctor I did this, he put me on Clonazepam. I really sleep well now. This shows up in your blood and so if you go to a new Doctor, they may ask about that.
- Talking with a counselor can help strengthen your belief in your abilities and teach you strategies for dealing with stressful situations. They can also help you to read your body and learn how to tell what your body is trying to tell you.
- Physical therapy, which may be painful at first, is excellent in getting you moving again. It is also in helping you getting your myofascial pain eased.
- Water therapy is a great place to start your therapy because it eases the weight on your joints and muscles when you first start your therapy. Beware when you first get out of the pool though, you will feel like wet rice paper.
Lifestyle and home remedies
Self-care is critical in the management of fibromyalgia.
- Reduce stress. Develop a plan to avoid or limit overexertion and emotional stress. Allow yourself time each day to relax. That may mean learning how to say no without guilt. But try not to change your routine completely. People who quit work or drop all activity tend to do worse than do those who remain active. Try stress management techniques, such as deep-breathing exercises or meditation. Remove negativity from you life and your home.
- Get enough sleep. Because fatigue is one of the main characteristics of fibromyalgia, getting sufficient sleep is essential. In addition to allotting enough time for sleep, practice good sleep habits, such as going to bed and getting up at the same time each day and limiting daytime napping.
- Exercise regularly. At first, exercise may increase your pain. But doing it gradually and regularly often decreases symptoms. Appropriate exercises may include walking, swimming, biking and water aerobics. A physical therapist can help you develop a home exercise program. Stretching, good posture and relaxation exercises also are helpful.
- Pace yourself. Keep your activity on an even level. If you do too much on your good days, you may have more bad days. Moderation means not overdoing it on your good days, but likewise it means not self-limiting or doing too little on the days when symptoms flare.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Eat healthy foods. Do not drink any caffeine. It has been proven that this increases pain. Also do not drink soda/pop. Decrease your sugar and carbohydrates. You will need to change your diet because this will make a huge difference. The Fodmap diet from Stanford University is an excellent diet for Fibromyalgia patients, but there are other diets that will work well too such as the Paleo diet or the Celiac Diet. Do something that you find enjoyable and fulfilling every day. Set an attainable goal each day and complete it. That way you will have a feeling of accomplishment each day.
Complementary and alternative therapies for pain and stress management aren’t new. Some, such as meditation and yoga, have been practiced for thousands of years. But their use has become more popular in recent years, especially with people who have chronic illnesses, such as fibromyalgia.
Several of these treatments do appear to safely relieve stress and reduce pain, and some are gaining acceptance in mainstream medicine. But many practices remain unproved because they haven’t been adequately studied.
- Acupuncture. Acupuncture is a Chinese medical system based on restoring normal balance of life forces by inserting very fine needles through the skin to various depths. According to Western theories of acupuncture, the needles cause changes in blood flow and levels of neurotransmitters in the brain and spinal cord. Some studies indicate that acupuncture helps relieve fibromyalgia symptoms, while others show no benefit.
- Massage therapy. This is one of the oldest methods of health care still in practice. It involves use of different manipulative techniques to move your body’s muscles and soft tissues. Massage can reduce your heart rate, relax your muscles, improve range of motion in your joints and increase production of your body’s natural painkillers. It often helps relieve stress and anxiety. If essential oils are used, they can also help your body with pain and relaxation. Massage therapy also helps with myofascial pain.
- Yoga and tai chi. These practices combine meditation, slow movements, deep breathing and relaxation. Both have been found to be helpful in controlling fibromyalgia symptoms.
- Good Nutrition. You need to replace nutrients that Fibromyalgia steals from your body. This nutrition needs to be replaced daily and can't be replaced by food alone. By the time food gets to your table, much of the nutrients that were in it when it was freshly picked have already leached out of it. So, you need to replace those nutrients. You can get those nutrients by clicking the button below.