What are the Available Treatments for
To successfully treat Fibromyalgia you must first find
a care provider that believes in, and treats your condition. Secondly, you must be willing
to make lifestyle changes. You must insure that you have been tested for any other
condition that may need treatment such as thyroid disease, lyme's disease, MS etc.
- Pain and Symptom management:
Pain management is not controlled with the usual "pain medications" that you may
be familiar with. Pain relief is achieved when the various symptoms of Fibromyalgia are
addressed. Often times, your doctor may prescribe a medication proven to help with
symptoms, even when there may be no tangible reason for the drug to be effective.
Old school medications, such as Soma Compound and Skelaxin, (muscle relaxers) and
Amitriptyline, (an antidepressant) continue to be prescribed today. Newer drugs like
Flexeril, (muscle relaxer) and Zoloft, (antidepressant) provide relief with fewer side
Once Fibromyalgia became a recognized condition drug companies invested research
dollars to find medications to help with FM symptoms. The first such drug to be approved
by the FDA was Lyrica® (pregabalin), it was quickly followed by Cymbalta® (duloxetine)
and most recently Savella® (milnacipran).
If your doctor prescribes benzodiazepines, tricyclic antidepressants or a serotonin
reuptake inhibitor it is important to remember that these drugs replace much needed
serotonin, important in improving sleep and in pain relief. Sleep management is a number
one priority for FM patients. Achieving a full night of deep REM sleep can relieve pain,
boost your system and fight dreaded brain fog during the day.
Don't get stuck on a single doctor or speciality when looking for help. A familiar
family doctor, neurologist, D.O. , physical therapist or anathesiologist may be the one to
identify, and treat your condition.
To lessen Fibromyalgia symptoms you must achieve a healthy sleep pattern. The
medications prescribed by your doctor will help but there are things you can do to insure
~ Stay as active as possible during the day.
~ Go to bed and get up at the same time every day.
~ Make sure the sole purpose of your sleep environment is sleep. Remove T.V's,
radios and other distractions and keep it dark.
~ Do not eat before retiring so digestive upsets such as I.B.S. do not wake you.
~ Take your medications at the same time each night.
~ Avoid sugar, caffeine and alcohol before bed.
~ If possible, invest in high quality mattresses and pillows for optimal support
- Lifestyle Changes
This is perhaps, the toughest part of your treatment, for making changes often
means letting go of small comforts and habits that we rely on, things that make us feel
good. But what can make us feel good temporarily can harm us in the long run.
~ Move. Intensive, repetive exercise is not possible for those with Fibromyalgia,
but it is imperative that you move as much as possible.
Force yourself to walk daily, even if only for 5 or 15 minutes. Avoid
sitting in the same position for hours when watching T.V. or on the
computer, make sure to take frequent breaks to stand, stretch and move
around. You may think the best thing to do when in pain is to
reduce movement, but in fact you will be doing more harm than good,
you must force yourself to stay as active as possible. For some
this may mean exercising, for others it can be as simple as walking
from one end of the house to the other at regular intervals.
~ Give up smoking, excessive caffeine and sugar,add healthy foods to your diet.
Cooking can be impossible some days so make a large
batch of a healthy food when you feel good and freeze for use on a day
you can't cook or shop. Search your grocers freezer section for
healthy, premade meals from weight watchers or Lean Cuisine, they are
better than junk food on days you can't cook. Many grocery
stores have a deli counter with premade meals available for take-out,
offering salads, soups and entres.
Much like a car responds to good gas and clean oil, your body will
respond to healthier food, rewarding you with better health.
Also, a body full of proper nutrients will better metabolize
- Don't rule out traditional and alternative
~ Massage, heat packs, water therapy, myofascial Release, trigger point injections,
light exercise, yoga, cognitive therapy, chiropractic
manipulation, breathing techniques, biofeedback and warm water therapy
are all recognized forms of therapy, if your care provider
suggests one of these treatments try them until you find one that will
Some doctors will recommend herbs, aromatherapy, nutritional
supplements and osteopathic manipulation.
~ Chronic pain, fatigue and brain fog rank among the top ten challenges a person will
face. Fibro inserts itself into every facet of your life and often times the only thing
able to keep you going is support. Join either an online, or a brick and mortar support
group in your area. These groups are filled with people who are experiencing the same
symptoms and emotions as you. They can offer a much needed ear or valuable information.
They often discuss family relationships and ways you can communicate with them, helping
you to build a healthier relationsship with your friends, family and co-workers.