There is no cure for Fibromyalgia. Treatment options are primarily aimed at relieving your pain, increasing restorative sleep, and improving the physical functioning of your body. There exists a number of treatment options including medication, therapy, and alternatives (such as acupuncture).
Treatment Through Medication
There exist a variety of medications that can be taken to relieve pain, and improve sleep, for those patients suffering from fibromyalgia, including:
- Anti-seizure drugs: These type of medications are usually used to treat epilepsy, but tend to be helpful in reducing a handful of pain conditions. For instance, Lyrica (pregabalin) has long been used to treat fibromyalgia, while Neurontin (gabapentin) has the potential to reduce fibromyalgia symptoms.
- Antidepressants: Your doctor may prescribe muscle relaxants such as cyclobenzaprine, which may help you get to sleep. Other medications such as Savella (milnacipran), and Cymbalta (Duloxetine) may help ease the fatigue and pain usually associated with fibromyalgia. Neuromodulating antiepileptics and antidepressants have also been known to substantially reduce the symptoms of fibromyalgia. For instance, antidepressants such as norepinephrine and serotonin provide tolerability and efficacy to deal with fibromyalgia, as they re-uptake body inhibitors and relieve pain by increasing the activity of noradrenergic antinociceptive pathways.
- Pain relievers: Pain relievers such as Ultram (tramadol), naproxen, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen are recommended to help ease the pain. However, narcotics should not be used as they are addictive and may aggravate the situation in the long run.iv.
- Local injections: Fibromyalgia symptoms and pain may also be reduced through local anesthetic injections such as Marcaine or Lidocaine. Such injections can be carried out on the peripheral tissues such as tender points, buttocks or the shoulders. In carrying out a tender point injection (trigger point injection), your doctor usually inserts a small needle directly into the tender points, then inject the anesthetic.
A number of different therapies can be adopted to help reduce fibromyalgia symptoms. Such therapeutic approaches include:
- Counseling: Patients with fibromyalgia are advised to get counseling services to help them get back to their normal way of living. Besides, there is no a better way of managing stress and anxiety than through counseling. If possible, fibromyalgia patients are advised to undertake cognitive behavioral therapy as it helps them:
- Set personal targets and goals.
- Seek out enjoyable activities.
- Recognize aspects that worsen the symptoms.
- Keep a diary of the symptoms and pain.
- Deal with negative thoughts.
- Physical therapy: Exercises have been proven to improve one’s stamina, flexibility, and strength. Low impact exercises such as walking, cycling, and swimming are particularly good in dealing with muscle pain. By keeping the muscles healthy and conditioned through exercise, the amount of discomfort will diminish. It is therefore imperative for fibromyalgia patients to have an exercise and fitness program, as it goes a long way towards tackling the syndrome. Moreover, adopting stress relief methods such as relaxation techniques and light massage will also help eradicate various symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Alternative Fibromyalgia Treatments:
- Acupuncture: This method alters the brain chemistry and in turn increases your pain tolerance. Acupuncture involves the doctor inserting one or more needles at the affected tissue, and then gently twisting them in order to stimulate the endorphins. Endorphins are neurotransmitters that interact with the opiate receptors to reduce pain. One acupuncture treatment is capable of alleviating chronic pain for an extended period.ii. Laser and
- Electro-acupuncture: This method stimulates the acupuncture points through the use of a needle hooked up to small wires, that are connected to very slight electoral currents. Low-intensity lasers may also be used by targeting the affected areas, as they also stimulate endorphins.
- Biofeedback: This is a process through which physicians use electronic monitoring devices to train a patient to acquire voluntary control of specific functions. In treating fibromyalgia, biofeedback may be used to help you learn how to relax tight muscles, and in the process, relieve pain caused by the condition.