Friday, October 4, 2019

Everything You Need to Know About Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia medication

The goal of fibromyalgia treatment is to manage pain and improve quality of life. This is often accomplished through a two-pronged approach of self-care and medication.

Common medications for fibromyalgia include:

Pain relievers

Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) can help with mild pain.

Narcotics, such as tramadol (Ultram), which is an opioid, were previously prescribed for pain relief. However, research has shown they’re not effective. Also, the dosage for narcotics is typically increased rapidly, which can pose a health risk for those prescribed these drugs.

Most healthcare providers recommend avoiding narcotics to treat fibromyalgia.


Antidepressants such as duloxetine (Cymbalta) and milnacipran HCL (Savella) are sometimes used to treat pain and fatigue from fibromyalgia. These medications may also help improve sleep quality and work on rebalancing neurotransmitters.

Antiseizure drugs

Gabapentin (Neurontin) was designed to treat epilepsy, but it may also help reduce symptoms in people with fibromyalgia. Pregabalin (Lyrica), another anti-seizure drug, was the first drug FDA-approved for fibromyalgia. It blocks nerve cells from sending out pain signals.

A few drugs that aren’t FDA-approved to treat fibromyalgia, including antidepressants and sleep aids, can help with symptoms. Muscle relaxants, which were once used, are no longer recommended.

Fibromyalgia natural remedies

If the medications your healthcare provider prescribes don’t entirely relieve your fibromyalgia symptoms, you can look for alternatives. Many natural treatments focus on lowering stress and reducing pain. You can use them alone or together with traditional medical treatments.

Natural remedies for fibromyalgia include:
  • physical therapy
  • acupuncture
  • 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP)
  • meditation
  • yoga, use with caution if hypermobility is present
  • tai chi
  • exercise
  • massage therapy
  • a balanced, healthy diet

Therapy can potentially reduce the stress that triggers fibromyalgia symptoms and depression.

Group therapy may be the most affordable option, and it will give you a chance to meet others who are going through the same issues.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is another option that can help you manage stressful situations. Individual therapy is also available if you prefer one-on-one help.

It’s important to note that most alternative treatments for fibromyalgia haven’t been thoroughly studied or proven effective.

Fibromyalgia diet recommendations

Some people report that they feel better when they follow a specific diet plan or avoid certain foods. But research hasn’t proven that any one diet improves fibromyalgia symptoms.

If you’ve been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, try to eat a balanced diet overall. Nutrition is important in helping you to keep your body healthy, to prevent symptoms from getting worse, and to provide you with a constant energy supply.

Dietary strategies to keep in mind:
  • Eat fruits and vegetables, along with whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean protein.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Eat more plants than meat.
  • Reduce the amount of sugar in your diet.
  • Exercise as often as you can.
  • Work toward achieving and maintaining your healthy weight.

You may find that certain foods make your symptoms worse, such as gluten or MSG. If that’s the case, keep a food diaryTrusted Source where you track what you eat and how you feel after each meal.

Share this diary with your healthcare provider. They can help you identify any foods that aggravate your symptoms. Avoiding these foods can be beneficial helping you manage your symptoms.

Fibromyalgia can leave you feeling tired and worn out.

A few foods will give you the energy boost you need to get through your day.

Fibromyalgia pain relief

Fibromyalgia pain can be uncomfortable and consistent enough to interfere with your daily routine. Don’t just settle for pain. Talk to your healthcare provider about ways to manage it.

One option is to take pain relievers such as:
  • aspirin
  • ibuprofen
  • naproxen sodium
  • help with discomfort
  • lower pain levels
  • help you better manage your condition

These medications bring down inflammation. Though inflammation is not a primary part of fibromyalgia, it may be present as an overlap with RA or another condition. Pain relievers may help you sleep better.

Please note that NSAIDS do have side effects. Caution is advised if NSAIDS are used for an extended period of time as is usually the case in managing a chronic pain condition.

Talk with your healthcare provider to create a safe treatment plan that works well in helping you manage your condition.

Antidepressants and anti-seizure drugs are two other medication classes your healthcare provider may prescribe to manage your pain.

The most effective pain reliever does not come in a medication bottle.

Practices like yoga, acupuncture, and physical therapy can:

Fibromyalgia fatigue can be just as challenging to manage as pain.

Living with fibromyalgia

Your quality of life can be affected when you live with pain, fatigue, and other symptoms on a daily basis. Complicating things are the misunderstandings many people have about fibromyalgia. Because your symptoms are hard to see, it’s easy for those around you to dismiss your pain as imaginary.

Know that your condition is real. Be persistent in your pursuit of a treatment that works for you. You may need to try more than one therapy, or use a few techniques in combination, before you start to feel better.

Lean on people who understand what you’re going through, like:
  • your healthcare provider
  • close friends
  • a therapist

Be gentle on yourself. Try not to overdo it. Most importantly, have faith that you can learn to cope with and manage your condition.

Fibromyalgia facts and statistics

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that causes:
  • widespread pain
  • fatigue
  • difficulty sleeping
  • depression

Currently, there’s no cure, and researchers don’t fully understand what causes it. Treatment focuses on medications and lifestyle changes to help ease the symptoms.

About 4 million AmericansTrusted Source ages 18 and over, or about 2 percent of the population, have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Most fibromyalgia cases are diagnosed in women, but men and children can also be affected.

Most people get diagnosed in middle age.

Fibromyalgia is a chronic (long-term) condition. However, some people may experience remission-type periods in which their pain and fatigue improve.

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