Facts on Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is a common, unexplained, debilitating medical condition that causes long-term, wide-spread body pain and tenderness in the joints, muscles, tendons and soft tissues. Over 6 million people suffer from fibromyalgia. However, there isn’t much known about the condition within the medical community. Therefore, there are some basic things that every fibromyalgia-sufferer should know in order to help manage their lifelong struggle with fibromyalgia.
How to Treat Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia can be very difficult to treat due to the fact that there is so little information on the debilitating condition within the medical community. Also, not all physicians are familiar with fibromyalgia, it specific symptoms, and how they should treat it. Therefore, it is important to do your research and find a doctor who is experienced in treating this condition. Keep in mind, there are a number of family physicians, rheumatologists, and physical therapists who can treat fibromyalgia.
You will need a team of medical health care of professionals to help you with your treatment plan. You should start by consulting your doctor. Then, adding a physical therapist and other health professionals to the team will be beneficial in helping you manage your symptoms. Most importantly, you should also be playing an active role in beginning and maintaining the necessary changes in your daily life. Once the right team of professionals is assembled, you will be well on your way to a better quality of life.
A great place to possibly find several great members of your treatment team is at a clinic. In fact, there are pain clinics that specialize in pain management and rheumatology clinics that specialize in arthritis and other rheumatic diseases, including fibromyalgia.
Lifestyle Changes for Fibromyalgia Patients
Fibromyalgia can be a difficult condition to treat. Nevertheless, there are many lifestyle changes that you can incorporate into your life. The lifestyle changes include, but are not limited to:
- Beginning and maintaining a regular sleeping pattern
- Reducing stress by working less or switching jobs
- Eating a healthful, balanced diet
- Avoiding caffeine and alcohol
- Beginning and maintaining a regular, daily exercise program
- Keeping a daily journal
- Visual imagery
- Practicing stress-relief activities such as stretching and deep breathing exercise
Medicinal Treatment Options
Only three medications are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of fibromyalgia. depression meds was originally developed for and is still used to treat depression. Savella is similar to a drug used to treat depression, but is FDA approved only for fibromyalgia. medications is a medication developed to treat neuropathic pain (chronic pain caused by damage to the nervous system). Nonetheless, the following are some of the most commonly used drugs for fibromyalgia.
- Antidepressants, whether or not the patient is depressed
- Low doses of muscle relaxants, particularly, at night
- Mixed reuptake inhibitors
Physicians may also recommend or prescribe other drugs, depending on your specific symptoms or fibromyalgia-related conditions. For example, for people with irritable bowel syndrome, doctors may suggest fiber supplements or laxatives to relieve constipation or medications for diarrhea. Antispasmodic medications have also been found to be useful for relieving intestinal spasms and reducing abdominal pain. Other symptom-specific medications include sleep medications, muscle relaxants, and headache relievers.
There are many therapies that health care professionals can incorporate into your individualized treatment plan in order to help alleviate all or most of your symptoms. However, each patient is very different. So, the treatment plan should be specially customized for you. Some of these complementary, and in some cases, alternative therapies include:
- Physical therapy
- Movement therapy, such as, yoga and Pilates
- Osteopathic or chiropractic manipulations
- Myofascial release therapy
- Applying heat or cold
- Cognitive therapy
- Nutritional supplements.
Fibromyalgia and Research
The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) sponsors research that will improve the overall understanding of the specific problems that cause or accompany fibromyalgia within the medical community. This, in turn, will help them to develop better ways to diagnose, treat, and prevent this fibromyalgia.