Most people have never heard of fibromyalgia before being diagnosed with it themselves and for some sufferers it’s anything but fibromyalgia. Characterized by widespread body pain generally localized in certain areas called tender points, fibromyalgia affects the muscles and the fibrous connective tissues such as the tendons and ligaments in the joints. Granted, it is an elusive disorder and often connected with other diseases or conditions but you would think by now a lot more information about it would be out there. I am so surprised at how doctors approach their patients about fibromyalgia. For some medical professionals this disorder isn’t very real but mainly due to another malady causing the pain as well as the other symptoms of fibromyalgia in the patient. I can only imagine the frustration of the patient trying to describe what they are going through and only receiving a hit-and-miss diagnosis coupled with a trial-and-error method of treatment.
WHAT’S BEING DONE FOR FIBROMYALGIA
Being diagnosed for this disorder used to take about 5 years because of all the tests needed to rule out other diseases or ailments that might be associated with fibromyalgia. Now-a-days doctors have learned a lot more about it and with further research have actually accepted the fact that fibromyalgia is real itself and follow guidelines set up by the American College of Rheumatology to help diagnosis it properly. Over the years many other studies developed methods of relieving the pain and other symptoms connected with fibromyalgia which may include traditional, natural and alternative approaches that may or may not be controversial.
TRADITIONAL TREATMENTS FOR FIBROMYALGIA
The one thing most people opt for is medication. Popping pills seems to be the way to go when you need a quick fix for what ails you but with fibromyalgia there are other ways to reduce pain which is the primary goal of most patients. I myself don’t handle pain to well and can’t imagine dealing with it on a daily basis but a lot of people do. When prescribing medications most doctors, I have found, don’t know too much about the side effects involved with them. I learned this first hand. Do your homework and check these medications out and discuss it with your doctor because a lot of them sound like they would harm you more than help you.
Another excellent treatment is exercise. Many patients will tell you that keeping active while having flare-ups of this disorder, which might be a little painful to start, often relieves the pain eventually and becomes easier to do. Exercise not only relieves the pain but promotes mobility, independence for individuals, improved range of movements and a sense of wellbeing. My advice is to start slowly and don’t overdo it. Know your limitations and do exercises that won’t hurt you such as swimming. Aquatic aerobics can be done successfully without stress to your body and are known to build muscle and stamina. Besides, the feel of water is very
therapeutic. Make the exercises enjoyable and fun by also having a buddy do them with you. A good exercise program can be scheduled by a qualified and specially trained physical therapist that is also knowledgeable about fibromyalgia. As in all exercises if you start feeling painful then just stop and rest. Try this out and study yourself to see if it benefits you.
Chiropractic treatments including massages and neuromuscular massage treatments which combine acupressure, shiatsu and hands-on deep tissue massage are still another method of treatment that have been helping patients with the relief of chronic muscle pain.
Support groups are also beneficial because sharing the problems you have can make known other ways to obtain relief or what else is available. Then again you just might help someone else too.
NATURAL APPROACHES TO FIBROMYALGIA RELIEF
Seeking relief through natural medicine using supplements can be a little tricky and in some cases can prove detrimental to your health. If you are already on a prescribed medication it would be highly advisable to consult with your doctor before ingesting any supplement or herbal remedy because of the possibility of drug interactions to the supplements you might want to try. Many people who have tried dietary supplements such as melatonin, L-carnitine, Sam-e, probiotics and vitamin B’s have found some relief while others prefer the herbal route using black cohosh, milk thistle, lavender and Echinacea. Please note the St. John’s Wort has drug interactions and should be avoided.
ALTERNATIVE TREATMENTS FOR FIBROMYALGIA
A process of measuring the stress-related responses in the body is called biofeedback. An electronic devise is placed on the hand and records and measures responses to stress that would normally bring on the pain. It helps patients to avoid what may cause these responses.
Acupuncture, hypnosis, magnet therapy, cupping and low frequency sound therapy are a few questionable treatments which may have a few positive reviews. All of these should have studies done on them in order to justify the practice of them.
Of course the most controversial treatment is the use of medicinal marijuana. We aren’t talking about pills here but smoking the stuff. It differs from the street kind but it is still a drug. I wouldn’t suggest going this route because marijuana does have side effects and besides you might wind up in jail depending on the state you live in.