TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR FYBROMYALGIA
Fybromyalgia (FMS) is a debilitating disease with wide-spread pain throughout the body. FMS can cause symptoms similar to arthritis, bursitis, and tendonitis. The difference is that in the previous conditions, the pain is localized to the area but in fybromyalgia, the pain is usually wide-spread and of a deep-muscle nature. There are also tender points and fatigue not seen in other pain-related conditions.
There is no cure for fybromyalgia yet although research continues in that area and hope for a cure is still evident as new developments appear. Treatments focus on relieving symptoms and helping people cope with the syndrome. There are medications, alternative treatments, and lifestyle habits that help reduce symptoms and a combination of treatments is best to effectively work against the pain, fatigue, depression, and anxiety which accompany the syndrome. Here are some of the treatment options for patients of FMS.
MEDICATIONS AND FYBROMYALGIA
Anti-depressants are usually the first line of medications that treat fybromyalgia. They help decrease a number of symptoms like depression, sleep disorders, pain, and fatigue. Anti-convulsion drugs may also be used to treat symptoms. Muscle relaxers may provide some muscle pain relief, especially if taken before bedtime.
PHYSICAL THERAPY AND FYBROMYALGIA
The benefits of physical therapy include increased confidence in exercise, relaxation for tense muscles, and education about the body and its movements. It also helps with “new” muscle memory and neuroendocrine changes in a positive way to help muscles recover. Physical therapy can help you regain control over your fybromyalgia by focusing on lifestyle changes rather than the chronic dysfunction.
Your therapist will help you find the proper way to stretch achy muscles to get the most relief. In addition, using hydrotherapy along with physical therapy may help relieve pain even more. Moreover, your physical therapist will also help you form a good posture that will help relieve fatigue.
EXERCISE AND FYBROMYALGIA
Most people who have FMS do not exercise regularly and are afraid to do so because of added pain. But experts agree that exercise is the most beneficial treatment for fybromyalgia and has shown a decrease on pain and depression by increasing the amount of endorphins, natural pain-killers that also help boost mood. By starting slowly and increasing duration and intensity, exercise can help you feel better without feeling more pain. The key is to start slowly, warm up properly, and slowly increase endurance and intensity over time.
ALTERNATIVE TREATMENTS AND FYBROMYALGIA
There are so many side-effects to the medications associated with fybromyalgia treatment. As a result, many patients resort to alternative treatments. Some patients report significant help from alternative medicine. Here are some of the best known alternative treatments available:
v Chiropractic – Chiropractic medicine may help ease lower back pain, improve pain levels, and increase cervical and lumber ranges of motion.
v Deep muscle massage – This treatment may stimulate circulation and release chronic patterns of muscle tension.
v Neuromuscular massage – This massage treatment combines the use of ancient Oriental therapies like acupressure and shiatsu, with the hands-on deep tissue therapy to help reduce chronic muscle or myofascial (soft tissue) pain.
v Acupuncture – Some studies show that acupuncture may alter brain chemistry to help increase pain tolerance.
v Biofeedback – Biofeedback helps people control the stress response and relieves chronic pain. It works by using electronics to measure stress-related responses in the body.
v Meditation – Studies show that meditation helps create brain waves associated with serenity and happiness that help relieve anxiety.
v Natural dietary supplements – While studies are limited on the effects of natural dietary supplements and fybromyalgia, some people with fybromyalgia have found relief from over-the-counter dietary supplements like 5-HTP, melatonin, St. John’s wort, L-carnitine, SAM-e, and probiotics. If you are taking other supplements or medications, check to see if you can use one or some of these as there are some that react to other medications and supplements, especially St. John’s wort.
v Herbal remedies – Even though there are few studies that report significant benefits from herbal medicines, many people with fybromyalgia report significant improvements with sleep and energy when taking herbal supplements like echinacea, black cohosh, lavender, milk thistle, and B vitamins.
v Medical marijuana – In addition, some people with fybromyalgia wonder if medical marijuana can help them with their pain and fatigue. While it doesn’t cure diseases, some experts say it may help with pain, improve sleep, and help with mood. That is because marijuana makes the brain and body relax. However, not all states have legalized it and it must be purchased through a pharmacy. The street brand is not the same as the medicinal brand.
Although there is no known cure for fybromyalgia, there are many treatment options available to patients. Work with your doctor to combine several treatments to get the most benefit from the symptoms of FMS and improve your quality of life.