TREATMENT VARIETIES FOR FIBROMYALGIA
Fibromyalgia is a complex neurological disorder that is getting a lot more attention today than it did several years ago. Many medical professionals thought it was a figment of the patient’s mind and would simply say “it’s all in your head” much to the annoyance of the person. This disease is very real and painful.
Characterized by chronic widespread body pain, ranging from mild to severe, fibromyalgia is actually an unknown, mysterious condition affecting the muscles and connective tissue in and around the joints and wherever this soft tissue connects to bone. There are 18 pairs of pressure or trigger points on either side of the body that are painful when pressed down on. Three months of continuous pain in 11 of the 18 pairs of these tender areas help in the diagnosing of fibromyalgia.
Besides the constant predominance of pain, there are other symptoms that occur directly or indirectly with the onset of fibromyalgia. Symptoms like: insomnia, restless leg syndrome, migraine headaches, gastro-intestinal upsets, stiffness, immense fatigue, depression and anxiety, the inability to orchestrate coordinative movement, impaired cognitive thinking (fibro-fog), tingling or numbness in the hands or feet or painful bladder are all recognized aggravations associated to fibromyalgia.
SOME COMMON TREATMENTS OF FIBROMYALGIA
The primary treatment, of course, is the relief of pain. Doctors may write out prescriptions for analgesics, antidepressants or muscle relaxants. Some over the counter pain relievers, for example: ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, and aspirin are used in conjunction with prescribed medications to help get rid of the pain and stiffness, while other remedies help to promote sleep. One thing is for certain, you must see a physician to get proper prescriptions for treatment.
Herbal remedies are also sought out by sufferers who want to use “natural” medications. It is, however, recommended that you inform your doctor and seek out a holistic physician who uses alternative and conventional medicines used in treating fibromyalgia because, like synthetic drugs, herbal solutions may cause reactions or interact with other medications, thereby causing the “treatment “ to be detrimental to your life.
A FEW ALTERNATIVE TREATMENTS OF FIBROMYALGIA
There are many alternative treatments of fibromyalgia. Some are a little off the wall while other methods are taken rather seriously. A few practices are mentioned below.
Acupuncture may benefit some people in the relief of the pain and the improvement of sleep. Some patients report a change for the better and enough evidence has been collected in the research of acupuncture to prove it is significantly beneficial in helping fibromyalgia sufferers.
Tender point injections, administered by Rheumatologists or Physiatrists, are also given to people who have one specific area of pain. Unfortunately, this method offers only temporary relief.
Therapeutic massage given by a qualified massage therapist, accustomed to working with people with fibromyalgia, can provide excellent therapy for sufferers of this condition. This approach in treatment relieves pain and also relieves muscle spasms, as well as loosens and relaxes tight muscles and might even reduce trigger points. However, care must be given to not aggravate or intensify the pain. Working lightly and progressing slowly in working deep muscles is very beneficial, along with having a responsive patient, in encouraging a feeling of wellness.
Another technique used by specially trained massage or physical therapists is called myofascial release therapy. Physically working trigger points and areas having tight contracted muscles, the therapists will then attempt to stretch out or “release” the areas designated for this therapy. An additional method is to ice the muscle before stretching or working it. An anesthetic spray can also be used to numb the area if ice is not available.
A natural substance from the hot pepper plant called capsaicin is also used as an over the counter topical remedy. It has been noticed to relieve pain when rubbed in a particular painful area, but should not be rubbed on all over the body because it sometimes causes a burning sensation.
Dietary supplements sold in drugstores and health food stores can also help in managing the pain, however, a physician should be consulted before taking any type of supplement.
Mindfulness meditation, which teaches people to concentrate on the here and now, use relaxation response, deep breathing and yoga stretches to reduce the pain of fibromyalgia.
Exercise programs including aquatic exercises, stretching, Tai Chi, yoga, or simply walking will help reduce pain and stiffness. Keeping active is a mandatory way of managing the pain. You heard it said “if you don’t use it, you lose it”, well, with fibromyalgia that can be very true.
Chiropractors use manipulation to restore spinal movement, massage and stretch spasmodic muscles and sometimes use TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) treatment in an effort to ease the pain. Osteopaths are medical doctors that likewise treat pain in fibromyalgia patients.
The list could go on and on about treating fibromyalgia. Keep in mind that what might work for you might not work for someone else. Since there is no known “cure” for this ailment, the best thing to relieve the pain is trying to manage it successfully.