TREATMENTS FOR FYBROMYALGIA
When it comes to treatments for fybromyalgia, there are medications, alternative treatments, and lifestyle habits that help to reduce symptoms and achieve a quality lifestyle. There is no one “pill” for treating fybromyalgia, but a combination of treatments that effectively work against the pain, fatigue, depression, and anxiety which accompanies the syndrome.
Fybromyalgia 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.
EXERCISE AND FYBROMYALGIA
Experts agree that exercise is the most beneficial treatment for fybromyalgia. Most people who have this condition do not exercise regularly and are afraid to do so because of added pain. However, exercise has shown a decrease in pain and depression. Regular exercise increases 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.
PHYSICAL THERAPY AND FYBROMYALGIA
Physical therapy can help relieve pain and muscle stiffness. 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.
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.
Physical therapy can help you regain control over your fybromyalgia by focusing on lifestyle changes than on the chronic dysfunction. Your physical therapist will also help you form a good posture that will help relieve fatigue.
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. Muscle relaxers may provide some muscle pain relief, especially if taken before bedtime. Anti-convulsion drugs may also be used to treat symptoms.
ALTERNATIVE TREATMENTS AND FYBROMYALGIA
Since there are so many side-effects to the medications associated with fybromyalgia treatment, many patients resort to alternative treatments. Some patients report significant help from alternative medicine. Here are some of the best known alternative treatments available:
- Acupuncture – Some studies show that acupuncture may alter brain chemistry to help increase pain tolerance.
- Chiropractic – Chiropractic medicine may help ease lower back pain, improve pain levels, and increase cervical and lumber ranges of motion.
- Deep muscle massage – This treatment may stimulate circulation and release chronic patterns of muscle tension.
- 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.
- 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.
- Meditation – Studies show that meditation helps create brain waves associated with serenity and happiness that help relieve anxiety.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. It creates a different state of mind that lacks focus. In my opinion, it can make a person lazy, apathetic, and zombie-like. But if that takes your focus off your pain, then go for it. Only be careful – 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.
Like many conditions, people with fybromyalgia have good days and bad days. However, with the proper treatment program, your fybromyalgia can be controlled to give you more good days than bad. You and your doctor will work as a team to combine several treatments to provide the relief you need from your symptoms and improve your quality of life.