How is Fibromyalgia Treated?

iStock 1167360886 1 In October’s first scary blog we discussed the chronic pain disorder of fibromyalgia. This is still a somewhat mysterious ailment that seems to amplify pain sensations in the patient. 

As a pain specialist, Dr. Trujillo has extensive experience of fibromyalgia. In October’s second blog, let’s get into some of the treatments he may use to help our patients deal with the pain. 

What are the current treatments for fibromyalgia? 

At Summit Healthcare Pain Clinic, our treatments for fibromyalgia include a mix of medication, therapy, and self-care. There is no cure for this condition, but the goal is to minimize the symptoms and improve the patient’s general health. Treatment success varies with different patients. 

Medications

Medications seek to reduce pain and improve the patient’s sleep. 

  •     Pain relievers — We usually start with over-the-counter options, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen sodium.
  •     Antidepressants — Duloxetine (brand name Cymbalta) and milnacipran (Savella) have shown to help ease pain and fatigue in some patients. Muscle relaxants can help with sleep.
  •     Anti-seizure drugs — Certain medications originally intended to treat the seizures of epilepsy are often useful for reducing certain types of fibromyalgia pain. Pregabalin (Lyrica) was the first drug approved by the FDA to treat fibromyalgia.

Therapy

With therapy, the goal is to strengthen the body and work around some of the pain. 

  •     Physical therapy — Exercises are used to improve strength, flexibility, and stamina. Water-based therapy can be a good option here.
  •     Occupational therapy — Occupational therapists help fibromyalgia patients adjust their workspace and the way certain tasks are performed to reduce stress on the body. 
  •     Counseling — Counselors can help patients cope with the pain and stress of fibromyalgia.

Self-care

Lifestyle changes and self-care are critical components in the management of fibromyalgia. 

  •     Stress reduction — It’s important for patients with fibromyalgia to limit overexertion and emotional stress. It’s good to keep working, as remaining active is important. We’ll help you with stress management techniques such as deep-breathing exercises or meditation.
  •     Sleep — Fatigue is one of the main symptoms of fibromyalgia, so getting more sleep is important. We’ll help you with sleep strategies and habits that will improve the quality of your nights.
  •     Exercise — Although it may seem counterintuitive, exercise can decrease your pain. This may not be the case at first, but exercise such as walking, swimming, biking, and water aerobics can be very helpful.

Alternative medicine

With chronic pain conditions, alternative therapies can be effective. That’s why meditation, yoga, and acupuncture have been practiced for thousands of years. 

  •     Acupuncture — This Chinese medical system inserts fine needles through the skin to various depths. The needles cause changes in blood flow and levels of neurotransmitters in the brain and spinal cord.
  •     Massage therapy — Massage can reduce the patient’s heart rate, relax tight muscles to improve range of motion, and increase the body’s production of natural painkillers.
  •     Yoga and tai chi — The combination of meditation, slow movements, deep breathing, and relaxation can be very effective for relieving fibromyalgia symptoms.

If you’re dealing with chronic pain of any sort, we need to hear from you. Call us at (855) 768-4968.

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