Fibromyalgia is a condition that has been a fairly new diagnosis but many people have suffered with it for many years. It is a musculoskeletal disorder that is known to bring about chronic pain in the individual who has it. Fibromyalgia patients are apt to have pain and tender points in certain areas of the body, such as the neck, back, shoulders, hips, arms, and legs. These tender points may present themselves in other parts of the body, too.
It is believed that a miscommunication between the brain and the body and it results in chronic pain. The patients with fibromyalgia have pain receptors that are overly sensitive to nerve or pain sensations. The exact cause for fibromyalgia is unknown, but it seems that after surgery, an infection, or some type of physical trauma brings on the condition. Not all people with fibromyalgia can even think of the event that may have triggered their disorder. Women are more likely to have fibromyalgia. It is found that it can run in families.
There is no cure for the condition, but diligent symptom control will allow a patient to have a normal life. The ultimate goal is to manage the pain and adopt lifestyle changes that will alleviate some of the symptoms. The symptoms of fibromyalgia are not progressive, so a person can expect that the pain will not worsen.
No single treatment is successful for everyone, so it is very individualized. Most patients will utilize several different types of treatments to achieve symptom control. This includes medication, self-care, and alternate therapies.
– Medication: There are many over-the-counter medications that your doctor may recommend for you. Sometimes prescription medications may be prescribed and/or physical therapy.
– OTC: acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve)
– Prescription: Tramadol
– Antidepressants: Cymbalta, Elavil, Prozac, and Effexor for pain, fatigue, and insomnia.
– Anti-seizure medication: Gabapentin or Lyrica to reduce pain.
– Self-Care: There may be a need for dietary changes as some foods aggravate pain or irritable bowel syndrome in some patients. New exercise regimens may be suggested by the primary physician as well as dietary supplements. Here are some other self-care interventions:
– hot or cold packs in areas that are aching or painful
– gentle stretches that helps with flexibility and encourages blood circulation
– practicing good posture
– avoiding alcohol
– going to bed and get up at the same time each morning to establish a good sleep routine
– daily relaxation techniques
– managing physical and emotional stress
– limiting overexertion
– stress management activities
– Alternative Treatments: Many patients report having achieved benefits while participating or using alternative treatments. Most of them are not harmful in any way plus they offer stress relief. Pain can be worse with stress so alleviate stress will help minimize the pain experienced in many cases. Try some or all of the alternative treatments available:
– herbal medicine
– myofascial release therapy
– osteopathic manipulation
– tai chi
– massage therapy