Fibromyalgia Treatment

Fibromyalgia Treatment Options for Managing Pain and Other Symptoms


One of the first lines of treatment for fibromyalgia is non-drug approaches. Lifestyle changes and alternative therapies can help reduce pain and fatigue when used alongside other fibromyalgia treatments. Getting adequate sleep, exercising regularly, and managing stress are pillars of non-medicinal fibromyalgia management.

Sleep is vital for fibromyalgia patients, as lack of quality rest can exacerbate symptoms. Developing a relaxing bedtime routine and sticking to a consistent sleep-wake schedule can make it easier to fall and stay asleep. Stress is another trigger for fibromyalgia flares. Practicing relaxation techniques such as yoga, tai chi, meditation and deep breathing can take the edge off.

Low-impact exercises like swimming and water aerobics are ideal for Fibromyalgia Treatment. Even just 20 minutes of walking per day can relieve stiffness and boost mood. Physical therapy can teach stretching and strength exercises tailored to individual needs and abilities. Massage therapy may temporarily reduce fibromyalgia pain and tenderness. Acupuncture is also used to control pain and improve function in fibromyalgia patients.

Medications for Fibromyalgia Treatment

While lifestyle modifications are a backbone of fibromyalgia care, medications are usually needed to adequately control symptoms for most patients. The goal of drug therapy is to reduce pain, improve sleep quality, boost energy levels and enhance daily function and quality of life.

Over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen work for mild fibromyalgia pain but may not touch moderate to severe tenderness. Prescription medications have greater effectiveness for more persistent fibromyalgia pain and associated symptoms. Many patients require a combination of different drug classes for optimal relief.

Antidepressants are commonly prescribed to treat fibromyalgia. Older tricyclic antidepressants like amitriptyline and newer selective serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) like duloxetine and milnacipran are Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved for fibromyalgia. In addition to being effective pain relievers, antidepressants can also improve sleep, fatigue and mood.

Anticonvulsants gabapentin and pregabalin are another first-line drug choice for fibromyalgia treatment. Both ease diffuse muscle and joint aching along with symptoms. They have fewer side effects than some other options like tricyclic antidepressants.

For sleep problems, benzodiazepines may transiently help but have addiction potential with long-term use. Non-benzodiazepine sleep aids like zolpidem or eszopiclone are generally safer alternatives.

Some patients experiment with low-dose naltrexone off-label to modulate pain and tenderness. Savella (milnacipran), Cymbalta (duloxetine) and Lyrica (pregabalin) are FDA-approved fibromyalgia drugs that can relieve multiple symptoms when other therapies prove ineffective or insufficient alone. Medication choice depends on individual factors, response, and tolerability.

Complementary Treatments for Fibromyalgia

Adjunctive or complementary treatments combined with core therapies may better address fibromyalgia’s multi-faceted nature. Nutritional changes and herbal supplements are popular additional options.

A balanced, nutrient-rich whole foods diet promoting gut health may aid general wellness. Common supplements studied for fibromyalgia include magnesium, malic acid (found in fruits), SAMe, turmeric, ginger and probiotics. Evidence shows omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil help with fibromyalgia pain and stiffness when consumed regularly over months.

Many patients have also found relief with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) which reframes unhelpful thoughts that can worsen pain perception. Other mind-body practices like mindfulness meditation train relaxation and acceptance of chronic symptoms. Support groups offer camaraderie with others living with this condition.

Overall fibromyalgia treatment aims for active self-management tailored to the individual. An integrated plan of lifestyle modification, medication guidance from a rheumatologist, exercise therapy from a physical therapist as needed, plus complementary therapies has the highest likelihood of improving day-to-day function and quality of life over the long haul. The key is finding what combination of core interventions and adjunctive supplements work best for the person.

With a stepwise approach, fibromyalgia symptoms can often be moderated, and everyday enjoyment regained. An open discussion with the treatment team about goals, concerns and options holds the most promise for effective fibromyalgia management.

1.  Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
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