Table of Contents
- See a Physician for a Treatment Plan
- Medical Treatments
- Natural Remedies
- Keep Trying Treatment Options
Fibromyalgia pain is widespread in the body, making it difficult to function throughout the day when experiencing an episode. As of now, there is no underlying medical condition identified as the source of pain in fibromyalgia patients. Since each person’s case is unique, finding fibromyalgia pain relief might mean experimenting with a variety of pain relief options until finding the regimen that works best.
See a Physician for a Treatment Plan
People will need to see a physician when they develop fibromyalgia to learn how to relieve fibromyalgia pain. The physician will first do a physical exam and order blood tests to rule out other medical conditions that may cause widespread pain.
Once diagnosed with fibromyalgia, the typical fibromyalgia therapy plan will include self-care, prescription or over-the-counter medications and perhaps physical therapy. For some patients seeking fibromyalgia pain, relief natural treatments are preferred. It is important to discuss the many treatment options and preferences with the physicians in order to develop a plan that works best.
Prescription fibromyalgia pain killers are often not the first option tried unless the pain is intense and enduring. Fibromyalgia patients can try over-the-counter medications first. If they do not work, the physician will suggest a more powerful prescription medication.
There are many over-the-counter pain relief medications that might help. They include:
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol, Anacin, Excedrin, etc.)
- Ibuprofen (Motrin IB, Advil, Nuprin, etc.)
- Naproxen sodium (Aleve, Naprosyn, etc.
It should be noted that people try NSAIDs, like Advil and Aleve, but they may or may not help. Those with lupus or rheumatoid arthritis are more likely to develop fibromyalgia, so the Arthritis Foundation stays current on medical research. The Arthritis Foundation notes that drugs like NSAIDs and opioids have not proven effective for fibromyalgia pain.
The FDA has approved three prescription medications to treat fibromyalgia.
- Duloxetine (brand name Cymbalta) – anti-depressant
- Milnacipran (brand name Savella) – anti-depressant
- Pregabalin (brand name Lyrica) – anti-seizure
There are other pain reliever medications prescribed by physicians, like Ultram (Tramadol), but only because they have worked for some fibromyalgia patients. The anti-depressants and anti-seizure medications are prescribed because some scientists believe emotional distress and the way the brain is perceiving pain contributes to fibromyalgia pain.
Since sleep is so important to health and managing anxiety, the physician may prescribe a sleep aid medication. This is especially true if pain is causing sleep disruptions.
Beyond prescription medications, the two main categories of medical treatments for fibromyalgia pain relief are physical therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy.
Physical therapy can help patients with learning the types of exercises that can improve muscle and joint flexibility. It also helps the patient build up stamina and strength.
Physical therapy can also address issues like tight muscles around the spine that may be increasing pain.
Chronic pain is driven by many factors that include biochemical imbalances and pain signaling. It is also associated with the perception of pain in the brain. Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps people change their negative thought patterns that are aggravating the awareness of pain. Some researchers believe fibromyalgia patients may have an increased sensitivity to pain in the brain.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is not used alone. It is combined with other types of treatments.
Skin biopsy is a safe, minimally invasive, painless and cheap tool for providing diagnostic information on SFN (Small Fiber Neuropathy). Once SFN has been diagnosed, focused screening (e.g. glucose tolerance test) and treatment of neuropathic pain or fibromyalgia can begin. More details about this treatment plan is here.
It is tempting to forgo exercise when suffering with fibromyalgia, but that is precisely the wrong thing to do. Exercise contributes to better sleep, muscle flexibility and lower stress. Low-impact aerobic activities are often beneficial, like walking and biking. Water aerobics and swimming are also recommended because the water provides support.
Aerobic exercises are an ideal treatment for fibromyalgia pain. Aerobic exercises increase the heart rate which improves oxygen flow, among other benefits.
Some fibromyalgia patients have found that certain supplements may help to reduce pain and improve general well-being. They include vitamin D, soy, magnesium, turmeric and creatine. Supplements that promote serotonin production may also help, like SAM-e and 5-HTP.
A host of fibromyalgia pain relief products are sold. They include:
- Topical creams
- Lumbar support pillows
- Heating and ice pads
- Wrist rests
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) unit
Other Natural Remedies
Natural remedies for fibromyalgia pain relief also include:
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Eating well-balanced nutritional meals
- Relaxation strategies – deep breathing exercises, meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, etc.
People have tried so many different ways to get relief from the unrelenting pain of fibromyalgia. The only way to find out what works is to try the different options and products.
Keep Trying Treatment Options
Since the cause of fibromyalgia pain has not been pinpointed, there is no single treatment plan available. There is no cure. It can be discouraging, but it is important for the patient to continue trying various treatments until finding the mix of options that work best. It is worth the experimentation to find fibromyalgia pain relief.