Fibromyalgia is an illness that can affect anyone, of any age. However, it is often seen in women who are over the age of 50 years old. With this being said, is there a cure for fibromyalgia? What treatment options are available for those who do suffer with fibromyalgia?
These are common questions that fibromyalgia sufferers are asking their medical doctors on a day to day basis, as well as doing their own research to determine the answer.
First off, what is fibromyalgia? This is a disorder that can affect your entire body. Those who are suffering with fibromyalgia are going to have chronic pain that can affect their ability to perform everyday tasks.
There are certain pressure points throughout their bodies that will simply ache and be sensitive to the touch. Those who have fibromyalgia may also have a tiredness that renders daily physical activities, even those simple tasks, such as walking to their vehicle, painful and exhausting.
For those who do have fibromyalgia they may often describe themselves as having no energy, being tired and in pain for most their lives.
This illness can take a toll on the body, the mind and the spirit. It is not uncommon for a person to feel as though they miss out on everything due to this illness.
In addition, many people who do have fibromyalgia find that they also have varying degrees of depression. This can be due to the pain and missing out on all that the world has to offer due to the pain.
Finding a cure is a must for this illness. However, currently, fibromyalgia does not have a cure. This should not make a person feel as though they have been given a death sentence with this illness though!
There are several treatment options both medical and homeopathic that can be a great way to treat and control the symptoms the fibromyalgia.
Many people find that with the perfect plan in place that is catered to them, they can get to the point that fibromyalgia is not controlling their lives.
Medications for Treating Fibromyalgia
Medications are often the go-to way of treating fibromyalgia for those who suffer from this. While the pain of fibromyalgia is often the common complaint, there are other issues that go along with this, such as being unable to sleep, having restless leg syndrome at night and the like, which doctors are prescribing medications to treat.
Treating Pain with Medications
Controlling the pain of fibromyalgia is the number one treatment plan for most people, as the pain is often what makes a person feel even worse. There are several pain medications that can be given to a patient with fibromyalgia.
For example, over the counter NSAIDs are often the first approach to dealing with this pain. Many people find that at first, this does work for them.
However, as they age and fibromyalgia continues to run rampant through their body, many people find that the pain becomes worse. Why is this? The endorphins in the patient’s body decrease. In return, the pain becomes greater in the mind of the patient. In these cases, many patients turn to alternative medications to help with the pain.
Some of the more commonly prescribed pain medications for Fibromyalgia include:
- Tylenol #3
In many cases, physicians may recommend psychoactive drugs to help control the pain. This does not mean that the pain is all in the head, as many people would assume. One of the benefits of these medications that was found is that it can lower the pain the person is reporting. These medications may include:
These medications work on the neurotransmitters in the brain, which ultimately affects the pain that a person is feeling.
Sleep is an issue for those who suffer with fibromyalgia. They often find that the pain and other issues that go along with fibromyalgia have become an issue.
The medications that can be useful for this issue include:
- Ambien: meant for short term use, it is considered a hypnotic.
- Desyrel or Trazadone: This is an antidepressant. However, it has been shown to have a great effect on sleep.
- Benadryl: While often thought of for use with those who suffer from allergies, it does have a calming effect on most people and can induce sleep when taken about an hour before bed.
- Elavil: This is an antidepressant that is one of the more affordable medications on the market that is known for helping patients achieve a deep Stage 4 sleep.
- Zoloft: This is commonly prescribed to help with sleep problems, even this is an SSRI and antidepressant.
Many of those who suffer with fibromyalgia find that it is the muscles spasms and twitches that bother them most at night. This can interfere with a restful sleep.
However, these spasms and twitches can also affect their everyday life. Therefore, many patients take a muscle relaxant medication to help deal with many of the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
These medications may include:
- Soma: This is given to help relax the muscles, as it works from the central nervous system. Those who take this often find that it lasts for up to 6 hours at a time. It can also help with the pain of fibromyalgia.
- Klonopin: This helps with muscle twitching and spasms, as well as being a great antianxiety medication.
Several of those who suffer with fibromyalgia also have stomach issues. These stomach issues can include acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome and the like. Many people will develop these to the number of medications they may be taking.
However, one school of theory is that the fibromyalgia is affecting the central nervous system, which is throwing off every system in the body. Some of the commonly prescribed medications for dealing with these stomach issues include:
- Diflucan: This is really an antifungal medication that penetrates the entire body and can be useful for depression as well as helping with stomach issues, specifically IBS.
- Librax: This medication is prescribed for those who specifically have IBS.
- Tagamet or Zantac: These are often given for those who have battling acid reflux disease.
Other issues that may arise for those who suffer with fibromyalgia is depression, allergies, itching of the skin, painful spots throughout the entire body and numerous emotional issues such as anxiety and depression.
However, many of the medications that are treating muscle spasms or pain are going to help with these other issues as well. Some of the medications that are given for various other issues include:
- Atarax: This is an antihistamine and anti-anxiety medications that can be helpful for both anxiety and itching.
- BuSpar: This can help with anxiety and has the benefit of improving memory.
- EMLA: This is a topical lotion that can help with trigger points on the body.
- Hismanal: This is an antihistamine often given to those with serious allergies.
- Imitrex: Great for those who may suffer with migraines from this illness.
- Inderal: This is for the prevention of migraines.
- Potaba: This is a member of the B-vitamins and has been known to help with stubborn pain points throughout the body, including the face.
It should be noted that new medications are coming out daily throughout the world. What is prescribed one day may not be prescribed in a month. However, most of these medications are going to be from the same family as those that have been mentioned to work in the same manner.
Exercise: Does this Really Work?
When a person is first diagnosed with fibromyalgia, they are often told by their care professional to get out and get more exercise. However, this is an issue for many people.
They often have pain and other issues so bad, that getting out to get more exercise is nearly impossible. But, pushing yourself is worth it, as exercise can make a huge difference.
This does not mean that you need to go to the gym and start training for a marathon. Instead, start slowly.
A few suggestions on where to start:
- Take a walk around the neighborhood at your own pace.
- Try a slow walk in a pool, as this can help with the joint pain that you may be feeling. For the ultimate help, utilize a heated pool that is heated to 88 to 94 degrees. For many fibromyalgia patients, exercising in a pool below 88 degrees can cause muscle cramping.
- Walking on a treadmill can also prove beneficial, if you do not overdo this.
Other types of exercises that can be great for those with fibromyalgia include:
- Yoga: This can help with stiffness of the muscles and offer more flexibility which can help ease the pain that you may be having.
- Pilates: Pilates are great for increasing flexibility which can ultimately lead to better muscle functioning. Pilate bands can be a great way to do Pilates at home without having to go to a studio for this exercise.
You should aim for 20 minutes of low impact exercise at least four days per week to see real results. Remember, this can take a while to show results, but in the end your body will be happier with this activity level.
Your Diet Can Make a Huge Difference
The diet in which you have can make a huge difference in what you feel. In fact, with a poor diet, fibromyalgia sufferers often find that they have more pain flare ups versus someone who eats a balanced diet. Eating a balanced diet is the key to success.
However, there are several foods that a person is going to want to avoid, as they are going to find that this increases the pain and muscle weakness that they feel. These foods include:
- Anything that contains aspartame
- Nightshade vegetables: eggplants, tomatillos, potatoes, tomatoes, and green peppers
- Refined sugars
- Simple carbohydrates
Through maintaining a diet that has very little or none of these foods in it, a person will find that their pain is not as severe. In addition, they may have more energy, and overall feel better.
Alternative Treatment Options
There are several alternative treatment options that many fibromyalgia sufferers swear by as being one of the best ways to help with the pain, tenderness or even swelling that is being experienced.
When coupled with medication can be a great way to keep your life as normal as possible. A few of the alternative methods to try include:
With this practice, dry needs are inserted into the skin and tissues throughout specific points on the body. The practitioner will gently twist or manipulate these needles while they are stuck into the body, which causes the release of endorphins from the brain.
This can make your pain go away for a short period. However, studies are suggesting that those who routinely have acupuncture performed are going to find that their quality of life is increased, however, more research is needed to validate this statistic for everyone.
2- Visiting a Chiropractor
A chiropractor can provide relieve from pain and tenderness in muscles throughout the body. In addition to relieving pain, a visit to the chiropractor can help with increasing range of motion for those who suffer with fibromyalgia. Deep tissue massage can also be helpful to those who fibromyalgia, as it is targets a deep layer of the muscles.
Massage can be helpful in relieving pain in the muscles and tissues. This is especially true of Swedish massage that utilizes long strokes, kneading and friction to massage the muscles and tissues.
This can also help in stimulating circulation, which can be an issue for many of those who suffer with fibromyalgia. It should be noted that massage is thought by many sufferers to be one of the best alternative therapies to utilize.
There are several massage products on the market that could allow a person to do this on their own. For example, the Premium Spiky Massage Ball With a 4.5 star rating, with many people stating that it has helped their pain tremendously.
This is a treatment that is meant to help in reducing stress. This uses electronics to measure the stress responses from the body. From here, people can use this information to control their reactions, which can help the overall pain and tension in the body once controlled.
Many of those who suffer with fibromyalgia find that meditation throughout the week can help them tremendously. This gives them a time in which they do not focus on the pain, and simply be.
Meditation can take a while to conquer, with many people starting out at only doing this for ten or so minutes per day.
However, for those who suffer with pain, this could be one way to escape this pain. Those who do perform meditation often report feeling refreshed and able to handle the rest of their day after this practice.
There are several people who swear by herbal treatments. They find that they help them with the pain, depression, muscle weakness and even the pain points that they may be suffering with. There are several different herbs on the market that can be combined to create a great treatment option. For example:
Pain Away with Turmeric, MSM, Boswelia, and Hyaluronic Acid: This is meant to relieve the pain that a person is feeling from their fibromyalgia. It has a 4.3 star rating on Amazon, with many customer reviews stating that after taking this for a few weeks they are seeing results in the level of pain they are experiencing.
Fibralgia by Nature’s Sunshine: This product is a combination of malic acid and magnesium which is meant to help with muscle discomfort along with fatigue. The product has a 4.0 star rating.
There are also herbal remedies that are not meant to be taken internally. For example:
Cool Relief Joint and Muscle Pain Cream by Wild Herb Soap Co: This has a 4.0 star rating. The customer reviews often state that it seems to work best with deep nerve pain, which is often what fibromyalgia sufferers are dealing with.
Some of the most beneficial herbs for fibromyalgia treatment are:
- John’s Wort
- Ginko Biloba
- Red Clover
- Griffonia Simplicifolia
- Kava Kava
- White Willow
One key aspect to remember about herbal treatments is that they do take longer to work when compared to prescription medications.
In addition, be sure to talk with your doctor about taking herbal supplements in addition to what you are currently taking.
Herbs should be looked at as a drug, thus they can have interactions with medications that you may be taking.
For those who suffer with fibromyalgia, there are several treatment options available. A combination of several is what most people find to be the most effective.
It is important to discuss with your doctor all treatment options and plan this per what your individual needs are.