Fibromyalgia Treatment

Pros and Cons of Fibromyalgia Treatments

There are several fibromyalgia treatments that are available those who do suffer with this issue. This illness affects numerous people throughout the world each and every day.

It can make having a normal, daily life almost impossible due to the pain and inflammation that accompanies fibromyalgia. This issue is just now really beginning to be understood.

Years ago, many people just assumed they had something that was internally wrong, they had the never-ending flu, or the like.

In many cases, doctors would have told patients that the symptoms they complained of were simply in their heads and not real. Luckily, we know better now!

The symptoms of fibromyalgia include having tender points throughout the body, feeling extremely tired, and also having sleeplessness.

Those who have fibromyalgia often find that the quality of life that they once had is no longer there.

They may feel as though they cannot do certain things in fear of being unable to do these. They also may suffer with severe depression due to the way in which their lives are changing.

It is for this reason that there are numerous different treatment options on the market for those who suffer with fibromyalgia. Some of the more common treatment options that patients are given include:

  1. Aerobic exercise
  2. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  3. Biofeedback
  4. Cymbalta aka Duloxetine
  5. Milnacipran aka Savella
  6. Physical Therapy
  7. Seizure Drugs
  8. Tai Chi
  9. Massage
  10. Pain Medications

Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of the more common treatment options that are out there.

The treatments listed beforehand are only a small sampling of what is out there, as there are new treatments being This could help fibromyalgia patients to determine what treatment option they should try and which ones should be considered a last-ditch effort for helping with their fibromyalgia.

Aerobic Exercise for fibromyalgia

Aerobic Exercise: What Harm Can Come from This?

One of the most common treatment options that doctors will start with is recommending that the patient start with aerobic exercise.

It has been found that those who workout are going to feel better in the long run, and this can help with the chronic pain, muscle stiffness and the sleeplessness that they may be feeling. The pros of this treatment option include:

  • Can help with overall body function
  • Improves the quality of life for those who stick with this
  • Is easy enough to afford compared to medications that may be on the market
  • Special exercises such as classes designed for those who fibromyalgia at your local gym could be even more helpful!

With this being said, there is one big con of utilizing this treatment option. This is the pain that a person may feel while they are doing this.

While it can improve the pain after the person has gotten accustomed to this new routine, they will find that until they get to this point it could cause the pain to get worse.

That is why many people start this treatment option but never continue this long enough to truly reap the benefits that it can offer.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for fibromyalgia

Changing Your Mind with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a popular option for many people who suffer with fibromyalgia.

This treatment option is going to focus on changing the way in which you react to the situations that you may be presented when you suffer with fibromyalgia.

For example, you may be taught a better approach for dealing with the pain of fibromyalgia or learning more about the triggers that may cause your pain to flare up. Some of the benefits of this treatment option include:

  • It can help to improve your sleep
  • It also helps to improve your coping skills, important for those who have fibromyalgia
  • Depression is often lessened when a person utilizes this type of treatment

However, the drawbacks of this type of treatment include the fact that many people do not report results until they have met with this therapist at least twenty times!

For many people this can become a very expensive route as their insurance may only approve a handful of visits.

In addition, it can be very hard to find a therapist who deals with this type of therapy and fibromyalgia. Thus, it could result in some traveling for a patient who wants to focus on this type of treatment.

Biofeedback for fibromyalgia

Biofeedback: The New Age Therapy

This is a newer the pray that utilizes sensors to monitor your body’s reaction. From there, you learn how to control certain body processes that could be affecting your health with fibromyalgia.

For example, those who believe in biofeedback often states that after a few sessions a person could learn how to control their own blood pressure without the use of medication to do this.

This type of treatment could offer significant help in dealing with the pain and headaches that are often accompanying those who have fibromyalgia.

In addition, it can help the person to better relax. However, on the opposite side of the spectrum, there is no real data that supports biofeedback working.

And in the cases that people claim it does work, they often have to use this treatment in conjunction with behavioral therapy.

This brings about the issue of affording this care, as many insurance companies are not going to approve biofeedback, thus the costs are often out of the pocket of those who suffer. In addition, it could take as many as ten sessions to see results.

Cymbalta for fibromyalgia

Cymbalta: Help with Depression and Pain

For many of those who suffer with fibromyalgia, one of the biggest issues they face is the pain and depression that comes along with this issue.

The use of Duloxetine or Cymbalta, as it is commonly known as, was designed for those with fibromyalgia.

This medicine has been improved by the FDA. It does help increase the activity of serotonin and norepinephrine.

Both are going to help with depression and help in halting the pain signals that are being produced in the brain.

Those who have tried this medication found that half of those who try this find that their pain is reduced by 30% to 40%. In addition, they often state that their depression and fatigue are lessened dramatically.

The drawbacks of this drug are that there are side effects. These side effects can include nausea, constipation, fatigue, headache, insomnia and diarrhea.

For many the pain decrease of only 30 to 40% does not warrant the side effects that are associated with this drug.

Milnacipran for fibromyalgia

Depression Relief with Milnacipran

The depression that is associated with fibromyalgia often increases the pain and fatigue that the person is feeling.

This is why the FDA has been approving many antidepressants for use in those who have fibromyalgia.

Milnacipran otherwise known as Savella is considered an antidepressant that has been approved by the FDA.

This is very similar to Cymbalta, and works in the same manner. It can help with pain and depression, which is the benefits of taking this.

On the other side, the cons of medication are something that gives many people second thoughts.

For one, the pain decrease that this can offer is not as prominent as many people would like, especially when you put into the mix the side effects that this can cause.

These side effects can include stomach pain, headache and insomnia, many things that a person is dealing with when they have fibromyalgia in the first place.

Physical Therapy for fibromyalgia

Physical Therapy as Exercise

Many people decide to utilize physical therapy as a way to deal with their fibromyalgia. This can help to increase physical fitness, along with helping with the ability to function normally in terms of moving.

You may find that when using this treatment, you are going to be more flexible, which could help with the overall pain that you are feeling. A few positives about this treatment option include:

  • This can improve your overall strength
  • Relieve the muscle pain that often comes along with having fibromyalgia
  • This therapy can teach you how to do activities to help avoid the pain and fatigue

However, for those who do utilize physical therapy, they are going to find that this could make the pain worse at the start of this therapy.

Since this is going to be working the body, just as if you were exercising, the pain could become worse at the beginning. However, if you were to stick to this, you are going to find that it could help in the long run.

Seizure Medications: Reducing the Pain

Many studies have found that those who utilize seizure medications are going to find that this can greatly reduce the pain in which they feel.

Therefore, many doctors often prescribe seizure medications as a way to deal with the pain. This can help the person deal with day to day activities much easier.

This is one of the main benefits of utilizing this type of medication. In addition, studies have found that this can also help with the sleep quality that the person has, making it easier to get to sleep and to have a restful night’s sleep.

One of the biggest drawbacks of this medication is that most people only report that it reduces the pain by around 30 to 40%. And in all of those who take this, only about half of these people are showing results.

Thus, it could be something that does not help you. There are also some side effects that the person is going to want to notice as these can be severe and affect their daily happiness.

For instance, it can cause dry mouth, headache, difficult concentrating, dizziness and stomach issues. For many, the side effects make their fibromyalgia even worse.

Tai Chi for fibromyalgia

Tai Chi: Utilizing Martial Arts for Better Health?

For many, the idea of utilizing Tai Chi is difficult. They don’t find the idea of using martial arts as something that is going to benefit them.

However, it is the gentle movements of this martial arts that make it beneficial to those who try it.

In addition, the breathing that accompanies this exercise can be great in helping those who have fibromyalgia pain.

The benefits of this exercise are that it can reduce pain, depression, anxiety and help improve the quality of sleep of the person. The deep breathing and gentle movements work together to achieve these results.

This is one of those treatment options that has little to no drawbacks.  A study found that those who stuck with Tai Chi saw an 80% improvement in fibromyalgia patients overall.

And since this is so gentle, it often does not hurt as much as other types of exercises. Thus, it is worthy of consideration for treating the pain and other issues that go along with fibromyalgia.

However, it should be noted that in order to start this practice, you have to do this on your own. You are going to find that this is not something that insurance will pay for. Thus, if you take classes, the expense of these are all your own.

massage for fibromyalgia

Massage: A Great Option

Massage is another treatment option that many people are taking advantage of. This manipulates the muscles in a way to help relieve the pain and tension that a person may be holding in their bodies.

The benefits of this treatment plan are that it can help you to feel looser in your muscles, reduce the anxiety that you may be feeling due to the pain, and it can actually help your body to feel better. In most cases, insurance may help pay for these visits if they are viewed as a medical necessity.

The drawbacks of massage are that it can be painful for some at the beginning of a massage.

This is especially true if they are having pain from their tender points that day. However, if the person can stand to see this massage out, they will feel better once it ends.

In addition, it should be noted that massage is a treatment plan, it is not a solution. Thus, many people go several times per month in order to get the results that they want.

Pain Medications: Often a Last Resort Treatment

Why are pain medications often a last resort treatment? Mainly because these can carry some risk.

While it is okay for a person to take over the counter pain medications for their pain and inflammation, when the pain becomes a serious issue and other treatment options have been exhausted, many doctors prescribe pain medications.

This can help to relieve the pain for hours at a time, which is one of the main benefits of these. However, there are several drawbacks.

Many of these prescribed pain medications are going to cause a person to become drowsy, or they may feel as though they have a ‘medicine head’.

Thus, in these cases, a person will find that they may not be able to function normally in life as they would without the pain medication in their system.

Secondly, pain medications can easily become addictive, and the body can become accustomed to the dosage, which results in higher doses having to be prescribed to the person.

In addition, these medications can cause side effects that can make fibromyalgia feel worse, such as headaches once the medication is out of the body, a mind fog, and even stomach issues.

Why Consider Treatment Pros and Cons?

With the top treatment options being examined, why should a person consider the pros and cons of each treatment option? There are several reasons.

However, the most important is that this gives them an idea of what to expect. Many of the treatment options that were mentioned say success in fifty percent or so of patients. Through knowing this, you are going to find that your expectations are realistic.

Secondly, through knowing the pros and cons of each treatment option, you can decide if this is a treatment option that you want to consider.

Many people are going to find that when it comes to medications, they can have a bit more so say in whether they use this or not.

Many people prefer to utilize more natural methods for treating their symptoms, which is a personal decision to make.

It is important to note that the pros and cons of each treatment option are the average. Especially when it comes to medications, they may be some drawbacks that are considered mild or likely not to happen, as they are so random.

However, a doctor can better describe what to expect with medications that may be used for treatment. In the end, the idea of fibromyalgia is to find a way to deal with what this illness causes, while still maintaining a high quality of life.

It may take a few treatment plans to achieve the success that you want, but it can be found.

There are people who suffer with fibromyalgia everyday who find the treatment that works for them, allowing them to return to their normal activities and enjoy life!

About the author

Heather Sallee

Heather Sallee

Heather Sallee is a freelancer content writer and social media manager who works from home, and has been in this field for the past 7 years. There are numerous subjects that she loves to write about including family, health, technology and marketing. With an AA in Communications and an AA in English, writing on a variety of subjects comes naturally. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with her two kids, husband, and four dogs.

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