Fibromyalgia Treatment

Fibromyalgia Treatment

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  • 3 Answers
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    ACeleste Cooper, Rheumatology, answered

    TENS units have been found effective in reducing the pain caused by myofascial trigger points (MTrPs) without altering the signals in the muscle fiber. They can help improve range of motion. However, direct massage with pressure at the trigger point is most beneficial in getting the MTrP to release. In the mean time, a TENS unit, including microstimulation units help soften muscles so underlying TrPs can be located.

    Caution - electrical units may cause the same symptoms as aggressive manual treatment, such as nausea and increased fatigue. Take care not to overdo, to rest, and to drink plenty of water. As always discuss this with your doctor. There are instances when electrical stimulation units are contraindicated and one must be trained in electrode placement.

    All blogs, posts and answers are based on the work in Integrative Therapies for Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Myofascial Pain: The Mind-Body Connection by Celeste Cooper, RN, and Jeff Miller, PhD. 2010, Vermont: Healing Arts press

     

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    There is no cure for fibromyalgia, but it isn't a life-threatening condition, and it won't cause any permanent damage. Even better, it can often be controlled with the proper treatment, and many cases get better as time goes by. Regular exercise and a combination of medications can help minimize the symptoms associated with fibromyalgia. Keeping stress levels low and staying on a regular sleep schedule can make a big difference as well. Researchers continue to study fibromyalgia in hopes of learning more about the disorder and some day finding a cure.

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    AMehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered

    Fibromyalgia is a notoriously challenging condition to treat. However, there are a number of therapies to consider, so look for a doctor who understands the condition and can help you develop an effective treatment regimen. Your plan for managing fibromyalgia may include:

    • Medications. There are three drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treating fibromyalgia. They are pregabalin (Lyrica), duloxetine (Cymbalta), and milnacipran (Savella). Your doctor may also prescribe antidepressants, which appear to relieve fibromyalgia symptoms even if you aren't depressed. Over-the-counter pain relievers may help, too. Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may prescribe other medications, in addition.
    • Sleep aids. Fibromyalgia can really mess up your shut-eye. Some fibromyalgia medications can help you sleep better. Following good sleep habits, such as avoiding caffeine and alcohol late in the day, can help you get some rest, too.
    • Exercise. Some fibromyalgia patients worry that exercise will worsen their symptoms, but research suggests that the opposite is true. Ask your doctor what level of physical activity is right for you.
    • Alternative treatments. With your doctor's consent, trying acupuncture, chiropractic, and dietary supplements may help you to keep pain and other symptoms under control.
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    ACeleste Cooper, Rheumatology, answered
    Dizziness can be a symptom of many things and is taken care of by treating the underlying cause.

    There are several conditions that coexist with FM and CFS that can cause lightheadedness. Even more significant is research that suggests both POTS and NMH occur more frequently in chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. Postural orthostatic tachycardia (POTS) and neutrally mediated hypotension (NMH) can cause extreme dizziness and alter one's ability to function. Both are treated by increasing blood volume with hydration and possibly a medication to help the body conserve its water.

    Dizziness can mean many things and is not a symptom to take lightly. If you experience this symptom discuss it with your doctor so the appropriate tests can be ordered to determine the cause. If dizziness comes on suddenly, seek immediate treatment.
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    AJacob Teitelbaum, Integrative Medicine, answered

    Light and sound sensitivity are not uncommon in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and fibromyalgia, as it takes energy to sort the pertinent sensory information from the non-pertinent. Adding the medication neurontin (gabapentin) often helps these symptoms. In addition, if taste and smell sensitivity also are present, it is worth looking for carbon monoxide poisoning (from natural gas, gas lights and ovens, etc).

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    For relief from excessive sweating, try some of the following remedies:
    • Before sleep, apply antiperspirant to dry hands and feet.
    • Wear loose, breathable clothing made of natural fibers such as cotton and bamboo. When you exercise, wear clothing made of moisture-wicking material.
    • Botox injections for problem areas, such as hands or feet, can be an effective treatment against excessive sweating. Several injections are usually required, and the treatment can last up to a year. Discuss this option with your doctor.
    • In severe cases, your doctor may recommend surgery, or a treatment called iontophoresis, in which an electric current is sent through water to stun the nerves of the affected area, such as the hands or feet. Multiple treatments are required, but the procedure can be up to 80% effective.
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