Fibromyalgia Treatment

Fibromyalgia Treatment

Fibromyalgia Treatment
Because no underlying disease process is known, doctors aim to treat the symptoms of fibromyalgia. A healthy diet and getting regular, low-impact exercise like yoga, walking or water aerobics are key to maintain your health with fibromyalgia. Your doctor may also prescribe pain medication and recommend support groups or counseling.

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    Chronic, widespread pain -- unlike the pain of, say, a broken bone or an arthritic joint -- is a primary symptom of fibromyalgia. If you have fibromyalgia, finding effective ways to control the pain is essential. Your doctor can prescribe medications that help with the pain, but establishing helpful lifestyle habits, like getting regular exercise, practicing  stress-reduction techniques, and taking steps to avoid your fibromyalgia triggers (which your doctor can help you identify) are also key components of an effective treatment plan. Its important to understand that stress can make fibromyalgia symptoms worse. Finding ways to get your stress under control should help reduce your pain.

    If you are struggling with pain and other persistent fibromyalgia symptoms, tell your doctor.
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    One size doesn't fit all when it comes to treatment options for fibromyalgia. It is not unusual for people with fibromyalgia to talk with several doctors until they find a treatment plan that works for their individual issues. The process can be frustrating because there is not one gold-standrad approach to treating fibromyalgia. Don't wait until you are frustrated with the process, but seek other opinions when you feel you need a different approach to your fibromyalgia care.
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    Cold packs or cold towels can help to relieve fibromyalgia pain. However, many people with fibromyalgia find that heat treatment is an effective pain treatment, too. If you prefer cold therapy, try applying ice packs, cold packs, or cold towels directly to the part of your body that hurts. Ask your doctor how these and other simple pain management strategies can help you control your fibromyalgia symptoms.
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    A , Neurology, answered
    Yoga is a terrific exercise for fibromyalgia because it combines both strength and balance training. Yoga can reduce pain by relieving muscle tightness, inducing relaxation, and reducing stress. It has fairly consistently shown both short- and long-term benefits for reducing a wide range of fibromyalgia symptoms. Researchers from the Oregon Health & Science University randomly assigned 53 women with fibromyalgia -- who had been using a stable treatment regimen of drug and/or nondrug treatment for at least 3 months -- to continue their standard fibromyalgia treatment program or to add eight weekly yoga classes to their treatment. The yoga classes included instruction in meditation, breathing exercises, coping skills, and gentle stretching poses. Participants were advised to practice at home between classes for 20-40 minutes a day.

    In the yoga group, pain, fatigue, and poor sleep were reduced by 20-25%; mood was improved by 39%; and poor memory was reduced by 22%. In the group continuing the standard treatment, each symptom was slightly worse at the end of the study period, except that depression was reduced by 11%. This study teaches us two important things about fibromyalgia. First, yoga can be a helpful addition to your fibromyalgia treatment routine. Second, when you've been using the same treatments for 3 months or more, you probably won't notice substantial additional benefits from continuing the same treatments. So, if your treatment is helpful, keep it up. But if you've been on a stable treatment program for over 3 months and it's not helping, it might be time to try something else, such as yoga.
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    Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that can be successfully managed but, at this time, there is no known cure. Multi-disciplinary approaches for management and relief of symptoms are often recommended. Medications, cognitive behavioral therapies and gentle exercise are the most common combinations. In partnership with a healthcare provider, development of self-management strategies and long-term health goals may reduce the chronic symptoms and the frequency, duration and intensity of periodic flares (rapid increase of symptoms).
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    A , Neurology, answered
    As with most medical conditions, men with fibromyalgia typically delay seeing a physician until their fibromyalgia symptoms are serious and disability has developed. The good news for men with fibromyalgia is that, when they do finally see a doctor, they can expect the same positive results from nondrug treatments as can women. While most medications also are similarly effective for men and women, the antidepressant duloxetine (Cymbalta) has shown good effectiveness for women but not for men.
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    Heat can be an effective treatment for some fibromyalgia symptoms such as pain and stiffness as well as stress. Ask your doctor how heat therapy might help you. Approaches include simple steps such as using heat packs and taking warm baths, and hydortherapy.
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    A , Neurology, answered
    When you leave each appointment, make sure you can answer all of these questions:
    • Which of my symptoms are caused by fibromyalgia?
    • What nondrug treatments do I need to focus on?
    • How should I take my medication?
    • How long should the medicine take to work?
    • What side effects should I watch for?
    • When is my next office visit?
    Don't be afraid to say you don't understand why something was prescribed for you. If you don't understand why a treatment is prescribed, you probably won't use it carefully or consistently. Your doctor should be able to clearly explain the reason for a specific treatment.

    Also, if you're interested in hearing about a specific therapy and maybe trying it, ask whether it might be appropriate for you. Most doctors are eager to consider every treatment that might help you get better, so don't feel as if you might be embarrassing her by asking about different treatments.
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    A multivitamin may be a good idea for people with fibromyalgia, especially one with vitamins C, E and D. Vitamins C and E are powerful antioxidants that appeared to quell oxidative stress and subdue pain in a small study of fibromyalgia patients. Some studies have found that a significant number of fibromyalgia patients are deficient in vitamin D -- and that boosting levels may help improve fibromyalgia-induced anxiety and depression. Similar studies suggest a connection between chronic widespread musculoskeletal pain and low levels of vitamin D. Some research has shown that certain amino acid supplements may help with everything from mood to pain.

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    You can overcome the pain caused by your fibromyalgia by following your doctor's treatment plan, which might include:
    • taking medicines as prescribed
    • maintaining a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise and a balanced diet
    • getting enough sleep
    • practicing relaxation and stress-reducing techniques
    Using a combination of therapies, you should be able to reduce your physical pain and see an increase in your quality of life.