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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    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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    Compared with aerobics and strength training, less research has been done on the benefits of stretching for people with fibromyalgia. But some findings do suggest that stretching exercises, including those used in physical therapy and yoga, may help improve fibromyalgia symptoms, such as reducing overall stiffness, improving muscular flexibility, and enhancing well-being.

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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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    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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    A , Orthopedic Surgery, answered
    Great Question. Fibromyalgia is a diagnosis of exclusion for an Orthopedic Surgeon meaning when all surgical/non surgical causes are ruled out fibromyalgia is considered. An Orthopedic Surgeon, Rheumatologist , Internist all have different level of training for this problem. If you have fibromyalgia see a few different consultants. 
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    Ideally, the minimum number of medical team members required to treat a person with fibromyalgia must include:
    • A doctor to oversee the overall treatment regimen including prescribing and monitoring medications.
    • A complementary medical professional to guide the person with fibromyalgia in discerning what type of alternative therapy protocols might be beneficial, such as an aerobic exercise program. This healthcare professional also monitors the program’s success, makes appropriate activity changes and motivates the patient.
    • A mental health expert adept at cognitive behavior therapy who can also counsel people in learning how to make adjustments in their lives to accommodate changes that naturally occur when living with a chronic illness.
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    A , Neurology, answered
    Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps in the treatment of fibromyalgia by changing how you think about your pain.

    CBT helps you change your thoughts from negative to positive. Negative thoughts about fibromyalgia include catastrophic thinking that the pain will never improve, that nothing you can do will help, and that achieving pain relief is hopeless. Typical negative thoughts might be:
    • "I'll never get better."
    • "It's hopeless."
    • "I'm doomed to spend my days on the couch."
    • "Nothing I do for pain makes a difference."
    CBT teaches you to give yourself positive messages.
    • "I'm taking control of my fibromyalgia, one day at a time."
    • "If I take a break and practice some pain techniques, my pain level will become more manageable."
    • "I'll schedule my activities more carefully so I don't do too much and get wiped out."
    • "Sticking with my exercise program will help reduce my disability."
    CBT helps you set realistic goals. Don't expect your treatment to cure your fibromyalgia. Realistic goals might include:
    • Decrease pain severity from severe to moderate
    • Decrease the time you spend in bed or lying on the sofa
    • Increase your ability to do household chores and attend family activities and social functions
    • Reduce problems with mood or anxiety
    • Improve sleep
    • Improve bowel function
    • Reduce your reliance on medications
    Try setting specific goals for yourself. Instead of "wanting to be more active," set targets such as "being able to shop for 20 minutes," "being able to walk 20 minutes each day," and "being able to cook dinner for the family."

    Schedule your tasks for success. You'll be more successful if you break tasks into smaller segments. For example, if you want to do the laundry, load and run the machine in the morning, then do your stretching exercises, followed by a 10-minute walk. Switch clothes to the dryer in the afternoon and practice some deep breathing. Finally, fold the clothes while sitting down watching television in the evening. If you break tasks down and take breaks between segments, it will be easier to accomplish your goals.
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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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    A , Family Medicine, answered
    How effective are the treatment options for fibromyalgia?
    There are great treatment options for fibromyalgia, especially if there is a comprehensive plan for using different treatments at the same time. In this video, family medicine specialist Jennifer Caudle, DO, discusses some options that can help.
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    A , Neurology, answered
    Many different types of physicians treat patients with fibromyalgia, including:
    • Primary care doctors (family physicians or internists)
    • Rheumatologists
    • Physiatrists (rehabilitation specialists)
    • Neurologists
    • Pain management specialists
    Rheumatologists are sometimes considered arthritis specialists. Although fibromyalgia is not a disease of the joints or a type of arthritis, rheumatologists often also specialize in treating it. In many cases, primary care physicians, including family doctors or internists, can effectively manage the symptoms of fibromyalgia. If your primary care doctor has failed to achieve good results, you may wish to see a rheumatologist or other fibromyalgia or pain specialist.

    In many cases, you might also work with other healthcare professionals who offer effective fibromyalgia treatments. These might include:
    • Behavioral psychologists -- to teach you specific pain management skills.
    • Physical therapists or exercise trainers -- to develop and monitor exercise programs and address additional muscle or joint problems.
    • Occupational therapists -- to address scheduling, problems with getting tasks done, or issues at work.
    • Nutritionists -- to address diet, weight management, and the use of herbs and supplements.
    Don't forget that you are the most important member of your healthcare treatment team. Your healthcare providers can give you the tools you need to help reduce your fibromyalgia symptoms and the impact these symptoms have on your life, but the success of your treatment depends on your commitment and motivation to incorporate the treatments into your daily life.