What are the treatment options for fibromyalgia?

Dr. Jennifer N. Caudle, DO
Family Practitioner

Fibromyalgia patients never need worry about being bored by limited treatment options. Family medicine specialist Dr. Jennifer Caudle describes the wide range of therapies that are effective.

Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum
Integrative Medicine Specialist

Effective treatment is available for 91% of cases. This doesn't mean a cure in all cases (although this does occur in some cases, including in my own case) but rather marked improvement in 50% and significant improvement in another 41%.

My book (From Fatigued to Fantastic!) and website discuss over 300 helpful treatments. More importantly, tools are available to help you know which ones are most likely to be useful in your individual case.

Opana is oxymorphone. It is approved to be used for moderate to severe pain or anxiety. Fibromyalgia is treated using many of the medications that you are already taking. Non-medication therapies are also recommended. Some examples are: light aerobics, water therapy, breathing exercises and yoga, just to name a few. Before starting anything, though, discuss any changes to your routine with your physician. Some research suggests that cherry juice may have some benefits for runners to decrease pain after a race. Peptide shots are being studied for allergic diseases, to decrease the allergic reaction. Herbal remedies, such as tart cherry extract and peptide shot, have not been been approved by the FDA and the safety and efficacy of these products are not well known. Do not start any new medications or herbal supplements without first talking to your doctor.

Treatment options for fibromyalgia:

  • apply moist heat twice daily on affected areas
  • do neck and back exercises
  • do stretches to keep your muscles flexible
  • walk daily to improve endurance and end fatigue (start slowly and increase gradually over time)
  • work on quality of sleep and stress control
  • lose weight
  • talk to your doctor about medications to ease pain and help with anxiety and sleep problems
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More About this Book

Diet for a Pain-Free Life: A Revolutionary Plan to Lose Weight, Stop Pain, Sleep Better and Feel Great in 21 Days, ADA...sound nutritional, delicious..a godsend to pain sufferers.

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Because no underlying disease process is known, medical treatment is aimed at treating symptoms of fibromyalgia. It can involve muscle relaxants, medications to relieve pain, and low-dose antidepressants to help mood, fatigue, and sleep. Three drugs have been approved expressly for treating fibromyalgia: pregabalin (Lyrica), an anti-seizure medication that blocks pain signals from the central nervous system, and the antidepressants duloxetine (Cymbalta) and milnacipran (Savella).

One of the most effective treatments for fibromyalgia is to take very good care of yourself. A routine of gentle stretching exercises and low-impact aerobic exercise, like swimming or cycling, is very important in relieving stiffness and preserving muscle tone. Adequate sleep, naturally, is also essential to minimizing fatigue. Many women with fibromyalgia have benefited from acupuncture and massage therapy as well as from practicing biofeedback, relaxation, and stress reduction. Finally, the value of psychological support can't be underrated when dealing with an often puzzling chronic condition. You may find a fibromyalgia support group in your area through the National Fibromyalgia Association.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

If coping with your fibromyalgia has got you down, here's a reason to be optimistic: There are many treatment options for this frustrating condition. Getting relief may simply be a matter of finding the one that works for you. 

Medications make up the foundation of most treatment plans for fibromyalgia. There are three drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treating the condition. They include duloxetine (Cymbalta), milnacipran (Savella), and pregabalin (Lyrica). Other medicines that may be prescribed for fibromyalgia include:

  • Pain relievers - These may include over-the-counter drugs such as ibuprofen (Advil and others) and acetaminophen (Tylenol) or stronger  prescription medications.
  • Antidepressants - Some drugs designed to treat depression seem to relieve fibromyalgia symptoms, too
  • Benzodiazepines - These prescription medications can help relax tense muscles and ease other fibromyalgia symptoms.

Your doctor may prescribe other medications to help you control fibromyalgia symptoms. Then again, there's a lot you can do on your own to manage this condition. Making certain lifestyle changes, such as exercising more and improving your sleep habits, can help control symptoms. Many different forms of alternative and complementary medicine, ranging from massage to herbal remedies, have been used to treat fibromyalgia, too. If you decide to try an alternative treatment for fibromyalgia, tell your doctor.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.