Fibromyalgia Treatment

There is presently no cure for fibromyalgia, but there are several treatments available that can help to reduce the pain and fatigue and bring other symptoms under control, leading to a more active life.

Medications for Fibromyalgia

There are several medications that have been FDA specifically for the treatment of fibromyalgia These have been shown to be effective at reducing pain and improving function in those with fibromyaglia. These include

  • Duloxetine (Cymbalta®)
  • Pregabaline (Lyrica®)
  • Milnacipran (Savella®)

Your doctor may prescribe one of these medications to help get fibromyalgia symptoms under control.

Several of antidepressants, such as amitriptyline, are also commonly prescribed to reduce the pain and improve the sleep of those with fibromyalgia. They are typcially prescribed in smaller doses than used to treat depression. Although researchers aren't sure why antidepressants work, their effectiveness may come from their ability to modulate pain and restore normal sleep patterns.

Over-the counter pain medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen and acetaminophen may help take the "edge" off of fibromyalgia pain and lessen stiffness. But the effects vary from patient to patient.

Exercise for Fibromyalgia

A program of stretching and gentle, progressive aerobic exercise of gradually increasing intensity helps many patients. Walking or swimming can provide a good workout with minimal irritation of muscles and joints. In general, exercise should be non-impact loading, such as walking, using an exercycle....etc.

Lifestyle changes

Patients can avoid or minimize fibromyalgia flares by maintaining a regular sleep schedule, avoiding substances that affect sleep, such as alcohol or caffeine, and maintaining a lifestyle habit of stretching or gentle aerobic exercise. Patients also need to avoid doing so much on days when they feel good that overexertion triggers an attack.

Counseling and education

Discussing the problems of fibromyalgia with a trained professional or other patients can help relieve the stress and isolation caused by the condition. Learning about the disease helps patients find the best treatments and feel a measure of control over the condition.

Alternative Treatments

Many of those with fibromyalgia have independently attempted using alternative treatments. In discussion groups on the Internet, individuals have reported success using such unlikely remedies as licorice. But there is no solid scientific evidence yet that any of these are an answer. Many of the alternatives have not been subject to carefully controlled trials and the improvement experienced by some patients may be a placebo response.

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Last updated: 5/13/2022