Ways to Tackle Fibromyalgia and Its Symptoms
If you are suffering from fibromyalgia, there are many ways to treat it. There is no cure for it, unfortunately, but you can get better control over its symptoms. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, you have many fibromyalgia treatment options, even without a prescription, to take the reins once again over your body.
Non-Medicinal Fibromyalgia Treatment
The following treatments are some forms of alternative medicine that you can do on your own without needing a doctor’s oversight:
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) taken orally do not seem to have much effect on fibromyalgia as the topical remedy. Mild discomfort is relieved with over-the-counter preparations like Aspercreme or Bengay.
Capsaicin (or Zostrix, for example) is a cayenne pepper-based preparation that helps in a small number of fibromyalgia patients.
Patients rate professional massage as their top non-drug therapy for treating the muscle pain of fibromyalgia. You will need to find a therapist who can give you a very gentle (low pressure) massage until you know how you will respond.
This involves submersion in mineral-containing waters or springs. Mud baths are also a form of balneotherapy.
This type of therapy has not been studied by using adequate evidence-based methodologies, but it is harmless and many people report substantial benefits.
Heat and Cold Applications
With trigger points, the muscles associated with them cannot be stretched or more trigger points will come about. The best way to handle this is to apply heat. This will relax the muscle so it will stretch more easily with gentle stretching.
A cold compress can numb the area so a light stretch can be done as well. Both of these techniques can ease the tightness and pain.
Medicinal Fibromyalgia Treatment
Most of the treatments that follow are given by healthcare professionals. You will need to follow their advice about the therapies you are put on.
Trigger Point Injections
This type of therapy gets to the root of the symptom. A needle with anesthetic (such as lidocaine) is injected into the muscle related to the trigger point. This should cause it to release the knotted contraction.
This technique is used for those trigger points which do not respond to other treatments.
Lidocaine patches show promise in successfully treating localized pain. It is suggested to use these kinds of patches during the day and then use non-steroidal creams at bedtime.
Gabapentin is an anti-seizure medication that helps fibromyalgia patients with pain control.
Anticonvulsants improve numbness, tingling, anxiety, burning and headaches associated with fibromyalgia by blocking calcium or sodium channels and by increasing GABA levels in the body. These seem to work the best at bedtime.
Antidepressants have been found to help alleviate some symptoms of fibromyalgia. A medication that can be used in conjunction with antidepressants to enhance their effect is pregabalin (Lyrica). Pregabalin works by reducing the release of substance P, glutamate and norepinephrine, and thus helps with pain control and anxiety reduction.
Duloxetine (Cymbalta) is a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) is an antidepressant medication that shows promise for fibromyalgia treatment. In a study on the drug and its effects on fibromyalgia patients, it was shown to reduce the feelings of fatigue and pain in participants. The patients also showed increased functioning when on Cymbalta therapy.
Milnacipran is another SNRI that has been used in Europe and Japan for years, and the U.S. is looking to approve the drug as well. It has been found that it may address the cognitive problems associated with fibromyalgia.
There are many therapies available to patients with fibromyalgia. Working closely with your physician will help you determine which treatment options are right for you.