People with fibromyalgia deal with a great amount of chronic pain resulting from muscle tenderness and stiffness. This can be debilitating, as pain can range from moderate to severe. It is important that people with fibromyalgia learn to manage their pain in whatever way works best for them. Each individual will have different ways to ease and deal with pain, and it is important to set a routine based on what works best for individuals.
There is no cure for fibromyalgia, so pain management is the most important focus of treatment. Pain management can involve exercise practices, medications, stress-relief techniques, and other practices. Another type of pain management is done through an implanted occipital nerve stimulator. This has recently been proven as beneficial for those with fibromyalgia pain.
Occipital nerve stimulation (ONS) has improved pain and quality of life for people with fibromyalgia. This treatment is associated with changed in activation patterns of the areas of the brain that produce pain response.
One experiment conducted in Belgium involved 25 patients with fibromyalgia. Each patient had a lead implanted underneath the occipital protuberans, and ONS was conducted for six months. After six months of treatment, significant improvements in pain were noted. This was based on a questionnaire designed specifically for this study to examine levels of pain, awareness, quality of life etc. This study did conclude that pain was reduced as a result of ONS.
In a follow up study, positron emission tomography scans were done on six patients who had fibromyalgia and implanted occipital nerve stimulators, both with the stimulation and without it. The researchers found significant differences in the patters of those who had and did not have ONS activators. During the stimulation, the radioactive traver profile was altered significantly in multiple regions of the brain. These altered regions include the cingulated cortex, posterior cingulated cortex, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, and others.
In this study, other factors were controlled as best as possible. Before being treated, patients were tested for their baseline mood, pain, fatigue, and other information. This was a double-blind experiment, meaning that neither the participants nor the researcher knew which participants were assigned to each group. This type of study eliminates any behavior by the participants or researcher that may affect the outcome of the study.
The results indicated that there was a significant decrease in pain intensity, and pain catastrophizing during the stimulations. Nine of eleven participants responded to trial treatment, although two may have been due to placebo effect. Permanent implantation was done on nine patients following the initial trial. Pain for these patients continued to remain decreased even after six months. Other improvements include less fatigue, less trigger points, and other improvements.
Through these experiments, researchers concluded that ONS is a beneficial treatment for fibromyalgia. The positive effects become stable after six months of implementation, and continue after.
People with fibromyalgia are always looking for different ways to control their pain. ONS in an invasive measure that can make a positive impact on those who are suffering greatly from pain.
Others prefer non-invasive methods, including massage, exercise, and other. People with fibromyalgia regularly receive massage, either from a professional or at home. Those who choose to see a professional should inform the masseuse of the condition and be sure that the bodywork done is gentle and not painful. Massage done at home can also be helpful in reducing pain, as it can be done daily and at a person’s convenience. At home massage can be done with a tennis ball, gently rolling over tight and sore muscles with gentle pressure.
Another treatment involves movement and exercise. Exercise can increase serotonin levels in the brain and can lead to positive affect. There are a few types of exercise that are recommended for people suffering from fibromyalgia pain. Yoga is a great way to gain flexibility and strength. Restorative or gentle yoga is good for people who have fibromyalgia, as this type of yoga moves slowly and is gentle. Tai Chi has also been recommended, as it involves steady slow movements and conscious breathing. Practicing yoga or tai chi can reduce stress levels and can be meditative for people, allowing them to take a break and relax their mind and body.
Warm showers or baths can also be helpful, especially in the morning as many people wake up with great stiffness in their muscles and joints. Taking a warm shower or bath will relax muscles and alleviate some stiffness.
There are many different treatments for fibromyalgia pain management, and individuals should consult with a doctor to find the treatment program best for them.