Today, it is estimated that as many as ten million American suffer from fibromyalgia, the overwhelming majority of them women. It is also a very mysterious disease, as we do not yet know what the cure for it is or even how it happens.
But we do know that it exists, and that too many Americans suffer from the chronic pain, fatigue, and sometimes even depression of it.
Even though we do not yet know what the cure for fibromyalgia is, we do know that there are many available treatments for it. The general consensus among doctors and medical professionals in the medical field is that the best way to treat fibromyalgia is through both medication and some changes in one’s lifestyle, in addition to working closely with your doctor throughout the procedure.
Do You Know if you have Fibromyalgia for Sure?
Before you begin treating fibromyalgia, you need to be sure that you have it. The most common symptoms of fibromyalgia are widespread, chronic pain throughout the body, difficulty sleeping and fatigue in the morning, suffering from mood swings, anxiety, and/or depression and feeling pain shoot through your body when pressure is applied to at least eleven of the eighteen pressure points in your body.
Doctors will also conduct a series of tests to officially diagnose you. These tests are very time consuming, as some patients have to wait for months or even years before they are officially diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Usually the final test to determine whether you have fibromyalgia or not is a blood test to identify blood cells in the immune system.
Medications for Fibromyalgia
So let’s say that you’ve been officially diagnosed with fibromyalgia. The first step you should take is to explore the various medications you can take for fibromyalgia to treat the pain and fatigue that you feel. You should know beforehand that most of these medications will not be very effective at treating your anxiety, depression, or mood swings, but treating the pain and fatigue you feel will definitely help you lead a more fulfilling life instead of being regulated to bed every day.
There are a wide variety of approved drugs to treat fibromyalgia, including antidepressants. One such example is cymbalta, which helps by increasing serotonin levels in the body, which greatly alleviate the chronic pain you feel. Tricyclic antidepressants are another option. These also increase serotonin levels in the body and relax the muscles. This increases blood flow to the muscles which greatly aids in relieving the pain.
Lyrica is another approved drug for treating fibromyalgia. Lyrica works by calming down the nerve cells in the body that send pain signals from the brain. Lyrica is a very popular choice among fibromyalgia patients as it has been proven to be immensely effective. A similar drug is savella, which is mysterious as we don’t know why it helps alleviate the pain and fatigue of fibromyalgia, but it does.
Other available medication options for treating fibromyalgia are local anesthetics, which are especially effective if they are injected directly into the pressure points that are causing the most pain. However, anesthetics have short term vs. long term beneficial effects on fibromyalgia. There are also muscle relaxants which work well to eliminate some of the stress you may feel by relieving the pain in the muscles, and anticonvulsants that are more aimed at reducing your anxiety vs. reducing the pain.
Treatment Options Besides Medication
Medication can only do so much, and it is vitally important that you clarify with your doctor which medication options will work for you and which ones won’t. The best course of action is to use a combination of medication and non-medication treatments.
An example of a non-medication treatment for helping fibromyalgia is getting plenty of exercise. The goal of exercise is to alleviate the stress and anxiety that you feel, whereas the medications help to treat the pain. Some exercises that you can do on a daily basis include cycling, swimming, walking, running, or yoga.
You can also try seeing a physical therapist. A physical therapist will get you relief from the pain you feel by making your muscle and joints less stiff, getting your body stronger, and increasing your motion. Physical therapy may not help the pain symptoms as well as medication, but it’s still great for the more psychological aspect of fibromyalgia.
As you can see, medicine is not the only example for treating fibromyalgia. You could probably adequately treat your fibromyalgia without medication, even though if we come up with a cure for fibromyalgia in the near future, it will most likely be medicine.
It’s vitally important that you do what you can to increase the flow of blood to your muscles. It is believed that a major source of pain in fibromyalgia is not having adequate blood flow to your muscles. You can try acupunctures to be inserted into the skin at specific locations to help alleviate the pain, but this should always be done with the supervision and help of a doctor or medical professional.
You can also see a massage therapist to reduce the tension that you feel in your muscles and tissues. An alternative would be a chiropractor, who will do spinal adjustments to alleviate the pain that you feel in your body.
Lastly, do not discount the idea of supplements. Magnesium and melatonin have most prominently been found to increase levels of serotonin in your body. Some supplements are not what they say they are, however, so as with traditional forms of medication, always stay in touch with your doctor throughout using supplements to make sure that you’re buying and consuming what works. You also need to be aware of any potential side effects that could develop out of these supplements, and many may come into conflict with any existing medication that you are taking.