Which Treatment Is The Best?
Fibromyalgia treatments are simply remedies, not all-inclusive cures. Patients with this disease must commit to medical regimens, exercise, and cognitive behavioral therapy to address their health woes.
Trial and error is an invaluable tool for fibromyalgia sufferers. And, by experimenting with different therapies, patients can aptly address their foremost health needs. Below, you will find a list of fibromyalgia treatments that have worked for millions of people.
Massage Therapy Treatment
Fibromyalgia patients attest to the benefits of massage therapy. In a nutshell, massage therapists use pressure and specialized movements to activate pre-existing healing pathways in the body. In stark contrast to everyday medicine, massage therapy harnesses the patient’s innate healing potential. Homeopathic methods operate under the premise that the body is resilient and can heal itself without medication or invasive surgery.
How does massage manage to achieve these benefits in the first place? Massage therapists modulate hand, finger and elbow pressure to relieve muscle tension, stiffness, trigger points, and pain. Just as massage promotes circulation in targeted regions of the body, it triggers the release of endorphins, as well. Considering the agony that fibromyalgia patients experience, every endorphin truly does count in the grand scheme of things.
There are many unique categories of massage, and each one confers its own benefits:
Shiatsu massage, or finger pressure massage, is an esteemed practice in Japanese medicine. Many people liken this practice to acupressure, which compresses nerve endings for pain relief. Shiatsu massage employs more diverse practices, including pressure points, stretching, rotating, and controlled breathing to produce the desired effect. While clinical studies have yet to validate this method, fibromyalgia patients tout its amazing benefits nonetheless.
Most fibromyalgia patients find deep tissue massage to be intense, but, invariably soothing. This technique produces temporary pain and stiffness after each session, however. Generally speaking, these side effects wane over a period of 1-2 days, after which patients report tremendous relief.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
When most people visualize fibromyalgia, they entertain the notion of a physically maimed individual. There is, however, an intently mental aspect to this disease.
To an extent, the psyche governs your response to pain and the associations you make with it. For this reason, many fibromyalgia patients have sought cognitive behavioral therapy in order manage their outlook on life. Cognitive behavioral therapy entails identifying distorted thoughts, reconfiguring them, and adopting new belief systems. The goal is for the newly adopted belief system to become a healthy behavior.
The medical community has devised a few efficacious treatments for this disease. These treatments are designed to control the aggressive nature of this painful condition.
After a confirmed diagnosis, most doctors commence treatment with an antidepressant prescription for the patient. Antidepressants boost serotonin production, and subsequently, manage pain and sleep cycles. Many fibromyalgia patients are believed to suffer from poor serotonin reuptake, which gravely distorts their pain perception.
Often, these antidepressants are combined with additional modes of treatment, including the use of anticonvulsants, muscle relaxants, steroid injections in localized areas, and sleep medications. Methionine is also an effective course of treatment for the sleep disturbances patients experience.
Biofeedback works concurrently with the mind-body connection. The mind has long been a subject of profound exploration, and it factors into the experience of a fibromyalgia patient.
The body contains a feedback loop, in which the mind shapes sensations, and sensations affect the mind. Biofeedback enables patients to regulate this loop to the best of their ability. Some people characterize the autonomic nervous system as an independent entity. However, with the aid of biofeedback, a patient can regulate temperature and pain using only the mind.
In the medical world, self-efficacy refers to autonomy and independence. Just as patients should adhere to their physician’s orders, they should also make daily, concerted efforts to increase wellness and strength on their own time. Collectively, self-efficacy entails a consistent medical regimen, exercise, healthy eating, and positive lifestyle changes.
With this said, one of the best courses of treatment to pursue is that of a healthy lifestyle. Healthy diet is the hallmark of effective pain management, especially in the context of this condition. Even in the absence of a physician’s supervision, Fibromyalgia patients are encouraged to eliminate the following foods and chemical additives:
- Nightshade Plants
- Trans Fats
- Saturated Fats
- Processed Carbohydrates
- Gluten (rye, wheat, barley).
What does this equate to for the everyday fibromyalgia patient? No beer, bread, candy, soda, Americanized Chinese food, or any other food product that meets the aforementioned criteria. These stringent rules, however, can be corroborated with fact.
Sugar changes the glycemic index, and disrupts the endocrine system by rapidly spiking insulin levels. When insulin levels ascend to an astronomical high, pain pathways begin to unfold. Simplistically stated, sugar makes fibromyalgia worse if consumed in high volumes, and research correlates this with spinal cell inflammation. Any group of inflamed cells would be aggravated by the presence of sugar.
Even sugar contained in some fruit juices can prove disastrous. Do not allow the semblance of freshly squeezed, processed orange juice to fool you. It is recommended that one adhere to natural sources of sugar instead. While a sugar-free existence is inconceivable to some, a single slice of cake can lead to a sleepless night of agonizing pain.
Gluten, which has been associated with painful flares in the body, may also contribute to these symptoms. Even arthritis patients eliminate gluten to spare themselves the misery of painful inflammation. While fibromyalgia is not widely regarded as an inflammatory condition, some researchers have linked it to spinal cell inflammation and central sensitization.
Of course, patients must exclude caffeine from their diets at all times. Caffeine stimulates the autonomic nervous system and paves the pathway for more pain and torment. Sufferers of this condition are well aware that their symptoms stem from the wiring of the nervous system. Therefore, caffeine avoidance is a critical step to recovery and well being.
And finally, processed carbohydrates, as well as unhealthy fats and MSG, can irritate pain pathways and intensify symptoms. Furthermore, nightshade plants, including potatoes and tomatoes, should never appear on the plate of a fibromyalgia sufferer.
The importance of exercise cannot be overstated. The cathartic effects of aerobic exercise has been widely documented for this condition. Aerobic exercise can reduce pain, increase pain management, alleviate fatigue, promote better sleep and improve one’s wellness overall.