How can I treat Fibromyalgia?
How can I treat Fibromyalgia?
There is currently no known cure for fibromyalgia but there are several ways that you can ease your symptoms.
The condition has many different symptoms, which means it is impossible to address them al with one single treatment.
Often the condition is treated with medication and lifestyle changes.
Your doctor may suggest you take paracetamol or stronger painkillers to help manage your pain, but you have to be aware that all painkillers come with side effects. Opioids, such as codeine and dihydrocodeine should be used sparingly because of the risk of long-term side-effects and because they may cause dependence and can be difficult to stop.
Muscle relaxants such as diazepam may help can ease muscle stiffness or spasms and help loosen painful knots.
Some people find that antidepressants can help relieve the pain of fibromyalgia as the boost the levels of neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that carry messages to and from the brain.
Low levels of neurotransmitters may be a factor in fibromyalgia, according to the NHS , and it's believed that increasing their levels may ease the widespread pain associated with the condition.
Anticonvulsant or anti-seizure medicine can be effective for those with fibromyalgia to help control muscle spasms and ease pain.
The most commonly used anticonvulsants for fibromyalgia are pregabalin and gabapentin. These are normally used to treat epilepsy, but they can improve the pain associated with fibromyalgia in some people.
As sleep disturbance is a factor in triggering fibromyalgia, your doctor may suggest you take an over the counter remedy to help you sleep, or they may prescribe you something stronger on a short-term basis.
Physical therapies for fibromyalgia
Your doctor may refer you to a physiotherapist or occupational therapist.
Physiotherapy can help you to improve your posture, physical function and quality of life, and become more active. Physiotherapists can also advise on relaxation techniques.
Occupational therapy can help you to manage everyday activities without increasing your pain. Your therapist may suggest specific approaches, changing the way you work or using labour-saving gadgets. If you're struggling at work your therapist can recommend adjustments that will help.
Exercise is also considered to be good for those suffering with fibromyalgia as it helps improve blood flow to muscles, relieves stress and improves quality of sleep.
Exercising also helps to release endorphins which are your body's 'feel good' chemicals. There is growing evidence that people with fibromyalgia have reduced levels of serotonin.
Some sufferers may benefit from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT, which can change the way you think about your problems and help you deal with your fibromyalgia in a better way.
Counselling or support groups can also help you deal with issues surrounding the condition, and it can help to talk to others who have it. Relaxation techniques are also often suggested to help people cope with the symptoms.