There is no cure or treatment for fibromyalgia that would solve all symptoms.
There are several types of traditional and alternative therapies that have been shown to be effective in treating this syndrome.
The treatment program includes a combination of drugs, strength training and aerobic exercises, nutritional correction, and instructions on how to behave for the patient.
What medications are used to treat fibromyalgia?
According to the American College of Rheumatology, drug therapy for fibromyalgia mainly treats the symptoms. The drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for fibromyalgia treatment are three: Lyrica, Cymbalta and Savella.
Lyrica is also used in the treatment of neuropathic pain caused by spinal cord lesions, diabetes and herpes zoster. This medication can relieve muscle pain in fibromyalgia in many patients.
Cymbalta is an antidepressant from the group of serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs).
Low doses of tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline are effective in the pain management of fibromyalgia syndrome.
Ultram (tramadol) is an effective painkiller.
The doctor may prescribe an antidepressant such as Prozac, Paroxate, and Zoloft. These medications can help with depression, sleep disorders, and pain. Recently, researchers have found that the antiepileptic drug Neurontin produced good results in finding treatment for fibromyalgia.
Anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including Cox-2 inhibitors, have shown no efficacy in treating the pain associated with fibromyalgia.
Usually, it’s better to avoid opiate painkillers because they don’t work in the long run and lead to addiction problems.
Anxiety and depression can result from deficiencies in vitamin D and magnesium.
There are studies that show a reduction in the number of tender points and pain after taking magnesium citrate supplements daily for two months.
Natural Treatment and Remedies for Fibromyalgia
Self-treatment is important in fibromyalgia.
Reduce stress. Develop a plan to avoid or limit overexertion and emotional stress as much as possible.
You have to take time every day to relax. So you have to learn to say no without feeling guilty.
But do not try to completely change everyday life.
People who stop working or interrupt all activities are worse off than those who stay active.
One should try stress management techniques, such as deep breathing exercises or meditation.
Hot and persistent showers or baths can relax the muscles and relieve the pain.
Enough sleep. Fatigue is one of the main signs of fibromyalgia. It is therefore important to allow yourself sufficient rest.
In addition, you should get used to a regular life, for example, go to bed and get up at the same time every day and limit daily naps.
Rhythm. Maintain the daily rhythm of work. Excessive exertion on days when the body has a lot of energy can lead to more difficult days.
Moderation: Don’t “exaggerate” on good days, but you can’t limit yourself by doing “too little” on days when symptoms worsen.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Eat healthy. Limit caffeine consumption. Perform fun and rewarding activities every day.
Fitness training for fibromyalgia
Staying in good shape is important for maintaining good results in fibromyalgia treatment.
It is fundamental to follow a regular stretching program. This contributes to a better ability of muscle movements and pain relief.
The stretching exercises must be done once or several times a day.
It is important not to stretch too much, because in this way reflex contraction can be caused, thereby increasing the pain.
The goal is to hold a stretching position for at least a full minute.
It is not recommended to immediately start stretching over a minute if the body is not yet used to stretching.
It is better to start with 10 or 15 seconds.
Over time, one tries to gradually achieve one minute of stretching in order to gain further advantages.
After an exercise program, one should start by increasing daily activities.
The goal is to achieve 30 minutes of physical activity per day.
The “training” sessions can be divided into three 10 minutes per day, two units of 15 minutes or just one unit of 30 minutes.
Walking is a good exercise, although various other activities are also possible. It is best to choose one or more sports that are really fun.
The most important thing is to start with minimal power and gradually increase the workload.
This helps to prevent fibromyalgia from exacerbating activities that are too intense for the personal form of fitness.
You can practice two different sports alternately, which provides more variety. You could do an aerobics class of easy difficulty twice a week and supplement it with a visit to the swimming pool as the third exercise session of the week.
It’s a good idea to exercise with a friend or spouse or attend group physical therapy sessions.
It is important to start slowly, because it is easy to be discouraged if you try to do too much too quickly.
Provide a fixed schedule for the exercises.
If you wait too long to “find” time, you will probably never start.
Apply the “two-hour rule”.
A person who is in pain more than two hours after the end of the exercise has probably performed too intense physical activity.
Next time, the amount and intensity of exercises should be reduced.
Diet and nutrition
A diet rich in fruits and vegetables gives the body the necessary vitamins, mineral salts and antioxidants to protect tissues and minimize the development of “other” sources of pain.
Not recommended are fried foods, alcohol, salt, sugar, meat, eggs and dairy products, because these are not natural foods and cause malfunctions in the body and thus discomfort.
Irritable bowel syndrome and gastroesophageal reflux are both common in people with fibromyalgia. Therefore, it is better to avoid foods that promote this clinical picture.
Fibromyalgia has no negative effects on the child. Therefore, the main question is whether the body is able to carry a pregnancy to term.
If there are no serious complications, most women think that pregnancy is possible, even if they suffer from the syndrome.
If you decide to get pregnant, there are a few things to keep in mind:
Reduce daily stress as much as possible.
Conception should take place when symptoms are less intense. During an exacerbation of the disease, conception should be prevented.
Talk to the doctor about all medications that are taken, because not all pharmaceuticals are safe during pregnancy.
Pay attention to a healthy diet and work moderately (without exaggerating).
Special diets that increase serotonin levels in the blood are recommended throughout pregnancy, because antidepressants given to treat fibromyalgia are not safe for the fetus.
Also, pregnant women must not take sleep-inducing or anxiolytic medications such as clonazepam.
Are medicines for fibromyalgia safe in pregnancy?
Currently, no medication is safe for fibromyalgia during pregnancy.
In fact, doctors advise pregnant women not to take painkillers and antidepressants.
However, you should talk to your doctor before stopping any medication.
What treatments are possible for fibromyalgia during pregnancy?
To prevent fibromyalgia from disrupting pregnancy, the safest treatments for pregnant women are: massage, physical exercises, yoga, meditation, and rest.
Medications that are commonly given can be a problem during breastfeeding because they can be passed on to the child through breast milk.
Therefore, it is necessary to consult a doctor before deciding whether to breastfeed or not.
Studies in which the mothers breastfed for at least three months and where they only took permitted medications have shown no increase in symptoms.
Of course, the advantage of bottle feeding is that the partner can feed the child and the woman can rest during the night.
The complementary and alternative therapies for pain and stress treatment are not new. For example, meditation and yoga have been practiced for thousands of years. Their benefits have become popular in recent years, especially among people who have a chronic disease such as fibromyalgia.
It appears that many of these treatments relieve stress and reduce pain. Some alternative therapies are now also accepted by conventional medicine.
However, the effectiveness of some measures has not been demonstrated because sufficient scientific studies have not yet been carried out.
Acupuncture is a therapy from Chinese medicine to restore the normal balance of energy, in which very thin needles are inserted into the skin at different depths.
According to Western acupuncture theories, the needles cause a change in blood flow and alter the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain and spinal cord.
Some studies show that acupuncture relieves the symptoms of fibromyalgia, while other studies show no improvement.
This is one of the oldest methods of treatment still practiced.
It is the application of various manual techniques to relax muscles and soft tissues of the body.
Massage therapy can lower heart rate, relax muscles, improve joint mobility, and stimulate the production of natural pain inhibitors in the body. It often helps to reduce stress and anxiety.
Yoga and Tai Chi
These activities combine meditation, gentle movement, deep breathing and relaxation. Studies show that they are useful for reducing symptoms in fibromyalgia.
Osteopathy is a helpful therapy for fibromyalgia. The treatment resolves existing block formations in some joints, including:
- joint between sphenoid bone and occipital bone (skull bone),
- between the sacrum and the pelvis,
- between the last dorsal vertebra and the first lumbar vertebra.
Prognosis and recovery times
Fibromyalgia can be mild or disabling and the emotional stress can be considerable. People with fibromyalgia feel psychological distress and deterioration in quality of life more than others who suffer from conditions such as chronic lumbalgia.
The development of fibromyalgia is as follows:
- About 1/3 of patients achieve a satisfactory improvement
- About 1/3 of patients worsen
- About 1/3 of patients have consistent symptoms
- A very small percentage experiences complete remission
About half of all patients have difficulty carrying out their daily activities or are unable to comply with them. 30-40% of fibromyalgia sufferers had to change jobs or give up work altogether.
Patients with fibromyalgia are more likely to lose their jobs and the support of friends and family compared to people with other diseases that cause fatigue.
Risk of negative behavior
Pain, emotional consequences and sleep disorders that occur in fibromyalgia can lead to excessive consumption of caffeine, alcohol, drugs, medicines and sleeping pills.
How long does the disease last?
Perspective of the disease in adults
Some studies show that fibromyalgia symptoms persist for a long time, while others report better prospects in 25-35% of patients, referring to improvement in symptoms over time.
The studies show that regular physical exercise improves outcomes.
Even if the condition persists, it does not worsen and is not fatal.
Perspective in children
Children with fibromyalgia tend to have better prospects than adults with this condition. Numerous studies have shown that more than half of children with fibromyalgia improve their health status in 2-3 years.