The most effective treatment approaches for fibromyalgia symptoms use a combination of medications, non-drug therapies, and self-help strategies when you hurt all over. Three medications are FDA-approved for relieving fibromyalgia pain (Lyrica, Cymbalta and Savella). Others may be prescribed in place of or together with one of these drugs to ease your many symptoms. Non-drug treatment approaches usually reduce achy muscles with trigger point therapies and enhance your ability to function. Some are viewed as mainstream, while others may be considered alternative therapies. Due to the significant impact fibromyalgia may have on your daily activities, simple lifestyle changes or self-help strategies can build upon your treatment success.
Your doctor will probably want to prescribe medications aimed at reducing pain, daytime fatigue, and improving sleep. Sometimes a single medication can help in more than one area, but responses vary with each patient. While the FDA has approved three medications for fibromyalgia pain, your options should not be restricted to these drugs. There are many medication options on the market for easing your symptoms that are not specifically approved for fibromyalgia. For example, Neurontin (gabapentin) is a cousin of Lyrica that has been shown to be effective for the treatment of fibromyalgia. In fact Neurontin may work as well as Lyrica and its generic version is a lot cheaper.
Non-Drug and Trigger Point Therapies
Medications are only one option for fibromyalgia patients and do carry a downside of side effects. As a result, you may be limited in which medications you can handle or the dose you can tolerate. Non-drug therapies are used to complement to your medication approaches. Examples include hands-on approaches (massage), movement therapies (Tai Chi), trigger point treatments (stretching sore muscles with heat), and nutritional supplements such as magnesium with malic acid and various anti-oxidants to protect your tissues. Regardless, patients need a well-rounded treatment plan for fibromyalgia.
You don’t have to rely upon your doctor or other healthcare providers. There are many helpful strategies you can use to ease your fibromyalgia symptoms. When your symptoms seem to be getting out of hand, it would be a good idea to have a variety of self-help approaches available to you. They are inexpensive with little to no side effects. They can help you manage muscle tension, reduce painful knots in your muscles (i.e., myofascial trigger points), conserve energy, and improve sleep. You do not have to wait for a flare-up to apply self-help strategies. They can help you feel better on an everyday basis and give you a sense of control over your fibromyalgia.
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