Fibromyalgia can be a painfully debilitating disease that can affect multiple points of your body, making daily activities more difficult. Sources say it’s one of the most common pain diseases, affecting up to 10-million people in the U.S. alone. It’s also made more complicated by the fact that it doesn’t seem to have specific causes.
Luckily, while there’s not yet a cure for it, there are some treatments that range in effectiveness from case to case. Let’s take a look at six of these treatments, whether they’re delivered by a medical professional or are natural approaches you can try on your own…
This may seem counterintuitive as a patient, especially if your pain is preventing you from moving around freely. However, WebMD notes, “Numerous studies show that exercise is one of the most important treatments for fibromyalgia”. Many people with this condition tend to avoid physical activity because they’re afraid of making their pain worse, not knowing the opposite can occur, notes the source.
The key to this is your body’s endorphins, a feel-good hormone that lifts mood (depression is common among fibromyalgia patients) and also acts as a natural painkiller, explains the source. “Starting slowly and gradually increasing the duration and intensity of exercise can help you enjoy the benefits of exercise without feeling more pain,” it adds. Exercise may also boost energy, as fatigue is also a common complaint with fibromyalgia.
2. Massage Therapy
Massage has a variety of benefits to relieve pain, and “is one of the oldest methods of health care still in practice,” according to the Mayo Clinic. The source notes the manual manipulation of muscle and soft tissue can relax your muscles and improve your range of motion.
Massage has also been shown to release endorphins, which we mentioned earlier. So technically, you could get similar benefits from lying on a massage table for an hour than you would from performing moderate exercise. Or… just do both.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved pregabalin (Lyrica), an anti-seizure drug to treat symptoms of fibromyalgia that’s the first of its kind for this purpose, according to Healthline.com.
Meanwhile, your doctor may also suggest gabapentin, which can also treat seizures and nerve pain, adds the source. However, most medications have some risks involved and these particular drugs may carry side effects such as dizziness, weight gain, swelling, and dry mouth, it adds.
This probably falls into the exercise category, although yoga is a more focused approach that blends body and mind. “What makes yoga perfect though is that it can be adapted for each person’s individual needs,” according to DoYouYoga.com.
Meanwhile, the gentle poses, while not easy for beginners, can “calm the mind and reduce stress may also serve to reduce the main trigger of fibromyalgia attacks.” The source has listed 8-particular poses that may be best for fibromyalgia patients to try.
5. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
CBT as it’s also commonly referred to as – is normally directed towards patients who have anxiety or depression. However, VeryWell.com notes it’s also frequently recommended for fibromyalgia and is “one of the better-researched non-drug treatments for the illness”.
This is not to lead fibromyalgia patients to believe that their pain isn’t real and physical, adds the source. However, it can help with some psychological aspects associated with the disease, including something called “catastrophizing,” which is basically making things out to be worse than they are, explains the source. CBT can help patients have more hope so they will actively work towards recovery, as catastrophizing can lead a patient to believe they will never improve.