| What Is The Best Treatment For Relieving Fibro Pain?
As doctors still don't really know what causes fibromyalgia, they haven’t worked out how best to treat it. What works on one person may have no effect on the next. As a result there is no one fibromyalgia treatment plan that suits all. Because there is no cure for the condition, treatment typically consists of managing pain, reducing it to a level where it does not interfere with a patient's quality of life. A typical treatment plan will include a combination of fibromyalgia medications, diet, exercise and alternative therapies.
There is no one award-winning drug to treat fibro pain - finding a medication (or usually several) that work for you involves quite a bit of trial and error. For this reason, it is important to work with a doctor you trust and like. He won’t be able to offer a quick-fix, you will be working together long-term. Ideally you should keep a symptoms diary to monitor your reaction to any new treatment. This is explained further in our article, can fibromyalgia be cured?
Over The Counter Painkillers: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID's) like Naprosyn, Ibuprofen, Feldene and Relafen may be taken on a daily basis to dampen pain.
Prescription Painkillers: On some days, if pain is bad you might need something stronger. The most common prescription painkillers used by fibro patients are Ultram and Ultracet (which combines Tylenol with Ultram). The main benefit of prescription painkillers is that the person knows they will work. They do stop pain and quite quickly. This acts as an emotional security blanket.
Lidoderm: A relatively new painkiller, Lidoderm is a transdermal patch which is applied to the skin. The drug passes through the skin offering pain relief for up to 12 hours. Many people respond well to it.
Muscle Relaxants: These meds help to relieve muscle knots and tension, a common cause of fibro pain. They also have a sedation effect which helps to improve sleep and reduces depression. 85 percent of people who take Flexeril (the most commonly prescribed muscle relaxant) experience pain relief, a reduction in the number of fibromyalgia tender points and a better night's sleep.
Antidepressants: Desyrel, Elavil and Cymbalta. Although it might seem strange to take antidepressants if you are not depressed, studies report significant benefits in reducing chronic pain - particularly when more than one drug is used. One study showed patients prescribed a combination of 25mg of Elavil and 20mg of Prozac received twice the pain relief they would if either medication had been taken on its own. Although it might seem logical that two drugs would give twice the relief, this rarely happens with other illnesses.
Trigger Point Injections: If pain is isolated in one trigger point, a pain relief medication injected directly into the spot can provide relief for weeks or even months.
Is your pain so bad you are having difficulties holding down a job? Check our article, can I go on disability for fibromyalgia?
Natural And Topical Remedies
Guaifenesin: A cough medicine which has been promoted by some medics for the treatment of fibromyalgia. Promoted originally by the American endocrinologist Dr St Armand, he suggested that guaifenesin can dramatically alleviate pain by gradually reducing the buildup of phosphates in the body. There are not enough studies to prove or disprove the accuracy of his findings at this time.
Antihistamines: Some treatment for colds and flus like Tylenol PM and Benadryl may help reduce fibro pain. They contain ingredients which increase serotonin levels and reduce sensitivity to pain.
Exercise: Regular low-impact aerobic exercise and gentle stretches can help boost your mood and keep muscles loose. Read more at fibromyalgia exercises. See also our question, what are the best exercises for fibromyalgia?
Diet: Although you are unlikely to vanquish fibromyalgia symptoms entirely by avoiding certain foods, research indicates that it may be possible to reduce pain and improve quality of sleep. See fibromyalgia diet for more details.
Massage: One study printed in the European Journal of Pain reported that fibro patients who received 15 massages over a period of 10 weeks experienced significant pain relief. This may be particularly useful to patients who feel their condition was triggered by an accident. See, can an accident or trauma trigger fibromyalgia?
Botox: Not yet approved by the FDA for treating fibromyalgia, but it seems that Botox injections can help reduce pain significantly. Read more: Can Botox be used to treat fibromyalgia?
Always consult your doctor before trying any new treatment.
When choosing medical care: What type of doctor treats fibromyalgia?
Other Useful Questions
Recognizing the early signs: What are the symptoms of fibromyalgia?
Does the syndrome run in the family: Is fibromyalgia genetic?
Viruses and bacterial infections: Can a viral infection trigger fibromyalgia?
What is the difference between chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia?
Arthritic pain or fibro pain: What is the difference between fibromyalgia and arthritis?
• Need more information? See: Fibromyalgia Syndrome Guide
• Got another question? See: Womens Health Questions
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