Fibromyalgia is a term used to describe a medical condition in which the patient experiences widespread musculoskeletal pain. In addition to the pain, the patient may experience fatigue, memory loss and mood swings. While the cause is not known, scientists believe that fibromyalgia affects the way the patient perceives pain signals from the body.
There is no expected onset of symptoms and sufferers can begin experiencing symptoms as early 6 or 7 or as late as 80. In some instances, physical trauma such as surgery or a car accident can induce symptoms while in other cases a slow onset of symptoms may increase over time. Women appear to be more susceptible to the condition than men and tend to have concurrent conditions such as TMJ, IBS, anxiety and depression as well as suffer from headaches.
Currently, there is no cure for fibromyalgia but fibromyalgia treatment includes a wide range of therapies including modified lifestyle, medications and physical exercise.
Medications are prescribed to help control pain and reduce side effects such as depression and anxiety.
Pain Relievers: Over the counter pain relievers are often prescribed to reduce pain and inflammation during treatment process of fibromyalgia. Acetaminophen, ibuprofen and others can help ease pain and stiffness. However, if effective pain relief can’t be achieved with over the counter pain medications, Tramadol may also be prescribed.
Antidepressants: Duloxetine and milnacipran are often prescribed in conjunction with pain medications to help alleviate depression that commonly accompanies chronic pain conditions. Specialist for fibromyalgia can also prescribe amitriptyline or fluoxetine to help alleviate pain, decrease depression and induce sleep.
Anti-seizure drugs: In some cases, medications marketed to control epilepsy have been shown to treat the pain associated with fibromyalgia. Neurontin and Lyrica are both used in treatment protocols for this disease.
Therapy: Physical and mental therapies are often prescribed to help patients who suffer from fibromyalgia deal with chronic pain and strengthen the body and mind. Physical therapy includes strength training, Yoga and other stretching exercises. Swimming is often recommended as there is little to no impact to the joints and causes the least amount of discomfort.
Speaking with a counselor can be quite beneficial for fibromyalgia treatment. This way, patients can learn relaxation techniques which can be helpful in both controlling anxiety as well as reducing pain. Techniques for dealing with certain situations are often discussed and patients are encouraged to practice them daily. While there is no known cure for fibromyalgia, doctors have been able to adequately control the pain and other symptoms commonly associated with this condition. It is important that sufferers follow the directions of a specialist in order to reap the best results from their treatment.