Various medications out there that have been FDA approved to treat fibromyalgia. Doctors often will prescribe anti depressants or anti convulsive medications as they are known to help fibromyalgia pain. There are other medications that your doctor may prescribe. My doctor has me on venlafaxine as many of the other medications had too many side effects or did not work for me. Please note that everyone responds differently to medications. Some people may find medications help while others do not find any improvement. With use of medications, there are also side effects to deal with. Weigh the pros and cons of using medications – speak to your doctor if you have any concerns.
I have always had a hard time accepting this as a treatment for fibromyalgia. I used to be such a physically active person before fibromyalgia set in. To be told by health care professionals to add exercise begins to become so redundant and frustrating. Don’t get me wrong exercise is important whether you have fibromyalgia or not. What I have learned, exercise looks much different with fibromyalgia then to someone without fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia requires gentle exercise.
3. Stress management.
I never could understand why health care providers kept telling me to practice mindfulness skills or meditation – until now. Before I always rolled my eyes at the thought because I would think ” meditation will not fix fibromyalgia!” It won’t fix it, but it can help control stress. By controlling stress in our lives, fibromyalgia symptoms may ease. Stress releases cortisol into our body. High cortisol levels in the body can cause muscle tension. Muscle tension causes higher chronic pain levels.
4. Education on fibromyalgia.
As I always say arm yourself with knowledge about fibromyalgia. Do NOT rely on health care providers to do it for you. As the saying goes “Knowledge is power!” Take your health into your own hands since fibromyalgia is often misunderstood by many! We have access to the internet which can be a wealth of information if you use the right sources to research.
5. Alternative treatments – acupuncture, massage therapy, dry needling, physiotherapy, counselling etc.
There are many alternative treatments that may help alleviate fibromyalgia symptoms. If you have insurance, many of these treatments have some coverage per year, but not enough coverage that is needed for maintenance treatment for fibromyalgia. For example, I get $700 a year for physiotherapy, but when each session is $70-$100 you max out the coverage very quickly. Many people do not have insurance coverage at all – leaving them having to pay out of pocket for each session. Many of the recommended alternative treatments that help improve fibromyalgia cost us money and are often not utilized for this reason alone.
6. Learning to pace
Learning to slow down and pace yourself is essential. Sadly, not everyone is always given the choice to slow down as life gets busy with family obligations such as kids. If you are able to pace yourself, it can help lower fibromyalgia symptoms and flare ups. It does take time to learn how to pace. For more information of pacing visit my previous blog here.
There may be more treatment routes out there that doctors may suggest or even a pain clinic. I have just listed the most recommended/used treatment options in this article. Whatever route you choose to explore – remember it takes time and commitment. I hope you find the right combination of strategies that work for you!