Fibromyalgia (cont.)

How is fibromyalgia treated?

Fibromyalgia can be hard to treat. It's important to find a doctor who has treated others with fibromyalgia. Many family doctors, general internists, or rheumatologists can treat fibromyalgia. Rheumatologists are doctors who treat arthritis and other conditions that affect the joints and soft tissues.

Treatment often requires a team approach. The team may include your doctor, a physical therapist, and possibly other health care providers. A pain or rheumatology clinic can be a good place to get treatment. Treatment for fibromyalgia may include the following:

  • Pain management. Three medicines have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat fibromyalgia. These are pregabalin (Lyrica), duloxetine (Cymbalta), and milnacipran (Savella). Other medications are being developed and may also receive FDA approval in the future. Your doctor may also suggest non-narcotic pain relievers, low-dose antidepressants, or other classes of medications that might help improve certain symptoms.
  • Sleep management. Getting the right amount of sleep at night may help improve your symptoms. Here are tips for good sleep:
    • Keep regular sleep habits. Try to get to bed at the same time and get up at the same time every day -- even on weekends and vacations.
    • Avoid caffeine and alcohol in the late afternoon and evening.
    • Time your exercise. Regular daytime exercise can improve nighttime sleep. But avoid exercising within 3 hours of bedtime, which can be stimulating, keeping you awake.
    • Avoid daytime naps. Sleeping in the afternoon can interfere with nighttime sleep. If you feel you cannot get by without a nap, set an alarm for 1 hour. When it goes off, get up and start moving.
    • Reserve your bed for sleeping. Watching the late news, reading a suspense novel, or working on your laptop in bed can stimulate you, making it hard to sleep.
    • Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool.
    • Avoid liquids and spicy meals before bed. Heartburn and late-night trips to the bathroom do not lead to good sleep.
    • Wind down before bed. Avoid working right up to bedtime. Do relaxing activities, such as listening to soft music or taking a warm bath, that get you ready to sleep. (A warm bath also may soothe aching muscles.)
  • Psychological support. Living with a chronic condition can be hard on you. If you have fibromyalgia, find a support group. Counseling sessions with a trained counselor may improve your understanding of your illness.
  • Other treatments. Complementary therapies may help you. Talk to your physician before trying any alternative treatments. These include:
    • Physical therapy
    • Massage
    • Myofascial release therapy
    • Water therapy
    • Light aerobics
    • Acupressure
    • Applying heat or cold
    • Acupuncture
    • Yoga
    • Relaxation exercises
    • Breathing techniques
    • Aromatherapy
    • Cognitive therapy
    • Biofeedback
    • Herbs
    • Nutritional supplements
    • Osteopathic or chiropractic manipulation


STAY INFORMED

Get the Latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!