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What is the Best Fibromyalgia Relief?

Article Details
  • Written By: Jacquelyn Gilchrist
  • Edited By: J.T. Gale
  • Last Modified Date: 08 January 2020
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2020
    Conjecture Corporation
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Fibromyalgia is a chronic, or long-term, condition. It can cause pain in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the body. The condition can also result in fatigue. In order to determine the best treatment methods, a patient must first be diagnosed with fibromyalgia by a doctor.

A doctor must follow the criteria for diagnosing fibromyalgia as determined by the American College of Rheumatology. The patient must have had experienced widespread pain that has lasted for at least three months, and the patient must have a minimum of 11 positive tender points. Tender points are specific spots on the body that, when touched, cause pain for the patient.

In addition to evaluating these criteria for a diagnosis, a doctor may also run tests to eliminate other possible causes of the patient’s symptoms. He may run a blood test to check the patient’s complete blood count, as well as thyroid function. The doctor will also take the patient’s complete medical history and evaluate all the possible symptoms.

Once a diagnosis of fibromyalgia is established, the patient will need to work closely with the doctor to determine the best course of treatment for fibromyalgia relief. There are several medication options, such as analgesics, antidepressants, and anti-seizure medications. A patient typically should consider the possible side effects of all the choices.

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Analgesic pain relievers include over-the-counter drugs, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These include ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen. A doctor can also prescribe prescription-strength analgesics such as tramadol for fibromyalgia relief.

Antidepressant medications such as amitriptyline can help a fibromyalgia patient sleep better. Other antidepressants can help a patient to control additional symptoms. Duloxetine and milnacipran may both help control pain symptoms.

Anti-seizure medications originally were intended to treat seizure disorders, such as epilepsy. They may also help the fibromyalgia patient with pain relief. These drugs include gabapentin and pregabalin. Patients may need to experiment with different medication options to find the one that works best for them, with the fewest side effects.

A doctor may also suggest physical therapy. Physical therapist-guided exercises can help patients with muscle balance, as well as pain reduction. Using hot and cold therapy may help reduce pain. Stretching muscles may also help.

Stress management approaches for fibromyalgia relief – such as meditation, tai chi, and deep-breathing exercises – might also help the fibromyalgia patient. Patients may need to cut back on strenuous activities. They should understand their physical limits and act accordingly. Adequate sleep is important, as fibromyalgia patients often experience severe fatigue.

While exercise may seem counterintuitive, mild exercises may actually help provide fibromyalgia relief. Patients should try gentle exercises, such as swimming, walking, or tai chi. Exercise may initially increase symptoms; however, it may help reduce symptoms over time. Patients typically should consult with their doctor before beginning any exercise program.

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