Fibromyalgia is a very real medical condition; the term is used to describe chronic, widespread pain, along with a heightened response to pain. With fibromyalgia, your body amplifies the way your brain processes pain signals, sending those signals throughout your body. The result can be a deep, sore, achy, dull or throbbing pain that might shift from one area to another and can cause everything from muscle pain and stiffness to headaches and tender joints to numbness and tingling your arms, legs, hands, or feet. It can also lead to fatigue, sleep, mood and memory issues. If you or someone who know suffers from fibromyalgia, here are some ways you can help fight the pain.
Acetaminophen (Tylenol), non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen sodium (Aleve), or a prescribed pain reliever can provide temporary relief from pain. However, these drugs should not be used long-term due to potential adverse side effects. Likewise, narcotics can lead to dependence and worsen your pain the long run. Some people opt for natural anti-inflammatories, such as Turmeric, or prefer to retreat to an Epsom salt bath.
These injections of local anesthetic and steroids directly to the area of the affected nerve can decrease inflammation and effectively “switch off” the pain signal. Again, these are only a temporary solution.
Pregabalin (Lyrica) was the first drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat fibromyalgia, while gabapentin (Neurontin) has also been found to be helpful in reducing symptoms. Sometimes antidepressants are prescribed to help ease the pain and fatigue associated with fibromyalgia, while the muscle relaxant cyclobenzaprine is used to help promote sleep.
Exercise and Diet
With the help of a physical therapist, you can learn specific exercises that will help improve your strength, flexibility and stamina. It has been found that water-based exercises are especially helpful, as are light resistance exercises such as yoga or using power bands. Likewise, a healthy diet can help prevent or alleviate symptoms. By sticking to non-processed, whole foods you can boost your immune system and reduce flare ups.
Chronic pain of fibromyalgia and the fatigue that often accompanies it may possibly be related to stress or anxiety. As such, managing your emotions can play an important role in fighting your ongoing condition. Discussing the problem with a therapist or a support group can strengthen your self-confidence and help you develop strategies for dealing with stressful situations, while an occupational therapist can advise you on how to modify your work routine or the way you perform certain tasks to create less stress on your body.
Why struggle with fibromyalgia when the doctors at Balcones Pain Consultants can treat your condition and help you lead a happier and pain-free life? To schedule an appointment at the Balcones Pain Consultants location near you, call (512) 834-4141 or use our Online Appointment Request Form.