Fibromyalgia Relief Options
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition which causes a number of symptoms, including sleep problems, fatigue, and cognitive difficulties. However, the most common symptom of fibromyalgia by far is widespread pain.
People with fibromyalgia may experience severe pain in three to six areas of their body, or mild to moderate pain in as many as seven different areas at a time. This pain can be unrelenting, and often has a serious impact on the sufferer’s overall quality of life.
In this article, we will take a look at some of the best fibromyalgia pain relief options out there, and how to use them to cope with the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
There are many different medications available which can help to relieve the pain associated with fibromyalgia. NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), such as ibuprofen and naproxen, are commonly used to treat fibromyalgia pain. Their side effects include stomach problems (these can be reduced by taking NSAIDs after food), high blood pressure, and liver or kidney damage.
Painkillers such as acetaminophen may be effective for some people with milder pain, but those with more severe pain may require stronger drugs, such as codeine or tramadol. These are powerful painkillers, but they become less effective over time and also carry a high risk of addiction. They should therefore only be used for short-term fibromyalgia pain relief.
Other medications used to relieve fibromyalgia pain include antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and muscle relaxants. Of course, these may all cause side effects of their own, and many people prefer to manage their pain using more natural methods.
Keeping active is extremely important for people with fibromyalgia. Regular, gentle exercise can help to improve strength, balance, and mobility as well as reducing pain.
It is important to start slowly and gradually increase the amount of physical activity you do over time. Low-impact exercises, such as swimming, yoga, and tai chi, are ideal for people with fibromyalgia.
If you join an exercise class, tell your instructor about your condition so that they can adapt their routine to suit your needs, and do not be afraid to take a break if it all becomes too much.
Acupuncture is an ancient, oriental therapy which involves inserting fine needles at specific points on the body. It is known to improve blood circulation, relieve inflammation, and boost the action of endorphins (your body’s natural painkillers).
Acupuncture can also help to relieve stress and may improve other issues such as poor sleep and low energy. If you find that you are too sensitive for needles, ask your acupuncturist about other techniques such as acupressure.
Acupuncturists may also be able to prescribe Chinese herbal medicine to help with fibromyalgia pain relief and other symptoms.
Massage therapy helps to relax the muscles, improve circulation, and relieve stress and pain. Your massage therapist may also use essential oils to enhance the therapeutic benefits of your massage (aromatherapy).
Tell your massage therapist about your condition and any painful areas on your body. This will allow them to adapt the amount of pressure that they use during your treatment and avoid causing you further pain.
5. Medical Marijuana and CBD
Although marijuana has had a bad reputation in the past, it is now emerging as an effective treatment for many different conditions, including chronic pain.
The herb has now been legalized for medicinal use in many U.S. states, and for both medicinal and recreational use in Canada. Marijuana has been shown to reduce inflammation, relax the muscles, and may also help with other issues such as sleep and anxiety.
If you want to experience the benefits of medical marijuana without the psychoactive effects, you could try CBD (cannabidiol) instead. This is one of the many active compounds found in the cannabis plant and can offer fibromyalgia pain relief without making you feel high.
Your CBD options include:
- CBD oil for fibromyalgia which you can drop under your tongue or add to food.
- Capsule form.
- A topical cream, which you can apply directly to the area of pain.
6. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy, CBT for short, is a talking therapy which can help you to learn different ways to cope with your fibromyalgia pain, and strategies to deal with stress and anxiety. Many people find that their pain is worse when they are stressed out, so finding ways to manage this can help.
7. Meditation and Mindfulness
Like CBT, meditation and mindfulness can help you to manage stress and cope with your fibromyalgia pain. Techniques such as mindful breathing can be particularly helpful.
You could try joining a meditation group, or look for online guided meditations to practice at home. Many of these programs are specifically designed for people living with chronic pain.
8. Dietary Changes
Many people with fibromyalgia find that making changes to their diet helps to reduce their pain. Generally speaking, you should try to eat an anti-inflammatory diet, including plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains. Certain spices, such as turmeric, are also known to have an anti-inflammatory effect, and you could try adding more of these to your diet too.
Reduce your intake of processed foods and sugar which can both contribute to inflammation and make your symptoms worse. Artificial sweeteners and flavor enhancers, such as monosodium glutamate, are also thought to aggravate fibromyalgia symptoms and should be avoided.
If you are unsure of what the worst foods for fibromyalgia are, you can talk to a dietician. Also before making any dietary changes to ensure that you are getting all the nutrition that you need. You might also want to get tested for food intolerances such as lactose or gluten.