Treat Your Pain, Too.

Back in early May, I wrote a post called Treat Yourself – that gave you an idea about creating your own treatment plan. This is an extension of that post.

Although there is no cure is available, a large number of FM treatment options exist. Treatment options vary wildly in effectiveness from individual to individual. What may work very well for one person may not work at all for another. Research suggests that the most effective strategy is likely to be multi-modal involving diet, exercise, drugs, dietary supplements, and various treatment therapies. Both symptoms focused and causal focused treatment approaches should be combined and managed.

FibroMAGICians must strive to validate what works best for them as an individual. This typically involves a process of trial and error. Evaluating various treatment options and building an effective treatment approach can be a complex process, one typically improved through utilizing a team approach. Fibromyalgia patients are well served by a care team made up of doctors, therapists, specialists and a strong support group.

Available Treatments

No single approach works best. The best course of action when considering treatment options is to combine a traditional medical approach with other available remedies. Over time, you can validate what works best to alleviate your pain. A number of lifestyle changes and other treatment methods can have a cumulative positive effect on the pain you experience.

Here is a list of some commonly used treatment options:

  1. Conventional medicines — Your doctor will work with you to discover what prescription medicines may work best for you. Options are many including pain and antidepressant medicines.
  2. Nutrition and diet — Some researchers believe that the foods you eat can affect FM symptoms.
  3. Dietary Supplements — Vitamins and minerals play important roles in health and maintenance of the body.
  4. Exercise — Exercise helps relieve joint stiffness and can help alleviate some of the pain as well. Short workouts have been proven to help many fibroMAGICians. Pain may initially increase, but then gradually decreases. Hydrotherapytai-chi and yoga are excellent forms of exercise. These forms of exercise incorporate relaxation and meditation techniques. Deep breathing and slow movement will reduce your stress level and increase your fitness.
  5. Physiotherapy  — A physiotherapist can help you with stretching and good posture. Stretching will reduce joint and muscle stiffness. This therapist can also  help you with relaxation techniques, another powerful FM treatment option.
  6. Relaxation therapy — Stress aggravates FM. Reducing stress will provide you with a more restful sleep, improving symptoms.
  7. Massage therapy — This is another great relaxation technique.
  8. Over-the-counter drugs — You will need to work with your doctor. Always talk to your doctor about any over-the-counter medications you plan to take.
  9. Herbal remedies — Many herbs have medicinal healing powers. Again, you must talk to your doctor when using herbal remedies
  10. Chinese medicine — Consider exploring Chinese medicine which places great emphasis on herbal remedies and incorporates life energy healing techniques.
  11. Homeopathy — Visit a homeopathic specialist. They specialize in natural remedies to illnesses.
  12. Acupuncture — Modern adherents of acupuncture believe that it affects blood flow and the way the brain processes pain signals. Studies have shown this may be effective for FM.
  13. Chiropractic care—Chiropractors specialize in spinal problems, which can be a major source of pain for some people.

Building a Customised Fibromyalgia Treatment Program

Through an ongoing process of trial and error, using a mixture of the above treatments (and many others), it is possible to develop a treatment program that can be validated as effective – for the individual patient.

This process is made more effective when the patient embraces the concept of “Self-Management” – an ongoing process through which the patient recognizes and assumes responsibility for leading their own treatment efforts. An effective self-management process focuses on the collection, analysis and utilization of patient data such that the trial and error process is better empowered to yield tangible results.

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7 Comments

  1. Because you’re so thorough in your research, you may want to include the poor neglected Myotherapists. As they are specifically muscle therapists (hence”myo”), and also practice acupuncture and cupping (something else you may want to include – it works brilliantly and one can buy a kit on eBay for about $20), they should really be the first choice fir Fibro treatment, I feel. I first went to the student clinics at RMIT before going to the head teacher’s private clinic. There are also osteopaths, who don’t just crack bones like most chiros, but massage and do a rocking motion treatment that helps. The one I used to go to also did burning herbs acupuncture because I couldn’t take any movement of the needles. Finally, there are TENS machines, which can be bought for personal use. Some people find relief with these.

    • I haven’t been to a myotherapist before (although we were discussing it in the car yesterday). My acupuncturist did some cupping, and my physio uses a TENS machine – right now, it appears my miracle treatment is Reflexology! have you tried it?

      • Yes, I LOVE my feet being touched. Once at a
        visit at a clinic in Sydney two students did my feet at once – bliss! However, I hate the little ball bearing magnet things they put on the ears when they do them. My ear lobes are very painful, evidently. The key to all treatments of course is to find student clinics so we can afford them. I’m starting a massage at EastWest next week $15 first visit, then $25 thereafter. Really helps. Thanks for the heads up about them.

  2. Thanks for the information. I never thought of a foot massage. I’m too touch sensitive to have a massage.

    One thing I’d like to add to customizing your own fibro treatment plan is to seek out a counselor if you need to talk. I had a hard time adjusting to my new life and he taught me wonderful breathing techniques and visualization. Helps a lot when everything goes haywire – pain, noise, heat, lights – yikes.

    • Thanks Kim. I agree (I just forget sometimes about puttin git all in here). I have a great psychologist who has to listen to me unload (unlike friends and family) and teaches me about meditation, too.

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