If you’ve recently watched television, read a magazine, or run across any fibromyalgia information online, there’s a good chance you know the names of some top fibromyalgia medications. Fibromyalgia pain can be debilitating, and many doctors swear by drugs like Lyrica, Cymbalta, and Savella. On the other hand, patients often complain that medication is not particularly helpful, and can even make the symptoms of fibromyalgia worse. So what is the solution? Are there better treatment options than prescription fibromyalgia medications?
In a word, yes. A recent study by CureTogether, conducted over the course of three years, indicated that many patients find that the top fibromyalgia drugs worsen their symptoms, rather than alleviate them. In fact, based on information given by 1,144 patients, simple lifestyle adjustments like getting adequate rest, reducing stress, and avoiding alcohol are more helpful than medication. Some of the other practices that patients found useful were massage, hot baths, meditation, yoga, and deep breathing.
Holistic healing practitioners have long understood the power of natural, alternative treatments for fibromyalgia. Non-invasive treatment options include:
- Acupuncture: Because acupuncture increases blood flow to inflamed areas, some people have found it to be useful in bringing relief for symptoms like stiffness and headaches. An experienced practitioner is the key to successful treatment, and patients should understand that the alleviation of symptoms is not always long-lasting.
- Hands on adjustments: Treatments like low pressure massage, osteopathic manipulation to loosen knots that cause trigger-point pain, and neuro-muscular adjustment of the tiny joints along the spine have proven effective for many patients. It’s important to ease into these types of treatments, until you know how your body will react.
- Trigger point therapies: The hands-on treatments mentioned above often address trigger points, but there are many other trigger point therapies, as well. Trigger point injections deliver medication that can be all-natural, or can include steroids, anesthetics, or anti-inflammatory medications. Low level laser therapy also addresses trigger points in muscles, working to relax them by applying energy deep into the muscle. Manual therapies like myofascial release can also be effective, as can prescription patches containing lidocaine or other soothing medications.
- Movement therapies: Many practitioners recommend gentle exercise, like warm water aerobics, tai chi, yoga, or isometric strengthening. It’s important to take any venture into a new exercise slowly, because intense movement can aggravate symptoms of fibromyalgia.
- Nutritional solutions: Studies on nutritional supplements have not yet been large enough to prove or disprove the benefits, but a few small trials have indicated that there are several options that may prove helpful. Magnesium/Malic Acid/B vitamin compounds can reduce muscle pain, Omega 3 Fatty Acids can ease fibromyalgia pain, vitamins E and C work as anti-oxidants to protect cells and reduce symptoms, melatonin and valerian can help patients sleep, and Acetyl L-Carnitine can ease pain and fatigue associated with fibromyalgia. The advice of a medical professional is crucial before beginning any treatment involving supplements.
At our clinic, we strive to empower patients, and help them reach their own optimal level of wellness. To that end, we embrace a holistic healing approach to medicine, treating patients as whole people, offering drug free solutions whenever possible, and working with the body’s natural healing processes to promote health. The initial consultation is always free, so call today to learn how we can help you manage fibromyalgia, and any other health conditions with which you may be struggling.