Doctors are able to prescribe a variety of medications that can help manage symptoms of fibromyalgia, even though no medicine or therapy has been explicitly made for fibromyalgia. Doctors also recommend other treatment options to help people improve their quality of life, maximize function, and find symptom relief, including psychotherapy and healthy lifestyle habits.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a variety of prescription and over-the-counter medications for the treatment of fibromyalgia symptoms. These include:
- Pain-relieving medications like acetaminophen (according to Cleveland Clinic, there is a strong consensus that opioid pain medications should not be used to treat fibromyalgia pain due to the high risk of dependency and overdose)
- Antidepressants (including pregabalin, duloxetine HCl, and milnacipran HCl)
- Prescription sleep aids
Certain drugs, including glucocorticosteroids and immunosuppressants, are not recommended or contraindicated.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
There are several reasons why people with fibromyalgia and other chronic health conditions can benefit from psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT):
- Emotional and psychological stress can increase or trigger fibromyalgia symptoms and has also been associated with increased pain in general
- Fibromyalgia is associated with mood and psychiatric disorders including generalized anxiety disorder, depression, borderline personality, obsessive-compulsive personality, and post-traumatic stress disorder, for which therapy can be helpful
- CBT and other mental health interventions can help a person learn healthy coping strategies and other ways to manage their well-being, improve their self-esteem and body image, and maintain realistic expectations about their condition
Overall, research indicates that a person’s emotional and psychological health are closely related to their fibromyalgia experience. Even certain temperaments and personality traits—such as anger, negativity, neuroticism, and perfectionism—frequently present in people with fibromyalgia, and therapy may help a person explore and manage these aspects of their character and mindset.
Natural Remedies and Lifestyle Habits
Here are some of the most popular natural and at-home remedies for improving and alleviating fibromyalgia symptoms, as well as other conditions that can cause chronic pain, insomnia, and related issues:
- Mindfulness meditation
- Progressive muscle relaxation techniques
- Physical therapy
- Deep breathing exercises
- Good sleep hygiene techniques
- Exercise, including yoga and tai chi
- Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)
- Activity pacing and energy conservation techniques
- Certain dietary supplements, including vitamin D, magnesium creatine, and S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe)
- Maintaining a healthy diet that includes a lot of fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, good protein, and minimally processed foods
Does fibromyalgia go away?
Fibromyalgia can’t be cured, and there’s no evidence to say it can ever fully “go away.” However, with:
- a healthy lifestyle,
- the right support system, and
- an individualized treatment plan, which can include medications and therapy,
fibromyalgia can be well-managed. It is possible for people with fibromyalgia to live a productive and fulfilling life.
What foods trigger fibromyalgia pain?
No foods have been proven to trigger fibromyalgia pain, but many people experience that certain foods and beverages can worsen their symptoms of this and other chronic health conditions, especially if they have a sensitivity or allergy.
These foods and beverages may include:
- Processed meats and red meat
- Refined foods that contain artificial ingredients and additives
- Foods containing gluten (a type of protein found in grains like wheat, barley, and rye)
- Nightshade vegetables (including eggplants, tomatoes, and green peppers)
Avoiding or eliminating these foods may help reduce the severity, duration, and frequency of fibromyalgia symptoms.
What helps fibromyalgia flare ups?
Controlling and improving a fibromyalgia may not always be in a person’s control. However, most doctors and researchers agree that cutting out common trigger foods, practicing good stress-relieving activities, and participating in moderately intense aerobic exercise can help ease a flare-up.
Physical therapy has also been shown to offer relief from fibromyalgia symptoms and can also help a person restore or prevent weakness and deconditioning that fibromyalgia may cause, since flare-ups can make it difficult to move around and limit a person’s activity.