Fibromyalgia syndrome is a condition where pain occurs in muscles, tissues joints and ligaments without any obvious tissue damage. The pain is often accompanied by extreme fatigue.
The first step towards treatment of fibromyalgia is the diagnosis. The person suffering from this condition usually presents with a range of symptoms including aching pain and pulling down or worn out sensation in the joints. It is also accompanied by fatigue that is aggravated by hard labor. This may result in sleep disturbances and headaches. Diagnosis is made on the basis of excluding all the other conditions with the help of blood tests, urine tests and ultrasound or other medical procedures. The person usually comes with a history of aching pains and fatigue that is present for three months and longer.
Treatment for fibromyalgia
Educating the patient about his condition
This is the most important aspect of the treatment. Once the patient fully understands his condition and accepts it, then the health care professional can discuss the best line of treatment that is suitable for his lifestyle and medical condition. There are many self-management courses that can teach new skills to help people with fibromyalgia manage their condition.
Gentle low impact exercise regimen
The patient is also taught some gentle exercises such as low impact water based exercises. Tai chi and yoga can also have beneficial effects in this condition. Water aerobics can also help in reducing the intensity of symptoms like joint pains, muscular pains and fatigue. Practicing some stretching exercises regularly can also help in relieving the stiffness of the joints. The person suffering from this syndrome must keep in mind that they need to avoid any hard physical labor and strenuous exercises and these lead to the worsening of the existing symptoms. These people are taught to strike a balance between rest and activity.
Medication used in the treatment of fibromyalgia syndrome
The cause of fibromyalgia is not yet known. Hence the treatment is mainly targeted at symptom relief. The person may be prescribed pain killers in episodes of intense muscular pain. Medication can also be used in order to relieve symptoms like migraines and headaches. Some people with this syndrome may also have other associated symptoms such as irritable bowel syndrome and cystitis. Medicines can be used to treat these symptoms.
Stress management and relaxation techniques
People suffering from fibromyalgia syndrome often show symptoms of anxiety, nervousness and stress that are associated with this condition. As a result they may report sleep disturbances as well. Stress is also known to bring on the onset of fibromyalgia symptoms and worsen the existing symptoms. So the physician may refer these people to a psychotherapist or professional counselors. Alternative therapies like yoga and meditation may also help in relieving the stress and calming the mind thereby resulting in an improved sleep. Deep breathing exercises and relaxation techniques when practiced regularly are known to have a calming effect on the mind.
Massage can be helpful as it helps to relax the muscles.