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Fibromyalgia Health Center

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Fibromyalgia - Treatment Overview

There are many steps you can take to manage your symptoms. Treatment is focused on managing pain, fatigue, depression, and other symptoms common in fibromyalgia. The goal is to break the cycle of increased sensitivity to pain and decreased physical activity.

The treatment you need or want may be based on:

  • How bad your symptoms are.
  • Whether the condition is disrupting your daily life.
  • What kinds of changes in your life you are willing and able to make.

Exercise

Getting consistent exercise, especially cardiovascular exercise, is one of the best ways to manage fibromyalgia. Pool exercise is a good example.

It's important to build up your exercise program slowly so you don't get sore muscles that cause you to want to stop exercising. Working with a physical therapist familiar with fibromyalgia may be helpful.

For more information, see Exercise and Fibromyalgia.

Medicines

Medicines are part of the long-term treatment of fibromyalgia. Medicines can help you sleep better, relax your muscles, or relieve muscle and joint pain. Your doctor may suggest prescription medicines, such as antidepressants, muscle relaxants, and anticonvulsants. Or he or she may suggest nonprescription pain relievers.

Not all people with fibromyalgia will need, want, or benefit from medicines. You might need to try one medicine before finding one that works best for you. You may also find that a medicine that has been helping your symptoms seems to not work as well over time.

Counseling

Cognitive-behavioral therapy and other forms of counseling, including relaxation therapy and biofeedback, have been shown to help people who have fibromyalgia.1

Counseling has been shown to help with the pain of fibromyalgia. It can also help with sleep problems and fatigue. And it can help improve your mood.1

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Taking care of yourself over time

Taking care of yourself is a vital part of managing fibromyalgia. For example you can:

  • Identify sleep problems, if you have them. Then learn about ways to get more restful sleep.
  • Relieve pain and stiffness with medicines and heat.
  • Identify "triggers" that seem to make your symptoms worse. Then you can learn to avoid or manage them. Triggers may be a change in the weather, certain activities, stress, or a lack of sleep.
  • Talk to your doctor if you have signs of depression or anxiety.
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