Regularly prescribed treatments for fibromyalgia include antidepressants, painkillers, and anti-seizure medications. These drugs can help reduce fibromyalgia symptoms like pain, fatigue, and insomnia.
However, some people have found that the medications do not provide a solution. A research report by the Jesse and Julie Rasch Foundation discovered that sometimes treatment with the above drugs can be ineffective, and have also been known to cause side effects, therefore making the treatments difficult to maintain. Therefore, the authors stated that pairing the drug treatments with complementary therapies would be the best approach for people suffering from fibromyalgia.
Below are some possibilities of complementary therapies to help ease the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Australian rheumatologist Dr. Daniel Lewis suggests that meditation can change the way your brain processes pain signals, therefore improving the painful symptoms of fibromyalgia. A review published in Current Pain and Headache Reports also discovered that meditation can relieve pain – this is due to meditation promoting deep rest and relaxation, which helps the body to heal itself.
5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is a natural amino acid that promotes serotonin production and therefore helps to balance a person’s mood. Rheumatology International posted a review which revealed that 5-HTP supplements may help to improve fibromyalgia symptoms by helping to relieve pain, fatigue, anxiety, and stiffness. Although more research is required, currently scientists believe it works in a similar fashion to anti-depressants.
A study published in the journal Pain suggested that yoga can also help to ease fibromyalgia-related pain. Another study from the Journal of Pain Research found similar results – in the study women with fibromyalgia took 75-minute yoga classes twice a week for 8 weeks. At the end of the study, these women reported lower pain levels, and additionally had lower cortisol (stress hormone) levels in their blood.
4. Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD)
Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) is a form of therapy which assists in moving lymph fluid throughout the body. A study in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapies reported results in which MLD was tested on a group of women with fibromyalgia five times a week for three weeks. The results showed that MLD was more effective than regular massage for relieving symptoms such as anxiety and tiredness. However, both MLD and regular massage were found to reduce pain and improve quality of life.
Authors of a review published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews analysed data from nine studies with a total of 395 participants, and found some evidence that acupuncture may help to relieve pain and stiffness.
Fibromyalgia research is still in its early stages, and advancements continue to be made. Some complementary therapies may be helpful in alleviating symptoms – your doctor can help you understand the potential benefits and risks of adding these therapies to your treatment plan.
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