Chronic pain is a highly personalized experience. Your symptoms and how you deal with them will depend on unique factors like your condition, genetic components, and lifestyle habits. For that reason, alternative treatments for fibromyalgia can offer a lot of good to people who haven’t seen results with more conventional therapies for fibromyalgia.
But what alternative treatments for fibromyalgia are worthwhile? And how do you know when it’s time to try alternative therapies? Here’s everything you need to know about managing your fibromyalgia symptoms.
Traditional Fibromyalgia Treatments
In most cases, fibromyalgia symptoms can be treated with a combination of lifestyle adjustments and medications. Before turning to alternative treatments for fibromyalgia, it’s important to try more conventional methods, since these have strong evidence to support their success. Since there is no cure, and no “best” fibromyalgia treatment, these treatments focus on managing symptoms like chronic pain and fatigue.
In the realm of medicines, conventional treatments for fibromyalgia include:
- Over-the-counter pain relievers like Ibuprofen or Advil. Opioids are not recommended for managing chronic pain from fibromyalgia, as they carry a high risk of addiction when used long-term.
- Antidepressants. Clinical trials have shown that antidepressants can treat fibromyalgia pain, and they may also have benefits in helping an individual achieve more well-regulated sleep.
- Anticonvulsants. Typically used to treat epilepsy, these medications can help reduce cramping pains that often accompany fibromyalgia.
Of course there are a variety of physical therapies that doctors employ to treat fibromyalgia, including:
- Physical therapy. By improving your strength, stamina, and flexibility, you may experience a noticeable decrease in your fibromyalgia symptoms, particularly in chronic pain.
- Occupational therapy. Occupational therapists can help you find safe ways to perform your job that do not worsen your fibromyalgia symptoms.
- Mental health counseling. Fibromyalgia can lead to issues with both depression and anxiety. As a result, counseling can be useful in helping you deal with unpleasant emotions related to fibromyalgia.
These are the most conventional fibromyalgia treatments, and while there’s good reason to give them a try, they may not work for everyone. If you aren’t happy with your results after trying more traditional methods, then it’s time to look into alternative treatments for fibromyalgia.
Alternative Treatments for Fibromyalgia
There are a variety of alternative therapies to treat fibromyalgia. Like the more conventional methods, it’s important to know that some of these treatment options may not work for you. But if you’re looking for new ways to manage your chronic pain, many people have found success with these alternative treatments for fibromyalgia.
1. Dietary Supplements
While supplements cannot cure fibromyalgia, there is some evidence that they can minimize fibromyalgia symptoms in some individuals. For this alternative treatment for fibromyalgia, most people try:
- SAMe (S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine): Like antidepressants, this supplement can help boost the availability of dopamine and serotonin in your brain, which can minimize chronic pain symptoms. This alternative treatment for fibromyalgia may also make it easier to sleep.
- 5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan): 5-HTP supplements provide a crucial building block in the creation of serotonin. In this way, they are believed to help ease pain, insomnia, and anxiety that is associated with fibromyalgia.
- Melatonin: This readily available supplement can make a great alternative treatment for fibromyalgia. It is especially useful in helping individuals sleep, which can sometimes be difficult due to fibromyalgia pain.
While dietary supplements make for great alternative treatments for fibromyalgia, be sure to talk with your doctor first. Some supplements can be dangerous when paired with certain prescription medications or diets, so it’s important to only use supplements with a doctor’s knowledge and approval.
2. Massage Therapy
Massage therapy makes for a great alternative treatment for fibromyalgia. By reducing muscle tension and promoting relaxation, it can have a very real effect on chronic pain caused by fibro. Moreover, massage may assist in the production of natural painkilling chemicals, which can help individuals manage fibro symptoms.
While more research is needed, some studies have indicated that massage therapy can demonstrably lower fibromyalgia pain. For this reason, massage therapy could be the alternative treatment for fibromyalgia that you’ve been looking for!
3. Yoga for Fibromyalgia
Yoga has a wide range of benefits for fibromyalgia symptoms. Some of the biggest ones include:
- Improved mode and attitude, which can be helpful for co-occurring anxiety and depression
- Easier ability to relax, which makes it easier to sleep
- Some relief of fibromyalgia pain caused by muscle fatigue
- Improved physical wellness, which can help with managing pain and mental health
Because it has no potential for negative side effects, yoga is among the most recommended alternative treatments for fibromyalgia. However, it’s important to know that yoga’s benefits largely come from the mental aspect. For this reason, you should turn to yoga on top of other treatments, not as a standalone solution.
Managing Your Fibromyalgia Symptoms
Finding the right way to manage your symptoms is a journey. For some, what works might even change over the course of a lifetime. So don’t get discouraged if one or more fibromyalgia treatments don’t work for you—it just means you need to find the right treatment!
That’s the beauty of alternative treatments for fibromyalgia. They can help reinforce more traditional treatments to give you the most relief from your symptoms possible. So if your treatment plan just isn’t working out and you want to supplement it, use these alternative treatments for fibromyalgia to help regain control of your fibro symptoms.
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