The Best Treatment for Fibromyalgia

It can be confusing and frustrating to find the best treatment for your fibromyalgia. Often, some treatments don't work, while others only work partially and don't address all of your symptoms. Is there a best treatment for fibromyalgia?

Woman in pain laying on couch next to a mug
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With the treatments that are available, there's no way to say which single fibromyalgia treatment is "the best." One of the few things healthcare providers tend to agree on is that they need to use several types of treatments and that the treatment regimen has to be tailored to each individual case.

Customizing Fibromyalgia Treatment

The big problem here is that fibromyalgia isn't a one-size-fits-all condition. Each person has their own unique blend of symptoms and symptom triggers. Most researchers believe that fibromyalgia actually consists of several subgroups, and once subgroups are properly identified, it will help your healthcare provider recommend which treatments are most likely to help you.

Until then, each person has to go through a process of experimentation to identify which treatments are right for them. Don't expect a miracle from any single thing, but look for worthwhile improvement from several that, hopefully, will eventually amount to a significant change in how you feel. If you try a drug or supplement that improves several symptoms by 5%, consider it a victory and look for other treatments to add to it.

Treatment Options

There are lot of options available when it comes to fibromyalgia treatment.

  • Prescription drugs: Three drugs are FDA-approved for fibromyalgia, but healthcare providers prescribe many others as well; drugs are often used in combination. They work for some, but not for all, and side effects can be a problem.
  • Supplements: Some are well researched and others are not, but people with this condition take a wide array of supplements. While they can be effective, it's important that you watch for side effects, as well.
  • Dietary changes: Some people have food sensitivities, which can cause a lot of problems. It's important to eat a healthy diet and see how different foods affect you.
  • Appropriate exercise/activity levels: Aerobic exercise has been found to be more effective in some cases at improving pain scores and functioning.
  • Acupuncture: This alternative treatment is gaining more acceptance for fibromyalgia. It's not for everyone, but it helps some.
  • Massage and Other Bodywork: A lot of different forms of bodywork are available, and some of them show promise for managing fibromyalgia symptoms.
  • Myofascial release: Some research shows problems with our fascia (a body-wide network of connective tissues.) This treatment focuses on fixing fascial problems.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy: This psychological treatment helps with myriad physiological illnesses, especially for those who need help making positive lifestyle changes and coping with chronic illness.
  • Stress management: Stress makes us worse, so learning beneficial ways to deal with it is essential.
  • Lifestyle changes: This is a big category that can be overwhelming to tackle, so try taking it one thing at a time.
  • Experimental protocols. Several of these exist, including the Guaifenesin protocol and the Pall protocol. Keep in mind that these are unproven, when it comes to both safety and effectiveness, so be careful and be sure to involve your healthcare provider in all your treatment decisions.

You may need to use things from multiple categories to find substantial relief.

The experimentation process can take a long time, a lot of energy, and, sometimes, a lot of money. You have to expect setbacks along the way, too. The pay off for all of that, though, can be reducing your symptoms enough to improve how you feel, how well you function, and your quality of life.

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By Adrienne Dellwo
Adrienne Dellwo is an experienced journalist who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and has written extensively on the topic.