How to relieve fibromyalgia pain

Doctors are still unsure about what causes fibromyalgia, a condition where a person feels pain
despite having no signs of physical injuries or inflammation. However, there is a wide range of
natural and medical treatments available that may help with the symptoms.

This article looks at the various ways a person can relieve the pain of fibromyalgia using medical treatments, medications, home remedies, and natural products.

Medical treatments

Some prescription medications can help with the pain of fibromyalgia. These include:

1. Over-the-counter pain medication

Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers, including aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs(NSAIDs), such as Naproxen, may help a person to manage fibromyalgia pain. Some people find that OTC versions of these drugs work well. When these medications are not effective, a doctor may prescribe stronger pain medication.

2. Fibromyalgia drugs

There are a variety of treatments that may be helpful in relieving fibromyalgia pain.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved three drugs specifically for treating fibromyalgia. Those include:

  • pregabalin (Lyrica), which may calm overactive nerves
  • duloxetine (Cymbalta), a drug that acts on brain chemicals called serotonin and norepinephrine to dampen pain signals
  • milnacipran (Savella), which also acts on serotonin and norepinephrine to reduce pain

A 2018 study, for instance, shows that people using pregabalin reported improvements in pain, quality of life, mood, and sleep.

People with fibromyalgia may need to try several drugs or different dosages before they find the right combination for them. Talk to a doctor about any side effects, and ask how long it will take the medication to work. Some drugs require several weeks to become fully effective.

3. Antidepressants

Some research suggests that low levels of the chemical serotonin make people more vulnerable to fibromyalgia. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which increase serotonin levels, may help with some fibromyalgia symptoms.

Also, living with fibromyalgia can lead to depression and anxiety. Some people find that taking antidepressants improves their mood, which helps them better manage pain.

4. Sleeping medications

Many people with fibromyalgia struggle to sleep at night. Sleep deprivation can make the pain worse. When home treatments, such as going to bed at the same time each night and investing in a comfortable mattress fail, doctors may prescribe sleeping medications.

5. Narcotic pain medication

Narcotic pain relievers called opioids change the way the brain responds to pain. They can relieve many types of pain, although their effectiveness for fibromyalgia pain is unclear.

A 2018 study found that the fibromyalgia drugs containing pregabalin worked better for pain relief than opioids. Because opioids can be addictive, it is essential to talk to a healthcare provider about the benefits and risks of these drugs and to consider other treatments first.

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