The physician should not treat the disease but the patient who is suffering from it.
Western Medicine’s Approach to Fibromyalgia Treatment
Pharmacological treatment goals are to address pain, muscle tension, insomnia, depression, and anxiety. Some of the available drugs can perform two or more functions. On our website, we do not provide detailed information about western medical treatments for fibromyalgia.
The list below is intended only to educate you in all treatment forms available. Discuss questions or information about any prescription medication should with your prescribing physician, including the termination of medications.
- Anti-Depressants: Two are FDA approved for treatment of fibromyalgia:
Savella (milnacipran) and Cymbalta(duloxetine)
Doctors also prescribe Prozac (fluoxetine) or Zoloft (sertraline)
- Anti-Seizure Medications: Lyrica (pregabalin) (FDA approved for fibromyalgia) and Neurontin (gabapentin)
- Analgesics: Tylenol (acetaminophen), NSAIDs: aspirin, ibuprofen, Aleve (naproxen), Tramadol. These are often combined with other medications. Their ability to alleviate fibromyalgia pain is very limited.
- Muscle Relaxants: Flexeril (Cyclobenzaprine)
Mirapex: Used for Parkinson’s disease. According to research it helps with fibromyalgia pain. It is also effective for restless leg syndrome, which often accompanies fibromyalgia.
Many medications have multiple severe side effects.
All western medicine available for the treatment of fibromyalgia solely decreases symptoms. They have no curative effect.
Alternative Treatments for Fibromyalgia:
- Acupuncture: There is an increasing amount of research showing the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating fibromyalgia pain and associated symptoms.
- Massage: Specialized massage can serve as a wonderful therapeutic intervention to relax and nourish the muscles. It is non-invasive, and most people enjoy it. Unfortunately, some patients cannot tolerate ANY pressure, especially over the trigger points.
- Herbs: We use Chinese herbs at Avicenna Acupuncture. We have our own herb pharmacy with more than 150 individual herbs. We mix several single herbs to make a specific formula for you. Since fibromyalgia has a multitude of clinical presentations, a sincere practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine will not prescribe you a patent formula. Please refer to our Herbal Medicine page for more detailed information.
- Dietary Supplements: A few supplements are recommended specifically for fibromyalgia. Always consult a healthcare professional before you start taking supplements. Some might interact with medications you are already on, and some might produce different side effects. The following list is not complete and the effectiveness of these remedies varies:
– Vitamin B12
– Vitamin D
– 5 HT
– Omega 3
– Saint John’s Wort
- Lifestyle – Diet – Exercise: Last but definitely not least, I consider changes in lifestyle more critical than taking medications or herbs or applying other treatment methods. In the long run, without improving lifestyle pain gets worse and other treatments often become less and less effective.