Alternative Treatment for Fibromyalgia
Exercise has come to be a prescribed part of some healthcare providers' pain treatment regimens for patients with fibromyalgia. Because there is a known link between many types of chronic pain and tense, weak muscles, exercise -- even light-to-moderate exercise such as walking or swimming -- can contribute to an overall sense of well-being by improving blood and oxygen flow to muscles. Just as we know that stress contributes to pain, we also know that exercise, sleep, and relaxation can all help reduce stress, thereby helping to alleviate pain associated with fibromyalgia. It is important, however, that patients carefully follow the routines laid out by their healthcare providers.
Massage may also be helpful for people with fibromyalgia. In this pain-relief approach, a massage therapist will lightly stroke and/or knead the painful muscle. This may increase blood flow and bring warmth to a stressed area. However, fibromyalgia tender points are very sensitive, so the therapist must be familiar with the disorder.
Supplements as Alternative Treatment for FibromyalgiaThough some herbal and dietary supplements are currently being studied for their effects on fibromyalgia, to date there is little, if any, scientific proof that any of them help with the relief of fibromyalgia symptoms. The supplements with the best evidence that they may work include magnesium and S-adenosylmethionine (SAM-e).
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate the sale of dietary supplements, so information about side effects, the proper dosages, and the amount of a preparation's active ingredient may not be well-known.
Final Thoughts on Fibromyalgia Treatment AlternativesIf you are using, or would like to try, a complementary or alternative therapy for fibromyalgia, you should speak with your healthcare provider about it first. He or she may know more about the therapy's effectiveness, as well as whether it is safe to try in combination with your medications or other treatment recommendations. Some other things to consider before trying any alternative treatments for fibromyalgia include:
- Make sure you have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia by a healthcare provider who has substantial conventional medical training and experience with fibromyalgia patients. Fibromyalgia can be hard to diagnose, since there is no single test for it and its symptoms can be similar to those of other conditions.
- Conventional treatments for fibromyalgia should not be replaced with an alternative therapy that is unproven.