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Fibromyalgia Home Treatments

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Treating fibromyalgia at home

Fibromyalgia is usually treated with prescription medications, but there are many things you can try at home to better manage symptoms like bodywide pain, fatigue, insomnia, and cognitive problems. Below are a range of lifestyle changes you can make.

  • Keep a regular sleep schedule. It’s important to get quality sleep. Follow a healthy sleep routine, avoid caffeine after noon, don’t look at screens before bed, and follow other good sleep habits.
  • Exercise. There is evidence that aerobic exercise for 20–30 minutes, 2–3 days a week can reduce symptoms. But it’s important to listen to your body and not overdo it to avoid a flare-up. As muscle builds over time, pain and discomfort should decrease.
  • Rest your body. Too much exercise or activity may cause symptoms to flare up.
  • Eat a healthy diet and avoid alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, and illicit drugs. Sometimes an anti-inflammatory diet, like the Mediterranean diet, can decrease chronic pain. Try a food journal to see if certain foods trigger a flare-up.
  • Keep a diary. Write down all your daily activities and food intake to help figure out what may trigger a flare-up.
  • Dietary supplements. A number of supplements may help with different symptoms. You should notice an improvement in symptoms within about a month of starting to take a supplement. Supplements include:
    • 5-hydroxytryptophan
    • Magnesium
    • Ginseng
    • Melatonin for insomnia
    • Vitamin D
    • Creatine
    • S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe)
    • Probiotics
    • St John’s wort. Usually users will feel a difference within 1 month.
  • Reduce stress. Stress can cause flare-ups so try to find an activity that can lower your stress levels, like yoga, meditation, deep breathing, journaling, or other activities that you enjoy.
  • Heat/ice. You can try putting a heating pad or cold pack on painful areas. An electric blanket may also help.

There are also complementary therapies that may help symptoms.

  • Acupuncture uses thin needles to stimulate specific points on the body to change how the body reacts. It has been shown to reduce pain.
  • Massage can reduce stress, decrease stiffness, promote relaxation, and relieve pain.

For pain flare-ups, you can take OTC medications, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil). If you have had severe pain in the past, your doctor might have prescribed stronger medication—like codeine or tramadol—to take as needed, but this is not usually recommended.

OTC medications

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) for pain
  • Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) for pain
  • Naproxen for pain
  • Melatonin for sleep
  • Unisom or Benadryl for insomnia
  • Anti-itch creams (itching can be a symptom of fibromyalgia)
  • Imodium for diarrhea
  • Pepcid for an upset stomach

Coping with fibromyalgia

  • Be patient. It might take time to figure out the right combination of medications and therapies to treat your symptoms.
  • Reduce stress with meditation, yoga, massage, or doing activities that you enjoy.
  • If your symptoms are severe or not getting better, try to find a multidisciplinary program that specializes in chronic pain.
  • Consider talk therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help you manage your pain, improve sleep, and help with depression.
  • Join a support group for people with fibromyalgia.

If your symptoms are worsening, see your doctor. You may need different treatments. They may also want to check for other conditions.

If your pain is debilitating, go to the ER immediately.

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Home treatments for fibromyalgia
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