FMS Treatments Tips

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What therapies are there for the treatment of fibromyalgia?

Tai Chi and Fibromyalgia

Tai Chi is a Chinese martial art that incorporates health, mindfulness, and the physical exercises often done in slow motion in contemporary practice. Although a martial art used as a form of defense, Tai Chi has recently gained attention as a form of exercise that can be beneficial for those suffering fibromyalgia and arthritis.

Fibromyalgia is a general pain disorder that affects as many as five million people in the United States. Of those suffering fibromyalgia, the majority are women. Fibromyalgia is controversial in nature because there are still no diagnostic tests to determine the presence of fibromyalgia and self-reporting still remains the major contributing factor to diagnosis. However, for patients with fibromyalgia, the pain is very real, and often medical treatments remain costly and with difficult side effects such as fatigue and weight gain.

In a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers examined 66 patients and concluded that there was significant improvement in fibromyalgia symptoms versus strict medical treatment. This study is the first to recognize an alternative technique to healing and health.

If you are interested in tai chi or its sister qi gong, you can contact your local martial arts studio. Usually, tai chi is taught with other Chinese arts such as Kung Fu. There are also several videos available through online retailers and Gaiam, a company that specializes in fitness.

Further information on the study published by the New England Journal of Medicine can be found at

Can I use essential oils to help with pain and sleep?

Coping with flare-ups

A flare is what we call it when all of our symptoms seem to intensify, so that we find ourselves in more pain, and functioning at a much lower level that usual. Flares can be brought on by stress, either physical or emotional, changes in weather, over-exertion, etc. Try to pace yourself and avoid intense periods of activity. When a flare hits, don't push yourself. Your body is telling you that it needs a time-out.

Are there any home remedies for pain?

Home treatments for pain

Sometimes your medications won't seem like enough to help with the pain. But there are some things you can do to help yourself. Often plain aspirin, Tylenol or ibuprofen will be enough more to take of the edge. A warm bath (using essential oils, if you have them) can be very effective. Try a bit of self-massage. Light exercises such as walking can be beneficial in working out kinks caused by staying in one position too long.

How can I make dental work easier on myself?

Fibro and dentists

Be sure to tell your dentist about your fibromyalgia. They can schedule shorter sessions for you so that your jaws don't get painful from having your mouth stretched open for long periods, and can either use devices to take the pressure off, or refrain from using those that may cause pain.

Can I use essential oils to help with pain and sleep?

Pain and aromatherapy

Essential oils have healing properties and were often part of traditional medicine until chemical alternatives were developed. Sometimes a few drops of juniper or marjoram oil, or some lavender oil in a warm bath can soothe muscular pain and also help promote better sleep.

How can I get a more comfortable night´s sleep?

Pillow for Better Sleep

Look for a special pillow made of memory foam that is higher at the edges than at the center. These pillows will support your neck and upper shoulders, giving you a more comfortable sleep. You should also wake up not feeling as stiff as you do with a regular pillow.

How can I get a more comfortable night´s sleep?

Better Support Means Better Sleep

One product that will not only give you better sleep but also keep you from waking feeling achey all over is a memory foam mattress, or mattress topper. If you sleep on your side, you need one at least 4" thick; stomach sleepers use a 3" one. The foam supports all of your tender areas so that you get an extremely comfortable sleep with no stress or strain on unsupported areas. In addition, the better sleep may help with firbofog. Check eBay, or type "memory foam mattress topper" into a search engine. Do not be tempted by the ultra-cheap 2" toppers offered on TV shopping shows.

What symptoms do doctors typically prescribe medications for?

Commonly treated symptoms

Depending on your individual case and the severity of other symptoms, you may receive medication for anxiety, headaches, irritable bladder or bowel and restless leg syndrome (RLS) as well as something for pain and something to help relax the connective tissues.

Why did my doctor prescribe muscle relaxants? I need pain relief!

Sleep aids for FMS

Much of the pain experienced with fibro comes from tension in the muscles and connective tissues. Some doctors prescribe muscle relaxants as an alternative to painkillers. Others prescribe them as something to be taken at night before sleeping, to help us get better sleep without pain. The most common of these are Soma (Carisoprodol), Cyclobenzaprine and Zanaflex. Many times these lose their effectiveness after a few months of regular use.

Will the "pain patch" help me with my chronic fibro pain?

Inform your doctors about medications you take

Be certain to let your doctor know everything that you are taking in the way of medication – even over the counter drugs and herbal supplements. If you have more than one doctor, keep all of them informed as your medications change. Certain drugs can have harmful interactions, or can interfere with each other so that they lose their intended effect.

What can the doctor do to help with my fibro symptoms?

Common treatments

Since we don't exactly know the causes of fibro no one can hand us an instant cure, but traditional medicine directs itself toward alleviating some of the symptoms and restoring some of our ability to function. Most doctors will prescribe something for pain, as well as something to help us to sleep more soundly. Many will also prescribe something for the stress and depression that can come so easily to those who live with chronic pain.

How safe are the commonly prescribed pain medications?

Common pain meds for FMS and risks

Most doctors will start by prescribing something to help the pain associated with fibro. Some of the drugs commonly prescribed include COX-2 inhibitors, Hydrocodone, Soma (Carisoprodol), Fentanyl (Duragesic) and Ultram. Pain medications have to be prescribed and taken extremely carefully because of the risks involved. Many have undesirable side effects, or interactions with other medications; a few can be addictive, so make sure your physician is aware of everything you are taking - even over the counter drugs.

Will exercising help me or hurt me?

Exercise as therapy

Physical therapy for fibromyalgia involves light aerobic exercises such as walking treadmills, exercise bikes, swimming and work with light weights. It is best to begin your program in consultation with a trained physical therapist. Once you have learned the program, you can continue for yourself at a local gym or on your own. Check with your doctor to see what type of exercise he or she recommends. Anything too strenuous can hurt more than it helps.

Can I relieve my allergies without having to take more pills?

Allergy Busters

Invest in an air purifier - preferably one that is also an ionizer. It will trap dust, mold, smoke and other impurities in the air so that they don't aggravate the allergies so many of us suffer from. The Neo-Tec JX-2000 is an affordable room sized purifier that works well and doesn't require expensive filters. You'll feel better almost immediately.

Will the "pain patch" help me with my chronic fibro pain?

Narcotic time release medications

A common aid to FMS pain is an analgesic skin patch called Duragesic (Fentanyl), which is applied every third day and works on a time release basis. The first application may take up to 72 hours to become effective. This drug is prescribed only for chronic pain, and is a narcotic with addictive potential, although effective if used exactly as prescribed. Some patients, however, report that the patch is not effective for the full 72 hours, and so find that they need another medication for ”breakthrough” pain.

Why did my doctor put me on Prozac if I´m not depressed?

Prozac and FMS

Doctors commonly prescribe Prozac for fibromyalgia, not necessarily because the patient is depressed, but because Prozac is what is called a serotonin reuptake inhibitor. Fibromyalgia patients have an imbalance of serotonin in their systems, which the Prozac helps to correct.

Will the "pain patch" help me with my chronic fibro pain?

Pain medications for severe cases

Medical studies have shown that 5 mg. of Hydrocodone are equivalent to 30 g. of codeine. It has opioid properties and the potential for becoming addictive, and so its use is strictly regulated. Usually it is sold in ibuprofen or acetaminophen as a prescription-only drug; the name on the bottle may be Vicoprofen. It is useful in cases of severe pain but should not be taken regularly without strict regulation by your physician.

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