Search the internet and you will find a number of websites touting cures for fibromyalgia, a chronic condition that causes muscle pain and stiffness, fatigue, sleep problems, and other debilitating symptoms. Researchers are actively studying fibromyalgia in order to better understand how to diagnose, treat, and prevent this mysterious condition, but there is no permanent cure. This may be disheartening if you have fibromyalgia. However, unlike some other chronic diseases, fibromyalgia does not appear to get worse with time and can improve with active treatment.

Making Sense of Fibromyalgia

Research suggests that fibromyalgia is a disorder in how the body processes pain. People with fibromyalgia have a hypersensitivity to sensations that are not painful to most people.

Doctors don't know exactly what causes fibromyalgia. It is thought that genetics (several fibromyalgia genes have been identified), hormonal and chemical imbalances, and environmental factors all play a role. Some fibromyalgia experts believe that a triggering event, such as long-term stress, illness, or trauma induces a cascade of events in people predisposed to the pain processing disorder. However, at this point there is no widely held theory for what causes fibromyalgia.

In Search of a Cure

Scientists and physicians continue to make strides into the cause and treatment of fibromyalgia. Research reports are published frequently in scientific and medical journals. Current fibromyalgia research is focusing on gaining a better understanding of how the body processes pain, what genes are involved in fibromyalgia, and new treatments and diagnostic tools.

If you’re one of the millions of Americans suffering from fibromyalgia, you may be tempted to look into marketing and advertising claims of a fibromyalgia cure. Check with your doctor first. If it truly is effective, your doctor will probably know about the treatment or can help you investigate its trustworthiness.

What You Can Do Now

Many treatment options are available today to help ease pain, increase energy, and help you live a more enjoyable life. Choose a physician with experience in treating fibromyalgia. Medicines available to help alleviate fibromyalgia symptoms include:

  • Fibromyalgia prescription medicines, such as duloxetine (Cymbalta), pregabalin (Lyrica) and milnacipran (Savella)

  • Pain medications, such as over-the-counter and prescription medicines

  • Antidepressants, such as amitryptiline (Elavil), venlaflaxine (Effexor), paroxetine (Paxil), and fluoxetine (Prozac)

In addition to taking medicine, the following lifestyle modifications can lessen fibromyalgia symptoms:

  • Getting regular exercise

  • Avoiding certain foods, such as aspartame, caffeine, and monosodium glutamate (MSG)

  • Reducing stress

  • Trying alternative treatments, like acupuncture and massage

  • Joining a fibromyalgia support group

Don't lose hope. Take advantage of the options available to you today. Listen to your doctors, find support through fellow fibromyalgia sufferers, and do what you can to take control of your situation. Look into local clinical trials for fibromyalgia treatments through the National Fibromyalgia Association and CenterWatch (Source: CenterWatch). Find comfort in knowing that doctors are learning more about fibromyalgia every day.

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Dec. 15, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2013 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

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