How to relieve fibromyalgia pain
This article looks at the various ways a person can relieve the pain of fibromyalgia using medical treatments, medications, home remedies, and natural products.
Some prescription medications can help with the pain of fibromyalgia. These include:
1. Over-the-counter pain medication
Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers, including aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs(NSAIDs), such as Naproxen, may help a person to manage fibromyalgia pain. Some people find that OTC versions of these drugs work well. When these medications are not effective, a doctor may prescribe stronger pain medication.
2. Fibromyalgia drugs
There are a variety of treatments that may be helpful in relieving fibromyalgia pain.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved three drugs specifically for treating fibromyalgia. Those include:
- pregabalin (Lyrica), which may calm overactive nerves
- duloxetine (Cymbalta), a drug that acts on brain chemicals called serotonin and norepinephrine to dampen pain signals
- milnacipran (Savella), which also acts on serotonin and norepinephrine to reduce pain
A 2018 study, for instance, shows that people using pregabalin reported improvements in pain, quality of life, mood, and sleep.
People with fibromyalgia may need to try several drugs or different dosages before they find the right combination for them. Talk to a doctor about any side effects, and ask how long it will take the medication to work. Some drugs require several weeks to become fully effective.
Some research suggests that low levels of the chemical serotonin make people more vulnerable to fibromyalgia. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which increase serotonin levels, may help with some fibromyalgia symptoms.
4. Sleeping medications
Many people with fibromyalgia struggle to sleep at night. Sleep deprivation can make the pain worse. When home treatments, such as going to bed at the same time each night and investing in a comfortable mattress fail, doctors may prescribe sleeping medications.
5. Narcotic pain medication
Narcotic pain relievers called opioids change the way the brain responds to pain. They can relieve many types of pain, although their effectiveness for fibromyalgia pain is unclear.
A 2018 study found that the fibromyalgia drugs containing pregabalin worked better for pain relief than opioids. Because opioids can be addictive, it is essential to talk to a healthcare provider about the benefits and risks of these drugs and to consider other treatments first.
6. Non-narcotic pain medication
Some doctors prescribe non-narcotic pain relievers, such as Tramadol, to help with the pain of fibromyalgia. These drugs can be effective but can also be addictive. It is essential to monitor the dosage and to consider other strategies for long-term pain management.