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Fibromyalgia Pain Management – What You Need to Know

Understanding Fibromyalgia Pain

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that causes widespread pain and tenderness throughout the body. It also affects sleep, energy levels, and mood, making it a complex and challenging condition to manage. The exact cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, but it's believed to be a combination of factors, including:

  • Abnormal pain processing: The central nervous system may process pain signals differently in people with fibromyalgia, amplifying pain sensations.
  • Genetics: Some people may be more genetically predisposed to developing the condition.
  • Stressful life events: Physical or emotional trauma can trigger the onset of fibromyalgia in some individuals.

Fibromyalgia and Its Symptoms

People with fibromyalgia feel pain differently as this condition involves a change in the neurotransmitters (messenger chemicals) in the brain and spinal cord. With repeated nerve signaling, pain is often amplified.

The most common symptoms of fibromyalgia include:

  • Chronic, widespread pain: This is the hallmark symptom, often described as aching, burning, or throbbing, and typically affecting multiple areas like the arms, legs, back, neck, and hips.
  • Fatigue: People with fibromyalgia often experience overwhelming tiredness and a lack of energy, even after getting enough sleep.
  • Sleep problems: Difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or achieving deep, restorative sleep are common issues.

Other fibromyalgia symptoms: These can vary but may include:

  • Muscle stiffness and tenderness
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet
  • Headaches, including migraines
  • Difficulty concentrating, thinking clearly, and remembering things (often called "fibro fog")
  • Sensitivity to light, noise, odors, and temperature
  • Digestive problems like bloating or constipation
  • Emotional and mental distress, such as anxiety and depression

It’s important to note that fibromyalgia symptoms can vary significantly from person to person in terms of severity and duration. Fibromyalgia does not cause visible swelling or redness in the joints, unlike some other conditions like arthritis.

Fibromyalgia Pain Management

Fibromyalgia pain management starts with a timely diagnosis from your doctor. It is also based on certain self-care measures to increase your energy, as well as prescribed medication that actively works on the brain and spinal cord.

If you are one of the 10 million Americans suffering from fibromyalgia, here is what you can do to manage your pain and reclaim your life.

Medicinal Treatment of Fibromyalgia

The treatment that works best for each patient will depend on their symptoms. That is why continuous communication with your physician is crucial. Through conversations about your symptoms and medical history, our affiliated pain specialists will be able to recommend a medication such as:

  • Acetaminophen is a pain reliever that reduces muscle aches and stiffness.
  • Antidepressants are medicines that increase certain chemicals in your brain. They treat depression and improve pain. Duloxetine (Cymbalta), Milnacipran (Savella), and Amitriptyline (Elavil) are some examples.
  • Muscle relaxants relax your muscles and promote sleep.
  • Anti-seizure drugs are used to reduce certain types of chronic pain.
  • Pregabalin (Lyrica) was the first drug approved for fibromyalgia.
  • Naltrexone is a medication that acts at the same receptors where opioids work. When taken in low doses, it decreases the widespread pain of fibromyalgia.

It should be noted that certain medications are not as effective at relieving pain caused by fibromyalgia. These medications include:

  • Anti-inflammatory medicines are not as helpful. Some examples are Aspirin and Ibuprofen.
  • Opioids can lead to dependence and an actual increase in pain over time. Therefore, they should be avoided.
  • Steroids should not be used since fibromyalgia does not cause inflammation. However, they help with immune disorders if they exist alongside fibromyalgia.
  • Anti-anxiety medicines improve sleep and relax muscles. However, they are habit-forming. Their use is limited by concerns about dependence.

Other Fibromyalgia Treatment Options


Exactly how massage manipulation alleviates pain is something of a mystery, but it involves molding the soft tissues. In a review completed by Pain Medicine, it was stated that massage therapy relieves pain better in contrast to getting no treatment at all and is frequently beneficial. It was also reported that massage reduced general anxiety and improved the overall quality of life, improving sleep and emotional health while promoting overall healing.


Another treatment option for fibromyalgia is therapy. This can come in several forms including physical therapy, occupational therapy, and counseling. Physical therapy can improve your strength and flexibility. Your therapist will ease you into new, low-impact exercises in order to find what is right for your body. Occupational therapy can help you modify your everyday life, whether at work or in your home, in order to decrease strain on your body. Finally, counseling. Managing chronic pain like that associated with fibromyalgia can be isolating and debilitating, often taking a toll on your mental health. A counselor can provide a safe space for you to speak openly about your condition and the feelings associated. Many counselors will utilize Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to help influence your thoughts and manage your emotions and stress levels.


The exact link between fibromyalgia and diet is still under research, but there is evidence suggesting that certain dietary choices may help manage symptoms like fatigue, pain, and difficulty sleeping. It's important to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian to determine the best dietary approach for you.


While the thought of exercise might seem daunting when dealing with the fatigue and pain of fibromyalgia, it's actually one of the most effective tools available for managing the condition. Regular physical activity, even low-impact exercises, can offer a multitude of benefits.

Self Care

Fibromyalgia thrives on stress and disrupts your natural rhythms, making self-care a crucial weapon in your symptom management arsenal. By incorporating various techniques into your daily routine, you can create a foundation for improved well-being and reduced symptom intensity.

Find Relief For Your Fibromyalgia Pain

Stop sitting in pain and take action against your fibromyalgia today! If you are experiencing ongoing pain caused by fibromyalgia, it is important to seek the help of a pain specialist as soon as possible. Our affiliated physicians are here to help you find the relief you need. Contact us online or by calling to book your next appointment.

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