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There is no one “magic bullet” fibromyalgia treatment, so a team approach is often used that includes both traditional and alternative remedies. Along with a few prescription medications that are approved for fibromyalgia, doctors often treat the disease with analgesic pain medications and anti-depressants. Alternative remedies include physical therapy, biofeedback, massage therapy, meditation and acupuncture as well as herbal remedies.
Lifestyle changes, such as improving sleep, stress management, eating a balanced diet and exercise have also been shown to improve fibromyalgia symptoms. Exercise in particular is very important. Patients who are in too much pain to do rigorous exercise should start slowly with walking, yoga or stretching and gradually build up from there.
Doctors are currently limited in the number of pharmaceutical options available for fibromyalgia, which is why many patients turn to alternative remedies in addition to medication. Only three prescription medicines are FDA approved to treat fibromyalgia: duloxetine (originally approved to treat depression), milnacipran and pregabalin. Doctors may also use prescription or over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen, naproxen and ibuprofen, as well as certain anti-depressants, as some experts believe there is a correlation between fibromyalgia and depression. Anti-seizure drugs like gabapentin have been shown to be helpful in reducing certain types of pain.