Fibromyalgia

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Treatment

Currently, there is no cure for fibromyalgia. Few people achieve complete remission of their symptoms, but most learn to live with their condition and are able to live relatively normal lives. Fibromyalgia is not inherently crippling, and it does not decrease the lifespan of those affected by it. Treatment centers on lifestyle changes and symptom relief. Support groups and counseling may help those affected deal with the physical, psychological, financial, and social frustrations that their condition can cause.

For those that can tolerate it, a gentle exercise program is strongly recommended. Regular aerobic exercise and stretching can help maintain muscle conditioning, improve sleep, and decrease pain and stiffness. Caution should be used, especially when starting to exercise, as overexertion can cause painful flare-ups. Stress reduction and limiting caffeine and alcohol also may help to reduce symptoms.

Drug therapies may be able to offer at least short-term symptom improvement, including decreased pain and increased quality of sleep. Trycyclic antidepressants have proven useful for some patients, not because of depression but because of the way the treatment affects brain chemistry. The first U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved treatment, as of June 2007, is the drug pregabalin, an anticonvulsant. People with fibromyalgia should work with their doctors to determine the best course of treatment for them. What works for one person may not work for another, and many people with fibromyalgia are especially sensitive to medication side-effects.

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