Currently, there is no cure for fibromyalgia. Few people achieve complete remission of their symptoms, but most learn to manage their condition. 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 who 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. Research shows that the most effective treatment for fibromyalgia, however, is physical exercise, particularly aerobic exercise. (For resources on treatment, see the Related Pages tab.)