There are many steps you can take to
manage your symptoms. Treatment is focused on
managing pain, fatigue, depression, and other symptoms common in fibromyalgia. The goal is to break the cycle of increased sensitivity to pain and decreased
The treatment you need or want may be based on:
- How bad your symptoms are.
- Whether the condition is disrupting your daily
- What kinds of changes in your life you are willing and able
Getting consistent exercise, especially
cardiovascular exercise, is one of the best ways to manage fibromyalgia. Pool
exercise has been found to work well for many people.2
It's important to build up your exercise program slowly so
you don't get sore muscles that cause you to want to stop exercising. Working
with a physical therapist familiar with fibromyalgia may be helpful.1
For more information, see Exercise and Fibromyalgia.
Medicines are part of the long-term treatment of fibromyalgia. Medicines can help you sleep better, relax
your muscles, or relieve muscle and joint pain. Your doctor may suggest
prescription medicines, such as antidepressants, muscle relaxants, and anticonvulsants. Or he or she may suggest nonprescription pain relievers.
Not all people with fibromyalgia will need, want, or benefit from
medicines. You might need to try one medicine before finding
one that works best for you. You may also find that a medicine that has been
helping your symptoms seems to not work as well over time.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy and other
forms of counseling, including hypnotherapy, have been
shown to help people who have fibromyalgia.2
Counseling can help you learn to
manage your pain, learn to
relax, and reduce stress. These can help decrease pain and
fatigue. And it can improve your mood and help you function.2
Taking care of yourself over time
Taking care of yourself is a vital part of managing
fibromyalgia. For example you can:
- Identify sleep problems, if you have them. Then learn about
ways to get more restful sleep.
pain and stiffness with medicines and heat.
- Identify "triggers"
that seem to make your symptoms worse. Then you can learn to avoid or manage them. Triggers
may be a change in the weather, certain activities, stress, or a lack of
- Talk to your doctor if you have signs of
With help, you will be able to
start working on most of these goals at home. You may have a team of health
professionals to help you. To learn more, see Home Treatment.
Because the symptoms of fibromyalgia can come and go, you
may find it hard to judge whether a particular treatment is really
working. Different people may respond differently to each type of treatment. Many people with fibromyalgia have other joint or muscle diseases (such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus) that need to be treated too.
Finding a treatment
can take time. You may have to try several different treatments to find an
approach that works for you.