What are conventional medical treatments for fibromyalgia?
It can be difficult to diagnose as there are no standard tests for it and it presents symptoms that are common with a number of other conditions. It can also be difficult to find a doctor or specialist who knows how to treat it. If you have had widespread pain for more than 3 months that can't be attributed to another disease, then you may have it.
There are only a few medications specifically approved for treating its symptoms and there is no cure. Duloxetine was originally designed to treat depression and Milnacipran is similar to depression medications. Milnacipran was approved to be used for fibromyalgia in the US but not in Europe. The other one, Pregaballin, was designed to treat pain caused by damage to the nerves. It is an anti-convulsant, or anti-seizure drug. Of course, like all medications, they do have side effects.
Some doctors also prescribe analgesics (painkillers) and/or Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) even though inflammation is not a symptom of fibromyalgia.
What are alternative treatments for fibromyalgia?
There is some evidence that some forms of exercise, such as cardiovascular exercise, improves fitness and may reduce pain and sleep disturbances in some fibromyalgia sufferers. Some have found training in a warm pool useful. Some have found massage, Pilates, Feldenkrais, chiropractic treatments and acupuncture beneficial. Others have found symptoms reduce when using various diets, herbs and dietary supplements. But research on most of these is yet to be conducted.
Of course, essential oils traditionally have also been used for fibromyalgia. For more information, see the Useful Essential Oils tab.