Fibromyalgia is a complex condition that requires multifaceted treatment. In my experience, an effective treatment plan has five main elements, and they are:
Medication includes any and all substances that address Fibro pain, including SNRIs, Lyrica, opioid narcotics, and cannabis. Treating pain and depression are essential to the management of day to day activity, though medication alone is not usually enough.
Meditation has been shown in studies to enhance a number of areas of brain function, including more restorative sleep, higher pain threshold, less illness and improved mood. I believe that a daily meditation practice is one of the core elements of health, for its stress reducing qualities alone. Many people learn to manage pain with meditation techniques and are able to wean off medications entirely.
Food is medicine. People with Fibro should eat an anti-inflammatory diet to the most realistic extreme they can. The Fibro diet is gluten free, sugar free, dairy free and, if possible, nightshades free. My patients report that the classic paleo diet is the most helpful, though I find it unnecessarily strict.
Exercise is good for everyone, but it is understandably difficult for people with chronic pain. However, it is not optional. I personally swim every day and believe water is the best medicine for Fibro. I also believe in yoga, Pilates, biking, even just walking briskly for as long as possible each day. Exercise improves mood, creates energy and reduces pain, but it is hard to get started. That’s where therapy comes in to play.
The last pillar is Therapy. This includes CBT, which is the foundation of the entire treatment plan. Therapy supports the execution of the other four pillars, all of which can be extremely challenging for people with Fibro. The category of therapy also includes other adjunct treatment methods, such as acupuncture, hydrotherapy, homeopathy, and others.
None of this is easy to implement. I strongly suggest using a tracking log as a way to evaluate what works and what does not. There will be a downloadable log available soon on my website www.fibroconsulting.com.
Want to learn more about my treatment method? I offer online courses for healthcare professionals and psychotherapists, and am available for lectures and private consultations. Please visit my website for more information.