Fibromyalgia: Doctors Agree… It’s Not All in Your Head Anymore


How is fibromyalgia treated?

Widespread pain is generally treated with over-the-counter pain relievers, but narcotics are not approved, as they can intensify pain over time.

In 2004, the US Food and Drug Administration authorized the initial drug for fibromyalgia. Pregabalin appears to function by calming overactive nerves. Unfortunately, it has two serious side effects, vertigo, and sleepiness, that might disperse over time.

The agency has since passed two more drugs: duloxetine is recommended for anxiety, depression and neuropathic nerve pain; milnacipran is another antidepressant approved for fibromyalgia.

While these prescriptions can alleviate some of the complications, many find little relief from the drugs. See the latest report and share your opinions with CNN Health on Facebook and Twitter.


Patients are encouraged to turn to physical and occupational therapy to increase muscle strength and resilience. Stress can also be reduced via yoga, tai chi, meditation, and counseling. Massage can be useful, as it relaxes muscles, reduces stress and improves range of motion in muscles and joints.

Science has united in the pursuit of alternative methods: the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases has a collection of studies underway into the roles of exercise, behavioral therapy, and sleep interventions.

“We now realize that pain can be learned,” Matallana said. “A lot of us with a hereditary predisposition, we were struggling to do it all, and we wore ourselves down. We didn’t eat properly, didn’t exercise, didn’t meditate and take time for ourselves. We overdid the whole process.

“Fibromyalgia is when you have driven your system beyond the limit it can operate, and like a computer, occasionally you have to reboot.”

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