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Specialized Care for and Relief from Fibromyalgia

The UH Division of Rheumatology’s medical experts can help you get relief from fibromyalgia pain and learn to better manage your symptoms.

Fibromyalgia affects about two percent of the U.S. population. It is a type of soft tissue syndrome that causes musculoskeletal pain and fatigue. Women are seven times more likely to have fibromyalgia than men. Tender points of the body, fatigue and sleep disorders are signs of fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia treatment is fairly standard, starting with medication and self-management.

Generally, your physician will prescribe over-the-counter pain relievers such as such as those with acetaminophen (Tylenol,), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen sodium (Aleve). In some cases, your doctor may suggest a prescription pain reliever to help you better handle the discomfort. Depending on your fibromyalgia symptoms, your physician could also prescribe antidepressants and/or anti-seizure drugs.

In addition to fibromyalgia medication, your doctor may also request a variety of therapies, including physical therapy, occupational therapy or counseling.

Living with fibromyalgia means making adjustments in your life and taking a more active role in managing the disease. The UH Division of Rheumatology recommends that you start with making sure you are taking the medications prescribed to you by your physician. They also advise you to monitor the following:

  • Sleep - Make sure you practice good sleep habits such as going to bed and getting up at the same time. Also, pace yourself during the day. Try not to overdo it.
  • Exercise - Be as active as you can. Regular exercise — like walking or swimming — two to three times a week is one of the best ways to manage fibromyalgia because it eases fatigue. Balancing exercises and resistance training can help as well. In addition, exercise will help you sleep better. Your UH fibromyalgia expert physician may recommend an exercise program for you or suggest another type of supervised rehabilitation to improve your strength, flexibility, and stamina.
  • Stress - Find a way to avoid or limit emotional stress. Allow yourself to relax every day. You may even want to try stress management techniques, such as deep-breathing exercises or meditation.