Fibromyalgia

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Fibromyalgia Guide

Susan Cody HERWriter Guide

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If you’ve been diagnosed with fibromyalgia and you don’t want to, or can’t take the powerful SSRI medications offered to treat it, you may be interested in looking at other, gentler ways to manage your condition.

Swimming

A recent review of eight studies found that pool exercise reduced pain, improved sleep and improved the mood of fibromyalgia sufferers for up to two years after a course of exercise and was shown to have greater benefits than land exercise. The review authors wrote:

"Pool exercise may be better tolerated as an initial means of exercise by individuals with arthritis in weight-bearing joints (because of water buoyancy) or by individuals who fear exercise will exacerbate their pain. Pool exercise can be an effective intervention for individuals with fibromyalgia."

Plan a regular trip to the swimming pool or book a gentle water aerobics class and see if this benefits you.

Acupuncture and Electro-acupuncture

Several studies have found that acupuncture or electro-acupuncture can ease fibromyalgia. For instance, in one study 70 patients were divided into two groups. One group of 36 had electro-acupuncture and another had a sham treatment. The researchers found that, "Seven of the eight outcome parameters showed a significant improvement in the active treatment group whereas none were improved in the sham treatment group. Differences between the groups were significant for five of the eight outcome measures after treatment. Electro-acupuncture is effective in relieving symptoms of fibromyalgia."

Use a TENS Machine or Heat Pack

Using a TENS machine can provide temporary relief from the symptoms of fibromyalgia. TENS machines send tiny electrical pulses into your back, via electrode pads. These pulses stimulate your body’s natural production of the hormone endorphin, which is the body’s natural painkiller. If you suffer from back or abdominal pain, the sensation of the electrical pulses can also scramble over the sensation of your pain.

You cannot use this method in water or if you have a heart condition or a pacemaker fitted.

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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