Six Important Things to Know about Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS)

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Jenny L. F. Andrus, MD

1. Self-care is key. Exercise and stress management are the most important aspects of your care. Try yoga, swimming or walking.  Meditation and Mindfulness are proven stress reducers. Try to do something everyday that relieves your stress and gets you moving.

2. Mood disorders are common with FMS and failure to treat them often results in poor outcomes. Being referred to a psychologist who treats chronic pain patients can make a significant improvement in your pain.

3. The medications prescribed to treat FMS can be helpful, but they are not a cure. They also have the potential for side effects. We’ll consider them, as appropriate, but only when used in conjunction with life-style modifications will they likely be significantly beneficial.

4. Opiates (oxycontin, oxycodone or Percocet, to name a few) and benzodiazepines (like Valium or Xanax) are not a treatment option for Fibromyalgia. They do not help in the long term and are associated with unacceptable risks. Opiate use may even worsen your pain through further central sensitization, so their use isn’t recommended for FMS patients.

5. There are some “out of the box” treatments that can be explored. Some of these are alternative therapies, like acupuncture. There are different diets (usually anti-inflammatory) that may be helpful as well. Some medications, such as low dose naltrexone, may also be of help; however, there’s limited research on this. We can consider these, based on your response to self-care and your other health conditions.

6. This condition does affect most aspects of your life. It is, however, controllable and shouldn’t result in disability. The best treatments involve staying engaged in life and continuing to participate in events you find meaningful.

If you’re interested in making an appointment with Dr. Andrus or another one of our providers, get started online by clicking the “Request Appointment” button below or by calling (757) 596-1900.