The chronic pain of fibromyalgia, often worse in the winter, can still be effectively managed and treated, doctor writes

Winter can be tough for people with fibromyalgia, "a complex, long-term illness that causes severe musculoskeletal pain and fatigue," and affects women more than men, Dr. Indhira Bisono-Jimenez of KentuckyOne Health Rheumatology Associates writes for the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Dr. Indhira Bisono-Jimenez
"Chronic feelings of intense joint or muscle pain and increased fatigue are the most prominent symptoms of fibromyalgia," Bisono-Jimenez writes. "Other symptoms might include depression, anxiety, stress, sleep deprivation, headaches or migraines, tingling or numbness in the hands and feet, and problems with the digestive system, such as constipation and irritable bowel syndrome."

Fortunately, the doctor writes, fibromyalgia can be "effectively treated and managed," with "narcotic medications used to relieve intense pain, duloxetine or milnacipran to treat pain and fatigue, pregabalin for nerve pain, and over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen, aspirin or naproxen.
A series of therapeutic treatment options are often recommended to alleviate pain. Massage therapy, chiropractic therapy, movement therapy and acupuncture are all recommended as a supplement to reducing pain and treating fibromyalgia. Physical and occupational therapy are often recommended as well, along with counseling to help sufferers learn strategies to better manage stress."

Aside from medicine and therapy, doctors may also recommend lifestyle changes to help treat and manage fibromyalgia. Those include "getting plenty of sleep and exercising regularly," Bisono-Jimenez writes. "Walking, biking or swimming at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week is often recommended. Maintaining a proper diet, getting enough sleep and modifying workloads are also key to effectively managing fibromyalgia."

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