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Health Tip: Treating Fibromyalgia

Combination of lifestyle changes and medication may reduce symptoms

(HealthDay News) -- Fibromyalgia is a chronic disease that affects more adult women than men, but can strike any gender, age or race.

The disease is characterized by musculoskeletal soreness and stiffness, pain or sensitivity, fatigue and difficulty sleeping.

The National Fibromyalgia Association (NFA) notes that while pain most often occurs in the neck, back, shoulders, hands and pelvis, any area of the body may be symptomatic.

Other symptoms of fibromyalgia include migraines, dizziness, difficulty concentrating, lack of coordination, anxiety and depression. Pain is typically described as either shooting or a consistent aching, numbness, or a burning or tingling sensation.

The NFA says fibromyalgia is diagnosed by analyzing certain criteria and patient symptoms, but is not currently diagnosed by any test or procedure. Treatments for the condition are often holistic and address both medical and lifestyle changes.

Pain relief medication -- such as over-the-counter ibuprofen or acetaminophen, or prescription non-narcotics -- may alleviate discomfort. Sometimes, anti-depressants are prescribed, as well.

A regular sleep schedule also is usually part of the treatment, including a quiet, comfortable sleep environment. Support groups, counseling, physical therapy, chiropractic, herbal supplements, therapeutic massage, yoga and other alternative therapies have also proven to be effective in helping patients with fibromyalgia feel better and lead normal lives.

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