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Pain Relief

Many people with fibromyalgia find that exercise, relaxation techniques and deeper sleep reduce their pain. Some also find that massage therapy, physiotherapy, osteopathy, taking baths with Epsom salts, acupuncture, acupressure, Botox injections and Lidocaine injections are helpful. A relatively new therapy, called Synaptic Electronic Activation Technology (Sea Tech.), used by physiotherapists, shows promise for long-term pain relief. (However, you should not use it if you are pregnant or have a pacemaker.) The key is to try a variety of approaches and discover what works best for you.

If relaxation, stretching and physical therapies do not reduce your pain, your doctor may suggest pain or other prescription medication. Discuss the benefits and potential side effects of any medication with your doctor, including over-the-counter medications, as any drug can have side effects.

When it comes to pain relief, there is no “one size fits all” solution. Pain relief is a process of trial and error. You and your doctor will need to work together to reduce your pain and improve your quality of life. It is most helpful if you bring in your activity log to all your regular appointments with your doctor. On your activity log, record the pain level by assigning a number from zero to 10 (10 is the worst pain), the time and amount of medication you are taking, and any side effects that result from the medication.

The purpose of taking the medication is to improve your quality of life. You will not be able to get rid of all of your pain. The medication will help to reduce your pain so that you will be able to do more. As you become more mobile, you may be able to reduce the amount of pain medication you are taking by incorporating relaxation and meditation techniques to help control your pain.

Medications that may help include:

  • acetaminophen (Tylenol) every four hours; or with added codeine, as needed (no more than eight tablets per day)
  • tricyclic antidepressants, such as Amitriptyline or Nortriptylline
  • SSRI antidepressants, such as Paxil, Zoloft and Effexor
  • top-grade omega-3 fish oil and omega-6 oil, which can help reduce inflammation
  • NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as Advil, Ibuprofen and COX-2 inhibitors like Celebrex
  • gabapentin and pregabalin (Lyrica)
  • magnesium glycinate/citrate, which can help reduce pain and muscle spasms
  • muscle relaxants, such as cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril), which can help relax spastic muscles
  • antinauseants, such as Gravol, and cannabinoids, such as Cesamet 

Patients with severe pain may need stronger pain relieving medications, including narcotic medication. Your doctor will carefully monitor this kind of treatment on an ongoing basis and may refer you to a pain centre.


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Medical description


Living with fibromyalgia

Activity and exercise




Pain relief


Coping emotionally

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