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Let’s talk about fibromyalgia – a musculoskeletal condition that nowadays affects more than 12 million Americans. Although is the most common musculoskeletal condition after osteoarthritis, it is still often misdiagnosed and misunderstood by the masses.

Fibromyalgia is characterized by a widespread musculoskeletal pain and fatigue, often setting off feelings of depression and anxiety. While there are several types of medications that may help patients combat fibromyalgia, such as anticonvulsants, antidepressants, and sleep medication, so far only three specific drugs have been approved by the FDA. The drugs target treating the symptoms of fibromyalgia, and not the condition as a whole; they include:

  • Lyrica is a medication used to treat pain caused by nerve damage.
  • Cymbalta is a medication classified as a SNRI, or a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor and is used to treat depression and anxiety as well as relive nerve pain.
  • Savella like Cymbalta, it is also classified as an SNRI, and is known to relieve symptoms of fibromyalgia as well as improve physical function.

Because there is extensive research yet to be done on this condition, those suffering from this chronically painful condition need to understand the importance of living an overall healthy life. Establishing a healthy and active lifestyle and incorporating key pain-fighting foods is key to managing and combating its debilitating symptoms.

people exercising

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

If you suffer from fibromyalgia, one of the best things you can do to manage and improve your pain is exercise. While in the beginning, I know it may hurt to actually get those joints moving, but trust that it will absolutely aid in your pain management, help to uplift your mood, and you’ll sleep more soundly.

Regular exercise, such as aerobics and swimming, is known to improve blood flow to muscles, can reduces levels stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, and it stimulates the production of endorphins, (which are linked to the body’s natural painkillers and mood-enhancement elevators). Moreover, exercise also increases production of serotonin, which in turn will help with mood-stabilization and relaxation.