The Mayo Clinic, a nonprofit medical institution, employs a full staff of medical professionals in every specialty area, conducts research to improve the prevention and treatment of disease and seeks to educate medical personnel and the general public. Patients with fibromyalgia receive support, treatment and information from the Mayo Clinic Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Center. Although many patients continue to search for the magic cure in a drug or a supplement, the clinic staff stresses the importance of lifestyle changes to manage symptoms on a daily basis.
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Doctors classify fibromyalgia as a syndrome rather than a disease because it involves many unrelated symptoms, occurs along with a variety of other conditions and has no identifiable cause. Fibromyalgia causes chronic pain that can interfere with daily activity and become debilitating. The pain occurs in the body’s tender points, such as in the back of the head, between the shoulder blades, in the upper chest, in the hips and in the inner part of the knees. Along with pain, patients experience sleep disturbances, fatigue, anxiety and depression. Many patients also suffer from restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea, and digestive conditions like irritable bowel syndrome.
The Mayo Clinic recognizes that patients with fibromyalgia use more dietary supplements in hopes of treating their symptoms, according to Connie Leudtke, registered nurse in the Mayo Clinic Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Clinic. You may try everything from essential minerals like magnesium, which when taken with malic acid may help improve pain, to Gotu Kola, an herb used in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine to help relieve anxiety. Supplements should be taken only under the supervision of a doctor, and the Mayo Clinic staff stresses that using complementary therapies and lifestyle changes can better help you cope with fibromyalgia.
The doctors at the Mayo Clinic educate patients with fibromyalgia on how to minimize the chronic pain to help them return to their daily activities. Utilizing complementary therapies like heat packs, warm baths and massage therapy can help decrease pain. Acupuncture and chiropractic therapy can also help reduce pain. By reducing the pain, patients can sleep better and decrease their anxiety, which can help reduce the severity of associated conditions like depression and irritable bowel syndrome.
Because there is no medicine or supplement that can cure your fibromyalgia, the Mayo Clinic doctors suggest steps you can take to cope with your condition. You will experience good days when the symptoms are bearable and bad days when they seem to be more than you can take. On your good days, make a list of friends and family you can call on to help you during the bad days. Getting daily exercise can help reduce stress and anxiety, which can help you sleep better and decrease pain. In addition, you can try meditation and deep breathing techniques to reduce stress and anxiety.