There is no definitively proven cause or cure for fibromyalgia, a fact that complicates its treatment considerably. Although most fibromyalgia patients share some combination of its core symptoms, which include widespread pain, fatigue, sleep disruption, mood disorders, and cognitive dysfunction, no two patients experience their symptoms the same way, and currently available treatments are not universally effective for all patients (Mease et al., 2011). In addition, research indicates that many fibromyalgia patients often receive blanket therapy with just one medication (Dussias et al., 2010), despite mounting evidence that shows a multifaceted, comprehensive, and individually-tailored approach to treatment is best to facilitate Fibromyalgia relief. In fact, most researchers agree that a combination of prescription medications, dietary supplements, supportive therapies, and exercise are the best approach to treatment for fibromyalgia. However, no two fibromyalgia patients will utilize the same combination of therapies, and individual responses to particular therapies and interventions will vary in their rates of success.
Of paramount importance in the treatment of fibromyalgia is for patients to make themselves the center point of treatment, by focusing on treatments that match their lifestyle, abilities, symptoms and resources. A personalized treatment approach to Fibromyalgia relief also cannot be developed without a firm understanding of the symptoms and comorbid conditions that require treatment. Education regarding available treatments and effective methods for tracking symptoms and treatment results is also crucial to this process. Patients must also develop a trustworthy team to assist them in pursuing not only their treatment options, but the execution of the treatments they choose. Effective teams typically include the patient’s primary care physician, various specialists (e.g., rheumatologists, neurologists, dieticians, psychologists), as well as friends, family, and even members of fibromyalgia support groups. Finally, specific and achievable goals must be set in order to measure the effects of various treatments.
A vitally important component of personalized fibromyalgia treatment is to constantly and consistently employ a process of observation and evaluation of the treatment methods being used. Through this process, fibromyalgia patients can measure the effectiveness of their treatments, observe the resulting impact on their symptoms, and determine what, if any, changes should be made. The reality of such a system is that it often leads to an ongoing trial-and-error approach to treatment. This can be frustrating for many patients as they search for the treatments that bring them the most benefit, however it is crucial to treatment success and must be embraced as a necessary evil. Utilizing an ongoing process of evaluation, observation, and modification can help patients manage their fibromyalgia effectively and efficiently.
Personalizing Treatment Options
When determining a personalized course of treatment for fibromyalgia, decisions should be driven by both symptoms and causal factors, rather than the agendas of physicians, pharmaceutical companies, or other external entities. Particular treatment options should be evaluated in terms of what they bring to the table for the patient and their symptoms. Examples of important questions to ask during this process include:
- What symptom do I want to address?
- How will this particular treatment impact that symptom?
- What are the potential side effects of this treatment?
- Does this treatment have the potential to interact with other treatments I am using?
- What will this treatment cost?
- What are my expected results and in what time frame should I anticipate to note results?
Throughout this process, it is important to remember that successful Fibromyalgia relief is highly individualized and will vary between patients. What appears to be a miraculous treatment for one patient may fail to provide any noticeable benefit to another. Therefore, patients must embrace and understand the importance of trial and error with regard to the treatment of fibromyalgia, and accept that successful treatment cannot be achieved without the consistent evaluation and validation of individual treatment approaches.
This process typically takes considerable time. A trial and error evaluation process is most effective when employed in a scientific manner meaning that different treatment elements should often be tested in isolation. A patient who begins taking 3 different dietary supplements at the same time will not be able to tell which supplement or combination of supplements is actually driving the results they may experience. If negative side effects are predominant for example, which of the 3 supplements is causing the problems? When too many similar treatment options are tested at the same time it is impossible to accurately measure specific results to associate with any individual option. Following a scientific process of testing treatment initiatives individually will likely facilitate the best results and allow the patient to be confident that are developing the best treatment program possible.
The FibroTrack online fibromyalgia management system has been designed from the ground up to help patients effectively develop and manage an ongoing scientific process of researching, testing and validating different treatment options. If you seek to maximize the effectiveness of your treatment efforts, FibroTrack may be the answer you have been looking for.