Fibromyalgia patients have to learn to deal with chronic pain. The problem is that pain and insomnia cause a vicious cycle of increased pain and decreased sleep. Insomnia has been shown in many studies to decrease a patient pain threshold.
Treating insomnia can be quite difficult. Medications are usually the first line of treatment. They work well in the beginning but patients build up a tolerance over a period of time. This is particularly true of Fibromyalgia patients because it must overcome the pain the patient feels. When you mix the short term effects of medication such as Ambien or Lunesta with cognitive behavioral therapy, also known as CBT, patients have much more success.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a psychological treatment where a therapist helps a person changes their thinking about an issue so they can change the behavior. This therapy has shown a 30%-40% success rate in the treatment of insomnia. When it is combines with short term sleep medications the efficacy increases to 65%-70%.
Many patients may be reluctant to go this route because doctors in the past may have told them their Fibromyalgia was in their head. The medical profession has changed their understanding of this condition and is looking to alternative therapies to help to deal with this condition. Cognitive behavioral therapy is one tool to not only help with insomnia but to help with the chronic pain as well.
As with any therapy you should always discuss your options with your doctor because he/she knows your full case history. For those who are looking for the best way to handle the sleepless nights these therapies are a great new option.