Proven treatments for JFM are education about the disease and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Other medication treatments that are proven to work in adults with fibromyalgia have been used with some success in children, but have not been formally approved. There are clinical trials actively studying the effects of these medicines in children with JFM.
CBT is a program that helps children learn to decrease their experience of pain by helping them to understand their triggers for pain and how to prevent them. CBT also helps to educate patients on how to respond or cope with their pain. Techniques include relaxation, imagery, positive thinking, and pacing. CBT is best learned from a trained psychologist.
Exercise is an important part of treatment in JFM and has proven quite successful in clinical trials in adults. The most effective exercise is aerobic exercise, meaning any exercise in which the heart rate is increased. Examples include walking, biking, swimming, running, rowing or using an elliptical trainer or stair stepper. Some sports like basketball, soccer, and track provide enough aerobic exercise. Other sports such as baseball, softball and volleyball may be less effective.
Medications that have been shown to help adults with fibromyalgia include amitriptyline (Elavil), cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril), fluoxetine (Prozac), and venlafaxine (Effexor). Only recently has the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved medications for the treatment of adult fibromyalgia. These medicines include duloxetine (Cymbalta), milnacipran (Savella), and pregabalin (Lyrica). These medications mostly work by changing chemical signaling by the nerves.
Clinical drug trials are under way to test the use of these drugs in JFM. Some of these drugs are also used to treat depression and anxiety. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin, Aleve) have not been proven effective in the long-term treatment of fibromyalgia but may provide temporary pain relief.