20 Alternative Treatments for Fibromyalgia: Ultimate Guide to Approaches - Includes 2024 Review

  • Fibromyalgia


Leva Clinic

First Published 5/13/2024

Last Updated 5/17/2024

25 alternative treatments for fibromyalgia


This article has been reviewed by a Leva pain specialist clinician May 2024. Please remember that all herbal remedies should be checked with your GP due to interactions with other medication.

Why you might consider alternative fibro treatments

Are you searching for a way to break free from the persistent grip of fibromyalgia? If you're here, you've likely navigated through a labyrinth of visits to GPs and specialists, medications such as SSRIs or amitriptyline, and sleepless nights grappling with fibro pain and fatigue.

You may be apprehensive about traditional medications and treatments, and struggle to tell their side effects from fibro symptoms.

And what about those ubiquitous "painkillers" that offer little respite from your relentless symptoms? It's a disheartening journey that can leave you feeling drained and wondering if there's any viable solution ahead.

But don't lose hope.

In this guide, we’ll explore the world of alternative treatments for fibromyalgia. From holistic approaches to the latest research, we're here to explore the different avenues in your pursuit to reduce the impact of pain.

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A combination of therapies is most effective

If you’ve experienced fibromyalgia for even a short amount of time you’ll be right to remain sceptical of anyone promising to ‘get rid’ of fibromyalgia.

While fibromyalgia isn’t as simple as that, it doesn’t mean that relief from the symptoms of fibro is possible. Any comprehensive treatment plan for should be focused on lessening of the impact of fibro pain, such as the quality of your sleep or how you feel.

A note before you go any further: the effects of fibromyalgia can vary widely from person to person. Listen to your body. If you’re prescribed medication, talk to your GP or pain specialist to check there are no reasons to not try alternative treatments for fibromyalgia - such ‘contraindications’ between any existing medication you’re prescribed.

While there’s no silver bullet, you may well find your mix of strategies that work for you.

meds mind life full

What should you avoid if you have Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a complex and poorly understood condition, and its exact cause remains elusive. But like a game of Guess Who, it’s possible to first remove the players from the board that aren’t helping, like:

  • Unnecessary stress

  • Poor sleep habits

  • Overexertion

  • Too much caffeine and alcohol

  • Inflammatory foods

  • Sedentary lifestyle

  • Negative thought patterns

Of course, it’s easier said than done, but it doesn’t have to feel too much like homework. The following list of alternative treatments for fibro are practical ways that you can build your own ‘fibro toolkit’ to tackle them in a way that feels less intimidating.

Complexity confusion

20 alternative treatments for fibro to explore

It’s human nature that we’ll look for the magic bullet. The latest pain science shows that a holistic - or ‘biopsychosocial’ - approach to managing fibro pain is a significantly more helpful approach.

People who approach their fibromyalgia pain holistically are more likely to find relief than those who look to just medication. In fact, a 2024 review found that the combination of therapies is the most effective strategy for managing fibromyalgia symptoms [1].

Here’s an overview of 20 oft-cited alternative treatment options for fibromyalgia.

Medication and clinician interventions

1. Cannabis-based Medication

Cannabis has shown promise in alleviating pain and improving sleep quality in fibromyalgia patients. It interacts with the body's endocannabinoid system to modulate pain perception and mood.

Real-world data from Drug Science looked at 540 fibromyalgia patients found that they showed a significant reduction in pain severity after 3 and 6 months of medical cannabis treatment, together with sleep improvements [2]

2. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

TMS is a non-invasive procedure that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain. A 2022 study-of-studies showed potential in reducing pain perception and improving quality of life in fibromyalgia patients, though it didn’t improve associated anxiety, depression or other symptoms. [3]

3. Biofeedback Therapy

Biofeedback helps individuals learn to control physiological responses, such as heart rate and muscle tension, through relaxation techniques. It can complement fibromyalgia treatment by promoting stress reduction and pain management.

4. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

CBT, including Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), aims to help people with fibromyalgia cope with pain and improve functioning by changing negative thought patterns and behaviours associated with chronic pain, fostering acceptance and promoting engagement in meaningful activities.

5. Pain Management Programme (PMP)

If you’ve been referred to a pain specialist in recent years, then the chances are you’ve been recommended to join a PMP.

These workshop-style treatments take you through latest pain science to help you self-manage fibromyalgia and other chronic pain conditions.

Research supports the effectiveness of PMPs in reducing pain severity, improving physical function, enhancing coping skills and enhancing quality of life in individuals with fibromyalgia.

We recently ran a survey with members of the Fibromyalgia Action UK community. Hundreds registered to our PMP and of the 42 who responded to the survey, 80% said they would be extremely likely or likely to recommend the programme to others, citing improved awareness of their condition and techniques to cope.

👀 Try our own self-guided digital pain management programme free here.

PMP on Phones

Supplements and diet changes

6. CBD

Cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis, has anti-inflammatory and potentially analgesic properties. It may help reduce pain, anxiety, and improve sleep quality.

7. Reduce Inflammation

Adopting an anti-inflammatory diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats can help reduce inflammation and alleviate fibromyalgia symptoms.

8. Clean Up Diet

Avoiding processed foods, refined sugars, and artificial additives can minimise symptoms.

9. Diet and Supplements

Incorporating anti-inflammatory foods, such as fatty fish, fruits, vegetables and whole grains, along with supplements like vitamin D, magnesium, and SAMe, can support overall health and potentially reduce fibromyalgia symptoms.

10. Melatonin

Melatonin is a hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles. Supplementing with melatonin may improve sleep quality and regulate circadian rhythms in fibromyalgia patients experiencing sleep disturbances.

11. St. John's Wort

St. John's Wort is a herbal supplement commonly used to treat depression. By extension, it’s regularly cited as a herbal supplement for people living with fibromyalgia with low mood. Some individuals with fibromyalgia may find it beneficial for managing mood symptoms, although more research is needed.

Anti-inflammatories and diet changes for fibro

Habits and changes you can make

12. Sleep

Quality sleep is crucial for fibromyalgia management. Establishing a consistent sleep schedule and creating a conducive sleep environment can improve symptoms.

Our pain management programme has a module to help you learn more about the challenges of sleeping well when living with fibro pain and explore ways to improve your sleep. Explore it for free here.

13. Rest

Adequate rest and pacing activities can prevent symptom flare-ups and conserve energy.

14. Reduce Stress

Stress management techniques like mindfulness, deep breathing exercises and progressive muscle relaxation can help reduce symptom severity.

Practices to do alone or in a group

15. Exercise

Regular low-impact exercise, such as walking or swimming, can improve muscle strength, flexibility and overall wellbeing.

16. Yoga

Yoga combines gentle movements, breathing exercises, and meditation, promoting relaxation, flexibility and stress reduction.

17. Tai Chi

Tai Chi is a mind-body practice characterised by slow, flowing movements and deep breathing. It can improve balance, strength and mental wellbeing in individuals with fibro.

18. Meditation

Mindfulness meditation involves focusing attention on the present moment without judgement. It can help reduce stress, enhance self-awareness and improve coping skills for managing fibromyalgia symptoms, such as becoming less reactive to sensations or thoughts.

Rest and mindful practices fibro

Complementary therapies

19. Acupuncture

Acupuncture involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body to try to alleviate pain and promote relaxation. A 2021 study looking at the efficacy of acupuncture in the treatment of fibro found that while it didn’t show higher efficacy than other therapies, it cited evidence that supports its use as part of a multimodal treatment in addition to traditional treatments. [7]

20. Flotation and Spa Therapy

Floatation therapy involves floating in a tank of warm saltwater, promoting relaxation and pain relief. Similarly, spa therapy, including hydrotherapy and sauna sessions, may provide temporary symptom relief.

DIY at-home alternatives include Epsom salts, which are claimed to be beneficial due to their magnesium content (people with fibromyalgia are more likely to have low levels of magnesium).

Find pain-life balance for your Fibromyalgia

Ultimately, while there’s no cure-all for fibro, change is possible to live better with your pain and the effects of it.

By exploring various options, understanding personal needs and building your customised toolkit, you can navigate the challenges of fibromyalgia and find pain-life balance.


1 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38355316/

2 https://www.drugscience.org.uk/data

3 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34542624/

4 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17543140/

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