Fibromyalgia Treatments: Use & Benefits

by Kristin Thorson, Editor, Fibromyalgia Network
Posted: September 27, 2012

Wondering what other fibromyalgia patients use to treat their symptoms and how they rate these therapies? Emma K. Guymer, M.D. looked at key symptom ratings, frequency of other associated conditions, and use of various treatments in 150 fibro patients in Australia.*

The evaluated patients were referred by Melbourne physicians to a local rheumatology clinic between March 2008 and September 2010. No one was pre-selected based on symptoms or treatments because the study goal was to look at factors in a community sample of people with fibromyalgia.

Out of 150 patients, 63% met the strict tender point criteria (i.e., they had at least 11 of the 18 specified tender points), while the remaining study participants were diagnosed with fibro based on symptoms. The latter method is common practice by many physicians who recognize the widespread pain of fibromyalgia and its associated symptoms. Both approaches are described in our website section on diagnosis.

As expected, patients meeting the tender point criteria had higher ratings for pain, fatigue and trouble sleeping, as well as a greater number of associated conditions. Among all 150 patients the average number of associated conditions was five. The two most common were chronic headaches and irritable bowel syndrome, as shown below.

“A higher number of associated conditions in this group of patients was correlated with a longer duration of symptoms, worse pain, and a higher illness impact,” states Guymer. Why more associated conditions were found in patients with a longer illness duration was not addressed.

Study participants’ average age was 47 and duration of fibro was 10 years. Guymer found that the younger a patient’s age, the more serious they rated their fatigue. She suggests that may be because “younger people expect to have higher than usual energy levels in keeping with their peers.” This implies older patients are more apt to attribute fatigue to aging, which could be a false assumption.

What about the use of various treatments and their rated benefits? At the time of the study, low-dose tricyclic antidepressants (such as amitriptyline), Cymbalta, and Lyrica were available in Australia, although not specifically approved for treating fibromyalgia. Guymer’s research report emphasizes that these three medications have “evidence of significant benefit in the management of fibromyalgia.” But as it turned out, these meds did not live up to expectations.

Only 35% of the patients were taking the medications Guymer described as “evidence-based.” Perhaps the low usage of these meds was due to their poor performance. The only benefit obtained from them was a slight improvement in physical function, but they did not reduce the key symptoms of pain, fatigue, or disrupted sleep.

Psychological approaches to pain management had been tried by 30% of the 150 fibro patients, but did not produce improvements. “Complementary or alternative therapies were being used regularly at least once a month for the past three months by almost half of the patients,” says Guymer. Examples included naturopathy, osteopathy, physical therapy, massage, acupuncture, chiropractic treatment, and movement therapies such as tai chi. These treatments provided a significant decrease in anxiety.

Patients engaged in regular aerobic exercise at least 20 minutes twice per week (44%) had reduced illness impact scores, better physical function, and less fatigue, anxiety and depression. Whereas patients who were less likely to exercise had a greater number of other associated conditions and higher scores for pain, fatigue, and sleep disruption. It’s difficult to know whether those who exercised were just more able to do so.

Staying fit is an important goal for maintaining overall health and function for anyone, with fibro or not. Surprisingly, milder movement therapies, such as tai chi and yoga, were not considered forms of exercise in this study despite reports showing they help fibromyalgia patients maintain function.

Exercise and certain medications (tricyclic antidepressants, Cymbalta and Lyrica) are all touted to improve the pain of fibromyalgia, yet this study failed to substantiate these claims. Guymer and her colleagues did not point this out in the article, but the data was clear about lack of pain relief. One could only guess this omission is somehow related to the consultation fees received by the authors from the makers of Cymbalta and Lyrica (Eli Lilly and Pfizer).

* Guymer EK, et al. Clinical characteristics of 150 consecutive fibromyalgia patients attending an Australian public hospital clinic. Int J Rheumatic Dis 15:348-57, 2012.

106 Responses to Fibromyalgia Treatments: Use & Benefits

  1. Terri Collins says:

    I have been reading (The Fibromyalgia Solution, David Dryland,MD) on the decrease in dopamine levels in people with fibromyalgia. The use of Pramipexole or Mirapex (starting at low levels and slowly increasing dosage) were showing vast improvements for pain and fatigue. Why hasn’t this (low dopamine levels in persons with fibromyalgia) been addressed along with medications to increase dopamine?

    • rebecca jones says:

      I tried to present the fact patients with fibromyalgia could benefit from medicines that would inverse dopamine levels basically stating that patients myself included could benefit with increased relief of symtoms. Although they looked at it they didn’t really seem to think you necessarily take a drug like that unless you certain level of reduction in dopamine to warrant that type of drug.

    • Cheryl Hovey says:

      I have to say my dr started me on mirapex recently & while I’m not on the therapeutic level yet, one boost away, I have actually started to notice a difference! I have tried ALL the others with no help whatsoever then this one comes along & whew!! I’m so hopeful & excited. I have been living in such a huge level of pain it’s been depressing! Now I’m getting my hopes up for mirapex.

      • jacque miller says:

        I tried mirapex years ago when it was being tested for fibro. It did help my fibro fog….and I felt so bright woke up early…wrote poetry…didn’t have any trouble finding words….totally obliterated my fog. Pain levels did not change, and due to the price of the drug I had to discontinue it…I may have continued if it had had an effect on my pain levels. So far, nothing does…

  2. Jackie C says:

    Well this study just goes to say what many of us have been telling our doctors for years. I have had fibro for 15 years and NONE, NOT A ONE ever did ANYTHING for the pain. Yet doctors insist that you take one of the aboved mentioned. I have been on them all, but the tricyclic meds seem to at least help me sleep. That this is all about the big pharma companies making $$$$.

    • Ron Lopez says:

      I have to say that these RX antidepressants also do nothing for me except AMPLIFY and ADD to the already overtaxed system. Especially when most of us have Chemical Sensitivities. I found the prescription pain killer Tramadol to be as close to a ‘magic bullet’ more than any other for pain. And when it gets beyond unbearable I add a 5/500 Hydrocodon-Acetaminophen. Worked for almost 6 years now.

      • Becky Smith says:

        I have been taking Tramadol to get to sleep for more than 10 years now. It is my miracle. The only problem I am having is that I slowly grow to need more all the time to acheive the same effects.

        • Marie Ylikotila says:

          Hi Becky I was on Tramadol for Arthritis Pain I was told 1 twice a day didn’t do anything had to add Paracetamol with the Tramadol but after 12mths I started have adverse side effects from them such as pulpatations, Disorientation & severe nausea.

      • Mary Hackl says:

        I am newly diagnosed with Fibro but know I have had it at least a year. I had been taking Tramadol for the pain, and it works best if I take 3 a day — morning, afternoon, and night. Doing water therapy but the relief is so temporary. I can sleep fairly well, but by early morning my large joints are so sore I can’t get comfortable in bed.

    • Marianne R says:

      I have had fibro, post polio and rheumatoid arthritis for about 25+ years. Did the medications route, because insurance companies and doctors insist you do that. I felt like a zombi. My life turned around when I started making my own veggie smoothies. Now I am just about pain free and totally off meds, and feeling pretty great most of the time. Light exercise works wonders also.

      • Stephanie says:

        I also consume green smoothies and completely avoid all foods with gluten, corn, and dairy. This diet has reduced my inflamation significantly. I feel better than I have felt in years without taking a single med. I also swim, bike, and walk daily. Wish there was a study on the relationship of diet and fibromyalgia.

      • Louise Mills says:

        Dear Marianne,

        I saw your post on the Fibro Newsletter. Would you mind sharing your smoothie recipe? Did you need to start out drinking small amounts, then build up?

        Thank you for your help –


        Louise Mills

  3. Darla says:

    My daughter was diagnosed finally with fibromyalgia after more than a year of illness she is 25. The Rheumatologist that diagnosed her sent her to a pain clinic that just happened to be right next door to his office. She was treated like a test rat! They tried all different kinds of meds all of which made her violently ill sometimes and others had intolerable side effects. Drugs/antidipressants NO.

  4. Wendy W says:

    Where are the studies for use of warm water therapy and the fabulous benefits for Fibro patients. I swear by this. If I didn’t do this at least 4 mornings a week I am so achy I’m nearly not functional. The ideal temperature is 92-93 degrees, and classified as a therapeutic pool. In Nashville we have 1 pool that offers warm water at 88-90 degrees. One pool. We need more of these…

    • Angela Zechinato says:

      Wendy, warm water therapy is the best relief for fibro. When my symptoms are bad, a good soaking in my hot tub and or hot showers. I also am fortunate enough to have a swimming pool which needs to be over 89 degrees for me to use. Afterwards, I always feel such relief. Also, no more toxic medications for me. I am all about natural supplementation and nutrition. Still struggling with sleeplessness.

    • Liz says:

      Wendy, I agree. Warm water does wonders for me. Although I do take some meds, I love being in a warm pool doing mild exercises and stretching. I love getting in my hot tub and stretching as well, it is very therapeutic.

    • Deborah says:

      I’m responding to the comment above about warm water therapies. I use my hot tub for 15-20 minutes almost every day. It is set at 99 in the summer and 100 in the winter (close to body temp). I really miss it on those days that I skip. I believe that there is more research confiming the use of warm water therapies. The important thing is to do, as much as you can, your own careful research.

  5. Carolyn says:

    Not everyone with Fibro is able to take the medications “that might help”.
    I like others have serious chemical sensitivities and most drugs have terrible side effects. The most frustrating thing about this is that doctors say it is all in my head. Funny my allergist says that these allergies are real and dangerous.
    LDN works very well for some and is probably worth a try.

    • Betty Durazo says:

      I have a lot of the same issues you discribe. It’s very frustrating and I’m sick of taking all these different meds they throw at us Fibro patients. Motrin and Tylonel I believe in long term use is bad for the kidneys. I use both when I absolutely can not stand the pain.

      I ‘ve also been told that it is all in my head, but how do they explain that there are so many of us out here?

    • Peggy says:

      I take an anti inflammatory med called Relafen with not much help! Cannot take any medications because of the side affects! I am drug sensitive! I get a lot of adverse reactions to meds! Can anyone suggest something that has minimal side affects that helps with pain and doesn’t make you tired!!! I am so depressed and cannot take the pain anymore! I have had Fibromyalgia since 2002 !

    • Heather says:

      It is most definately not “all in your head” THE PAIN AND SUFFERING IS REAL. Doctors have no idea what the pain is like, in fact no one can unless you have experienced it yourself. Do your research.

  6. Bonnie says:

    My doctor prescibes Nortriptyline/Pamelor for sleep and Celexa for depression but for the pain suggests ibuprofen. I don’t think doctors have an understanding of the amount of pain that comes with FM. Ibuprofen barely takes the edge off when I have a flare up and I have to stay up on it constantly. I take so much of it that in the long run it can’t be good for me.

    • Julie says:

      Tramodol has been my saving grace. My dr. also put me on a 10 mg butrans patch since tramodol hadn’t been enough to manage pain. Now i only have flareups during my monthly cycle or when i “overdue” it but not much more! Also, have your hormone levels checked! I have no testosterone, a daily dose of 20mg of pregnenalone has given me my energy level back! I haven’t felt this good in 10 yrs!

  7. Mary says:

    The horror of this illness is exemplified in this study. For decades docs and drug companies push those drugs and “exercise” as treatments when of course they don’t work. So not only do we all continue to suffer from the illness, but we end up suffering even more from side effects of drugs that we shouldn’t be taking and the neglect & ignorance of doctors. I’ve stopped seeing doctors.

    • Lynn says:

      Mary, I’ve been going to acupunture once a week for months now. I feel like a new person. No Fibro pain and my sleeping is so much better. I forget I even have fibromyalgia. Never thought I’d never be able to say that.

  8. Candace McWhorter says:

    My Dr pulled me off Celexa on which I had been stable for years to try savella. After going through Celexa withdrawal which was awful, had to go off Savella.
    I was surprised fatigue and sleep problems were not in above list. Pain, fatigue and chronic headaches are my biggest problems.
    Best health to all my fellow fibro warriors

    • Bridget says:

      I started taking Gabapentin several years ago and I went from feeling like I was on fire to feeling like I may survive the day. Tramadol for flare-ups just didn’t do it. I needed hydrocodone. The pain clinic I recently went to says that Savella works with Gabapentin, so I’m trying that. None of these things, however, help my utter exhaustion, blinding headaches, or fuzz-brain.

      • Jan says:

        I too live in KY and it is so hard to get our meds. Just started on gabapentin & tramadol, which gives me a migraine. Been on every Fibro med, but none worked. On fentyl patch since August. Works ok but not very long. Trying vit b12, mega red fish oil, vit d3, magnesium, vit C , and a multi vitamin. Just started all vitamins, but been taking vit d3 and magnesium as they seem to help. Good luck all.

  9. Jackie Christensen says:

    I am considering starting a treatment with low-dosage Naltrexone .
    Has anyone had any experience with this????

    • Jude Stirts says:

      I’ve been on low dose naltrexone for about a year now and it’s been like a miracle for me. My pain is about 90%-95% gone most of the time! It hasn’t halped my fatigue or brain fog as well, but I know that in some other people it helps them, too.
      Sometimes it takes up to 6 months on ldn to first feel the benefits. I’m an early responder so I felt them right away.

    • Carol La Mela says:

      I love LDN. No side effects. I have been taking it for a year now. I have much more energy ! Costs $46 for 3 months from Belmar Pharmacy in Lakewood CO (800)525-9473 and shipping is free. I hope you give it a try.

      • Onita oles says:

        fibromyalgia patients are all unique in their approach to pain, fatigue and sleeplessness. I Tried all the medicines without any turn around, I completed exercise programs with no change..I even paid 6 grand to the fibro and fatigue Centers of Michigan for nutritional IV’s which were band aids for me. The only help for me is acupuncture twice a month! Be sure to consider it as an option!

    • Tami Stackelhouse says:

      Hi Jackie,

      I’ve taken low dose naltrexone for about a year now. HUGE help. I also have a few clients on it. (I am a Certified Health Coach & specialize in helping women with Fibromyalgia.)

      There was also a recent study proving that it helps fibro pain. It’s one of the “good guys.”

    • Cindy Smith says:

      I started LDN a couple months ago. No major side effects(which is amazing). It seemed to work initially with decreasing the pain, but no longer seems to work that great. Now it is fall which is a bad time for pain for me. Taking LDN, you can’t take any opiods. I only have tylenol or ibuprofen for flares. Neither of those work. Good luck!

      • stephanie says:

        I have FM/CFS/ME for 5 to 10 yrs, 5 yrs diagnosed. have been to every pain doctor in the area, so not on any pain/anxiety meds, just have a GP, but wont write schedule two drugs or anxiety drugs. Have heard alot of good comments about LDN here in the comments but WHAT IS IT? and WHAT DO YOU SUGGEST ABOUT MY PAIN ? I also have CHEM SENSITIVITY AND SEROTONIN SYNDROME so cant take any anti-dprssnts

        • says:

          Stephanie – LDN stands for low dose naltrexone. See the 2009 article on it in our Latest News section based on a small study done in fibro patients.

    • Tammy says:

      I have been taking Trazadone for sleep for several years now. It works great and is not addicting.

      • jean says:

        Tammy & others, I have started Tramazone to be able to go to sleep..about 1 wk now and I take 1 pill a night.. I am still not getting to sleep for 2hrs and i have silly-stupid dreams…HELP!

  10. Barb says:

    I’ve had Fibro for 30 years. I have been on amitriptyline for most of that time, with additions of Klonopin, and Celebrex for the past 10 to 20 years. Almost every antidepressant drug was tried, Cymbalta, Effexor… I had too many side effects for most of them. As soon as Lyrica became available, my Dr. gave it to me. When I reached the max. dose, I became suicidal. So far, nothing is helping.

    • fm is real says:

      I’ve had FM 40+ yrs officially diagnosed 2003. Was give several meds, cymbalta, lyrica, effexor, etc, which non worked, made me sick, gain weight, etc. I now (past 4 yrs) wear fentanyl patch and take Savella 200 mg day. Works great for me. Still have some level of pain & have morphine for breakthrough days. Diet is vital to pain control. Sugars & high carbs cause major mood & pain flares.

    • Dee says:

      Barb, I have been taking Pristiq for about 3 yrs now. I typically have major reactions to most “popular” meds. Lyrica, Cymbalta, all the designer drugs caused major problems for me. You might ask about it.

    • Pamela Busch says:

      I have been seeing a Physiatrist/pain management Dr 2 yrs. Tried the Lyrica=no relief. I take Zoloft & Lamictal for depression. Psychiatrist (different Dr) said no Cymbalta (prescription for depression). SAVELLA has helped along with Zanaflex(muscl relaxr)&Opana(for pain)&Xanax(calm,sleep)&Trazadone(sleep).

  11. Connie says:

    I have had fibro for some time prior to being diagnosed. I have tried all modalities of treatment. I have found for myself – walking on good days helps a lot. I take prn meds – when the anxiety/stress is too much – I take the lowest dose of Xanax. Migraines are terrific. If I listen to my body as I learned – it helps to control intensity and longevity of migraines. There is no cure.

  12. Ron Lopez says:

    There is a fine line between FM and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. My Infectious Disease specialist here in Los Angeles has the view that it is the same. One end is Pain the opposite end is Fatigue and then everything in between. The best website, all inclusive, is [] it has a WEALTH of useful information and THE latest research from around the world. Rheumatologist are a waste of time!

  13. Ann Silva says:

    This is what I am doing. 50 mg of Savella a day. 25 in morning and 25 at night. Mito-Synergy, 2 capsules in morning, one at lunch and one at dinner. 10 mg of oxycontin in morning and 10 at night. Flexeril (10)mg at night. If my pain gets to be too much, I take a oxcodone (5-10)mg. For pain in my back or legs I will rub on Pan Away. Pan Away and Mito are available on the Internet. Works Great!

    • Sharon says:

      Hello Ann. I was diagnosed 3.5 years ago. I am still learning my symptoms and how they relate to this disease. My pain doctor will ONLY and give me Cymbalta. My primary care doctor will ONLY give me tramadol, flexeril, klonopin. I have been prescribe hydrocodone for pain associated with Diverticulitis and it really help with my fibro flares. I don’t know what to do as Cymbalta is not working.

  14. Phyllis Denison says:

    At least from these comments, I know I am not alone in not being able or willing to take any of the wide variety of medications which doctors want me to use. I can’t stand the side effects which increase with use. I have learned that I just have to suck it up!

  15. Christina Mild says:

    to Wendy: Hear hear!! Warm water therapy is essential to my state of mind and state of being. I, too, go to warm water aerobic and toning (and Aqua Zumba!!) four days of the week. Without that immersion and movement in very warm water (over 84 degrees), I’m dragging myself thru days of pain.
    Besides the drugs, which are losing their potential after 3 yrs. of same, I use cold packs as therapy.

    • Eliska says:

      Cold helps my pain, but does anyone have suggestions as to how to cover a major area – from left hip, around the back and buttocks to the right hip – with cold treatment?

      • Nancy says:

        On 10/4/2012, a woman asked about cold therapy that helps. There are large ice packs (12″x8″) that help wrap around. I use multiple ice packs after my shower.

  16. karen says:

    Each person must experiment and find out what works for their body. I was referred by two UCLA Dr’s to go to a specialist at Cedars Sinai- Gi Motility Center. It ended up a blessing to find out that that all tests are not done the same way.So never give up even if you feel that there are two many Drs. or meds. in your life, sometimes you have to keep searching.

  17. Bill Halper says:

    After trying most non-narcotic pain killers (pain is level 10 for me, VERY BAD!) Symbalta and others, oxycotin 80mg 2x and 4 to 6 percocet 10-325 daily seem to work the best (I use that word loosely). Although the side affects can be somewhat destructive, it goes back to quality of life; live with less pain and be a contibutor, or live with the pain which, for me is not an option!

  18. carol says:

    I tried every drug above with very little help. I am chemical Sensitive to a lot of drug with serous reactions. I have had this for 22 years. The only thing I have been able to take with out more problems have be 800 mg of Ibuprofen and Diazepam 5 mg for time a day. I know it doesn’t sound like much but I can not handle much.

  19. Mary says:

    I’m new to fibro, but so far the journey has been nothing but fun. I also have degenerative disc disease as far as physical injuries. I’m on percocet, lyrica, anti-depressants, ambien + more. The percocet seems to work great and makes me feel like I can get things done. Lyrica helps ‘take the edge off’ so that I don’t notice the pain as much – I relate it to smoking pot.

  20. Euni says:

    I am on Seroxat and Celebrex (only on flare days for that). Recently the doc put me on Buscopan for IBS etc and my pain levels have lessened because the stomach irritation is less. I also find that ginger tablets or ginger in my food seems to help a lot as an anti-inflammatory, also cod liver oil for the joints. I am much better than I was. Slow Zumba also helps with stretching and endorphins.

  21. sher says:

    I have recently been diagnosed with FM….finally. It took 4 doctors. But not one doctor will not prescribe me anything!!! What the heck?? The pain, fatigue and Migraines are so unbearable.. Does anyone have any natural remedies? And prescriptions that I should try?

    • TRACY says:

      Sher, I went undiagnosed for many years and had to find natural remedies. I am now dx’d and it took a year before dr. finally gave me meds. The best thing I found for the fibro (i also have me/cfs) was a supplement called GABA and also added magnesium malate (product called Fibro-X). I also still use B12 injections weekly to control neuropathy in my feet and legs that got really bad.

    • Shelley says:

      I am so sorry you have been diagnosed with this. Different things work for each person. The best thing I can tell you, is research the web. Don’t spend money on any product, until you’ve read reviews.
      Good luck

    • sTACY says:

      Taking cymbalta /lyrica aren’t PAIN meds…they may help w/pain but don’t let anyone fool you. As well as RLS drugs. It’s truly crazy the grief I have dealt with over the years getting help with my issues. I think its either the MANY symptoms at once or doctors just haven’t a clue. I have had pain/stiffness as well as a host of other symptom for the better part of 20 yrs.

    • Jeanne says:

      Hey Sher! Most doctors really suck and are clueless. We all have to find our happy place..that is our own blend of antidepressants. I take Celexa, nortriptyline, and temazepam. The latter I take prior to bed. I have now been taking a Vicodin with the two latter. It’s the only way I can sleep. For some it may be too much. I take percocet primarily and a Vicodin for breakthrough pain.

    • Anna says:

      Sher, 4 doctors is nothing. Keep looking to find someone who will listen to you and give you something to help you. I had a primary care doc who told me straight up that he “didn’t like writing prescriptions for pain medications.” I have a new doctor now who takes care of me and makes sure I am not in pain, at least as much as possible. And refers me to other docs he trusts when necessary.

  22. Ruthann Lange says:

    Have been a FMS patient ever since a car wreck,my head smashed the windshield doing 45mph.. A lot of nerve damage done, and muscle hyperflex, whiplash etc. I cannot tolerate any anti-depressants, they make me violently ill. I am also allergic to all aspirin products. Have tried it all; So that leaves me with Lyrica. Opiods help but..Docs refuse to use them even at age 69 They rather we suffer!

  23. Sandra says:

    I’m on cymbalta seems to help but think it may be messing with my liver,not sure what to do.

  24. Sandra says:

    I agree warm water is the best but I need very warm and hard to get to the pools

  25. Dee says:

    I’m glad to hear that others have so much drug sensativity. I have tried so many things only to have terrible side effects. Current routine: Klonipin, Pristiq, Nuycenta, and now Requip. If I were to take all of this as directed I would never get out of bed!

  26. Sally says:

    I’m sick of drugs being pushed on me for my pain and my crohn’s disease. I wish that doctors would look at what is, in my opinion, the most debilitating part of fibro – the fatigue. For 10 years I feel like I’ve been in a waking dream that is slowly killing me psychologically. I can bear the pain, the vomiting, the hospital visits – I just really wish a doctor would tell me how I can wake up.

  27. Kelly says:

    Has anyone tried calcium bentonite clay ingestion and baths. I have just started, is meant to totally detox you. Dont know if it will work yet but plan to try for six months.

  28. Jeanne Hyatt says:

    YES! READ THE LAST PARAGRAPH! We patients have been saying for years these drugs don’t work at all. Still, the commercials make it seem as if they are the answer. The only thing that allows me to function are opioids. But the DEA and every media source in the country says Opioids=BAD! Floridians can’t even get their scripts filled b/c pharmacists fear of losing their jobs cuz of DEA! INHUMANE!

    • Shel says:

      Most likely had FM for 6 years along with DJD. I am in total agreement about the DEA. For several of those years I had a pain management physician. Then the DEA got him. My experiences since then has varied from down right mean and accusatory doctors to those who treated me like a nut case with addiction as a side bar. It isn’t any better in Illinois.

      Good luck to all.

    • Linda says:

      Dea is making it hard to get your medications in Ky also. It is as if all the knowledge and info we have on chronic pain has been thrown out the window. I depend on these meds to work and function. I have degenerative joint disease had spinal reconstruction to halt some progression. Have wide spread joint pain and fibro so I fight joint and muscle pain daily. No one knows what we live with daily

  29. Nellie says:

    I have had fibro for 46 years. been through most all meds. Had some bad reactions. Most just make me feel weaker and more like a zombie. The list of meds is so long won’t try to list. My doctor has said he has turned over rocks to me, but the pain and weakness rarely gets better. I am still trying to stay up and going. We all need a passion! I do crafts.

    • Lynn says:

      I use to craft all the time and now I just wish I had enough energy to do some kind of craft.

      • Linda says:

        Pain effects us in more ways then just physical. It hurts emotionally, socially and spiritually as well. I fight these feeling daily. I isolate because I feel I don`t have the energy or freedom for relationships. My thoughts are on my pain most of the time, and I wonder if I did something wrong to deserve this. I feel broken and damaged. Fybro is a thief I must fight everyday.

  30. Debbie says:

    I tried Savella, made me sick! I tried Lyrica, intensified my symptoms. While weaning off Lyrica and going on Topamax I ended up in ER with suicidal thoughts. Finally I asked to be off all meds but I was in so much pain my gp let me have norco for pain. That only took edge off. Now my pain mngmnt doc is going to try LDN starting thurs. I’m excited, I hear good things about it. I hate “fm”…

  31. Susan says:

    I have had fibro for over 7 years and was diagnosed one year ago..and have been to numerous drs…I have yet to find one that will prescribe an opiate..I feel they’re more worried about their liscense, then me..the patient..If anyone has a dr in Mass that believes in their patient..I am interested…

    • Carey Toran says:

      Susan, I see a behavioral psychotherapist and pain management specialist (her practice focuses on patients with severe pain and she sees lots of patients with fm). She’s very empathetic, and is open to trying different approaches. She recognizes one size does NOT fit all. Good luck!

  32. Debs says:

    15/16 yrs of Fibro and have gone through no end of tablets , NONE have had any impact on the pain or fatigue . Cymbalta/Duloxetine being the one that had horrendous side effects . Gabapentin – did nothing for me. Anti-inflams- took til my stomach bled. I now take CoQ10 ( B vits) & Selenium. Paracetamol ( does not do much but mini help) I take good food on board in small amounts . Still feel dead!

  33. Pat says:

    I was diagnosed with FM approximately one year ago. Pain was intense and since I lost my insurance, couldn’t be tested, but my doctor helped me by my symptoms and started me on Gabopectin. I have buldging discs in my lower back, I arthritis and bone spurs and disc disease. Lately my sciatic is causing me extreme pain, unbearable, vicodin doesn’t do it. Sciatic pain caused my Fibro?

  34. Lorie says:

    There’s an old protocol with 10mg Doxepin for FM/CFIDS that’s been helpful to many people. You can read about it online by doing a google search. Taken at bedtime, it helps with sleep, stimulates the immune system, helps modulate pain, and calms auto-immune (allergy) symptoms. I hope this is helpful. Be well!

    • says:

      Lorie – thanks for posting the suggestion of doxepin. It is an old, cheap drug and some patients may even do better by cutting the pill in half to minimize dry mouth and other side effects. It has been shown in studies of insomina patients to keep people asleep during the latter part of the night, which can be another bonus. In fact, as little as 3 mg may do.

  35. Carolyn says:

    I have had fibro since 1995 as far as i could tell….i have gone through many medications and doctors throughout this time….i started to take a muscle relaxant with my regular meds. however now i feel very tired…not bad for muscle replenish…but of course the drowsey feeling is part of the treatment for me….i rather feel and deal with the medications than not take anything..

  36. B Pohl says:

    Like hearing about our “own therapies”. As for me, warmer the weather and warmer the pool the better I feel. About 89 degrees.

    Great “weightless” exercise. Hop a noddle and move,

  37. JJ says:

    My heart aches for all of you, especially all who can’t find good medical help.My daughter developed fibro & RA while in college. She was very lucky to find a Rheum. in New Orleans who helped with the RA & dx fibro.After working a job, then moving to CA for grad school, had to move home (depression).After MANY doctors, some who really screwed her up, finally found help. Praying for you all.

  38. Donna A. says:

    I was dx with fibro about 1 year ago by rheumatologist. Looking back, I’ve probably had it about 10 yrs. I’ve been going to gp for several years for pain, but things got really bad when I lost several jobs as a LPN working in doctors offices. The forgetfullness and anxiety were awful, along with GI problems. I am now unemployed for 1 1/2 years and taking Lexapro for 1 year. Does anyone take…

  39. Donna says:

    Have had Fibro for 20 years. In Jan. I had blood clots in both lungs. Also, my doctor removed all my medications at once which caused severe diarreha. I was on warfarin from Jan. to Sept. After very few medications were allowed and when I asked about some was told it was too dangerous and due to my age. I am only 62 yrs. old not 90. Has anyone had this problem?

  40. Karen says:

    I have been reading everyone’s comments and I find them very useful.
    I did not see that anyone mentioned physical therapy, however. I go for PT when I have flare-ups and I do a combination of pool therapy and land therapy. I also do daily exercises that my PT has given me. This has helped me tremendously.
    I also started taking amitryptaline and this has been helping also.

  41. Shirley says:

    I have had fibromyalgia for over 20 years, I take neurontin 1600 mgs., ultram 100 mgs. both twice daily or more if needed. I can’t take flexaril but once a day because it makes me sweat to bad and temazapan at night. Most nights it works, sometimes not so much. I have so many drug sensativities its unreal. I applied for disability 2 yrs. ago and was appr. in 5 mos.,I was almost fired after 19…

  42. Marian says:

    I was diagnosed with Fibro in 2004, but believe I have had it for over 30 years. I take a lot of supplements such as zinc and magnesium etc.. I try to eat a healthy home cooked diet, avoiding convenience foods. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables. And I go out walking with my dogs every morning for 2 hours. I only take pain killers when absolutely necessary and find this controls it.

    • Sandeep says:

      I so thoroughly enjoy your blog. I find myeslf inspired as well as entertained. The medical issues your family has been dealing with the past few years are similar to the the ones we have been coping with. While we have only had a scare with cancer, my MS has been costly in some of the same ways (emotionally, financially, and family-wise) as the fibro. I have also dealt with chronic depression…

  43. jane owens says:

    I presently take 3 100′s mil. of lyrica and 30 mil of elavil for my treatment and it keeps away most of the pain. If I ache I will take a couple aspirin for that relief.

  44. Tracey says:

    I was diagnosed with Fibro after my knee surgeries 2 years ago. Since then i have tried cymbalta,Tramadol,trazadone,Lyrica but none of those do anything for me. Now all the local hospitals and doctors have listed me as a drug addict and won’t prescibe me anything for pain. Don’t they realize what fibro is and what pain we suffer with?

  45. Cara says:

    We are over 2 years in with looking for help for our 12 -year-old son. We have found some “light at the end of the tunnel” with oriental medicine and therapies. Additionally, we have found it essential to get him moving… even if it is for 5 minutes. The depression has been just as concerning as the physical pain. Addressing his depression first and pain second is seeming to help.

  46. Carolyn says:

    I have had fibromyalgia for 8 yrs. now in the beginning I was given lyrica and other pain meds. I wasn’t functional on all the meds so I found that exercise (walking) helped my physical/mental health. Salon Pas patches and Flexeril as needed and massages works for me. Stress worsens pain. Try to relax and declutter your life.

  47. Beck says:

    Hello every one, I have found out that fioricet works for calming down my Fibro pain along with Pelvic pain I have. I was on different medicines that all gave my side affects bad ones! and when taking fioricet for my head aches I noticed it took my severe pelvic pain level down.

  48. Deborah Dedm says:

    I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia a few years ago and I am presently at home on sick leave. I am in constant pain in my back and upper arms. I have headaches and suffer from depression. I am currently on anti depression pills. I have outbursts of crying spells. I am always cold and find it hard to warm up, especially when i am in bed. My feet have a tingling cold feeling. I need help.

    • Dawn Timney says:

      Hi Deborah,
      It’a been awhile, but wondering if you got any help? You have to see a doctor about getting some pain medications. If you get some help with the constant pain and agony, that will start to help you feel better.

  49. Jeannie says:

    Hello everyone – your posts have been very helpful to me – I have been diagnosed with Fibro – the specialist prescribed Neurotin and Tramadol for pain. Neither medication is helping and the pain is excruiating! Has anyone else tried these meds and found they did not help?

  50. Reiniery says:

    I had never tried accupuncture until I was eurencagod to try it to get my labor going (my 5th child, second normal delivery, my first wonderful and completely natural birth). Amazing. Congratulations on getting relief.

  51. KATHY says:

    I was only diagnosed a little over a year ago, I have all of the sign/symptoms for over 20 years. Sometimes I wonder if I feel this bad on Cymbalta, what would life be like if I didn’t have it. I’ve added gabapentin – I only take 100 mg in the AM and 500 PM. My pcp gives me a limited amount of hydrocodone which I add to robaxin and xanax.

  52. Rhonda says:

    Hi, have had fibro for over 20 years. Have had all sorts of medication including being zonked out for two weeks to relax muscles. I have developed a lifestyle which has me off all prescription drugs and mostly pain free.
    My regime
    Hot bath in morning
    gentle exercise and stretching
    weekly gentle massage
    Vitamin B12 injections energy/
    Omega 3
    Panadol when needed
    Good diet

  53. Emily says:

    In comparison, I am doing great with:
    Cymbalta 30mg; Anti-inflammatory such as meloxicam 7mg; sub-lingual B12; Magnesium every other day; Calcium with vitamin D every other day; a probiotic; a diet free of gluten, dairy and chemical additives (before fibro I used to think ths was nonsense!); Tai chi (YouTube videos) and/or yoga stretches; and an inversion table to decompress back. Hope this helps.

  54. Pat says:

    struggling with controlling pain for several years and still haven’t found the “magic bullet”. Tramadol gave me headaches even when I didn’t have them, gabapentin did nothing for pain but I was mean, lexapro for years -very little, sertraline now – again see very little changes, have various pain meds that I alternate, topical compound was great but now insurance won’t cover it.

  55. Jo-Anne says:

    I live in Australia. Tied all, none were effective. All gave me severe side effects was like I was in hell, also affected my bodily functions as well as numbness turned even black blue. Tramadol couldn’t even get off of the couch was so bad overly drowsed drugged. Suffered all my life from horrible migraines constant headaches. On Norspan patches need to be increased 25mcg now 30 need higher dosage.

  56. Sue Bacon says:

    Please give me some help for how to deal with the fibro after having double knee replacements……….The Ice packs seem to be freezing up everything and I am really stiff and sore. I have a lot of pain. I feel I need a different set of exercises and pain control to make this a successful surgery, can you help, or do you know someone who can.

  57. Jacque says:

    I’ve had fibro for 15 years, was diagnosed in my senior year of high school. It’s nice to hear that everyone has the same problems with meds that I have. Honestly the thing that works best for me is Neuromuscular Massage. I have a session every two weeks (or more depending on the pain) and my NMT can tell before I can that I’m going to have a flare. We’ve done a lot of learning together.

  58. Martha Murphy says:

    Please, please try LDN. There is a VERY good chance you will be amazed at how much it helps you. Show your Dr. the Stanford studies if he/she is doubtful. If no one will help you, order from the River Pharm in Canada. They will help with the “how” if you need it. I get 50 mg. tablets, dilute each in 50 ml. distilled water, and take 4.5 ml. at bedtime.

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