Fibromyalgia is a neurological and physical condition that affects millions of people in the US. It's a painful condition with no known cure and science has yet to fully grasp the cause of the condition. The current understanding centers around the concept that the condition increases the pain signal to the brain, making something feel more painful than it really is. There is no known actual cause although there are events that are thought to trigger the condition that include infections, physical and/or emotional trauma, and infections. Fibromyalgia is a real condition and has real consequences for those who are experiencing the condition. Read on to learn more about some of the great options available to help relieve the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Cymbalta (duloxetine) is an anti-depressant that's been approved by the FDA for use in management of fibromyalgia. Its use in the treatment of the condition is not new. In fact, it was approved for use in 2008 and has helped mitigate pain through its blocking action of serotonin and norepinephrine. Cymbalta works by increasing the levels of these two natural body chemicals and preventing them from re-entering cells. When serotonin and norepinephrine leave and re-enter cells, they increase the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
It's thought that nerve cells fire off too frequently along the pain pathways in the body during an attack. This turns mild pain sensations into overwhelming ones. Suppressing absorption of serotonin and norepinephrine in the body is thought to combat the effects of the overactive nerve cells and also improve moods.
Flexeril (cyclobenzaprine) is a muscle relaxant that isn't approved by the FDA for specific use in treatment of fibromyalgia, but it is frequently prescribed as a secondary treatment when one medication isn't fully effective. Muscle relaxants work by making muscles literally relax and stop spasming. Symptoms of fibromyalgia tend to not respond to the effects of muscle relaxants because the source of the pain isn't tight muscles. Instead, Flexeril helps with improving the quality of sleep, a lessening of the symptoms, and a general feeling of improvement. A small study noted that subjects gained relief from tenderness, pain, and depression while taking Flexeril.
Oxycodone and other opiate-based pain relievers are considered a drug of last resort due to a lack of scientific study and evidence as to their efficacy. However, many patients have reported experiencing relief from their symptoms on days where nothing else works to calm the pain. There is a lot of controversy over the use of opiates as a pain killer, especially in light of prescription abuse leading to patient addictions. Add into that the fact that there are no reliable studies that show that opiates relieve the pain from the symptoms and you get a difficult prescribing environment. It's theorized that there are other pain conditions that contribute to the pain of fibromyalgia and otherwise go undetected. The fact remains that many fibromyalgia patients report opiates give them the ability to function on a daily basis when no other medication works.
Fibromyalgia is a difficult condition to treat. Medical science has yet to determine a root cause and find a way to treat it effectively. However, sufferers of the condition do have options available to them as long as they actively seek out relief with the help of their physician.