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alternatives to drugs
5 Replies
ljkentucky - June 17

My Dr. thinks I may have fibromyalgia. Without going into detail, I have been having many of the symptoms for the past few years. After reading many of the posts here, I can see that I am really very lucky that my symptoms seem relatively mild. I really stuggle mostly with upper back, shoulder and chest pain/tightness and then the anxiety that comes from that. I have also started having bouts of fatigue.

My Dr. wants me to start taking Savella. After reading some discussions about the medications that are available and their side effects, I'm really wondering if I should take a more conservative approach such as diet, exercise, and OTC meds/supplements. Does anyone have any suggestions or thoughts on this? I know lots of sites are just wanting to sell their product, and I would rather hear from some real people.


Noca - June 17

When deciding whether or not to take a medication you must first weigh the benefits and risks with your doctor, and ONLY when the benefits outweigh the risks should you choose to go on a medication.

In my case the benefits far outweigh the risks. I wouldn't be able to tolerate my pain and would prolly be dead if it wasn't for my medications.

I am currently on Nortriptyline, Gabapentin, Dilaudid, Fentanyl, Celebrex, Zyprexa, Xanax, and Memantine. (note I have more than just one illness)

Savella seems like a relatively harmless medication. I'd suggest giving it a try. They don't have it available in my country.


Canada17 - June 17

I have recently been reading a lot of articles stating that exercise is one of the most important thing a person suffering from Fibromyalgia can do to help ease their symptoms. That being said, it is often difficult for us to stick to it, especially those with severe cases, without a lot of pain.

In my opinion, if your symptoms are relatively mild, I would use prescription drugs as a last resort. I think it is wise for you to start with diet and exercise and supplements. Just remember to start out slow with your routine because our bodies function a little differently than the normal population.

This way if your symptoms do get worse over time, your body will be in a better position to help you combat it and the presciptions you may start taking now won't have had a chance to lose their effect. With any prescription, the longer you take it, generally, you need to increase your dose because your body builds up tolerance to it.


Fantod - June 17

ljkentucky - Welcome to the board. There are a couple of important points to remember when considering treatment for Fibromyalgia (FMS).

Once a chronic pain cycle has started it is very difficult to manage or stop. OTC medication does not work for the pain associated with FMS. YOu would only be causing more problems for your stomach and liver. Only certain classes of prescribed medication work for the pain associated with FMS.

I use a mix of holistic and conventional medicine. My personal take is that you should try what your doctor is recommending. Once your symptoms are under better control than you can start tinkering with managing them.

And, if you are not using any type of sleep medication, you should be. FMS interrupts the deep sleep cycle with short bursts of high intensity brain activity. Your muscles need deep sleep in order to heal themselves from the days activities. No deep sleep means higher levels of pain which rapidly becomes a vicious circle. Using a sleep medication is a crucial part of treating FMS.

I hope that my comments are helpful to you in some way. Take care.



I agree with Noca. Do what is best for you. I myself as well, couldn't be on NO medication. I am a single mother and work full time. I am in SEVERE pain every day of my life. I have a high stress job that can cause me to have flare ups so bad I worry what I would do if being left alone. If you can manage symptoms without medication, then that of course is the best way. But if you have severe syptoms, do not be afraid to take medication to help you. I know some people worry what others would think if they found out the medication you are on. I myself was one of those people. But I have to live my life for myself. And I know that I need help with sleep, fatigue, anxiety, depression, pain, you name it, I have that issue.
Take Care and I hope something works good for you!


powderblue - June 27

Hi ljKentucky,

I would check out some of the alternative therapies in the blue boxes. Good quality sleep is incredibly important. A lot of people with FMS have broken and poor quality sleep which contributes to their pain and symptoms. Some people find melatonin (a hormone) can be helpful. I'm not sure what dose they would prescribe in your country, but I have also heard you can get slow-release melatonin. I definitely would recommend exercise. Obviously VERY gradual and low impact. You will have to figure out what is best for you. Meditation, hydrotherpy, qi gong are some alternative things that I have found very helpful. I found sleep and pacing myself the best thing for fatigue. I have fairly mild FMS and have managed to alleviate it with lifestyle measures mainly. I did try acupuncture and chinese herbs last year which helped, but in the end I realised the most important thing was giving up shiftwork and reducing the stress in my life. I've never taken any medications for pain so can't comment on drugs. As for diet I've heard lots of different things and I'm still working that one out. There is not quick fix with fibromyalgia so sometimes it involves a lot of experimenting and figuring out what is best for you. Take care



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