If you’ve been following along for a while, you know that I’ve dealt with chronic pain for a lifetime. I only recently found a primary care doctor who listened and started me on a proper regimen. But how effective is my current fibromyalgia treatment plan?
As our friends at WebMD put it, ”Fibromyalgia is a complicated condition.” You can say that again! “It has no specific causes and no known cure. Yet for those who have it — as many as one in 50 Americans — the chronic pain, fatigue, and psychological strain of fibromyalgia are all too clear.”
Since we’re only just getting into my formal fibro treatments, it’s fairly limited in terms of medication and other “official” fibromyalgia treatment options. But I’ve developed quite the arsenal of non-prescription treatments for chronic pain over the years. I consider them an integral part of my treatment plan, too!
I’ll periodically return to this post with updates as my fibromyalgia treatment plan changes. As of this writing, here’s how I’m treating my fibro symptoms:
Now that I’m getting formal treatment for my chronic pain, I’m finally taking medication beyond OTC pain relief. Normally, we would have started with amitriptyline but, as it’s already part of my migraine relief plan, we started off with duloxetine (generic Cymbalta).
Admittedly, Cymbalta doesn’t seem to be making a significant difference in my fibro symptoms so far. At first, I did seem to have a decline in flare days. As time goes on, though, it looks like that was more or less a coincidence. If anything, it seems like my flares might be shortened, to some degree. I’ve previously found that my pain increases about three days before a storm or other precipitation. Now, it seems that the flare is coming about a day or two beforehand.
We’ve upped my duloxetine dosage once already and are leaving the option open in the coming weeks. If things aren’t looking up by my October appointment, my doctor and I will discuss whether we want to increase my Cymbalta dosage.
Over the Counter Meds
Having only just started prescription fibromyalgia treatment, I’ve collected a wide range of OTC options for whatever relief I can get. I’ve stuck mostly to typical options, like paracetamol/acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil). In particular, I’ve used Advil Dual Action and Advil Migraine with decent results. Overall, the “liqui-gel” style ibuprofen seems to give me the closest thing to pain relief.
I have lots of experience with topical pain relief for fibromyalgia, especially as it’s something I’ve used long before seeking treatment through my doctor. My favorite topical treatments for fibromyalgia include Absorbine Jr., Topricin Fibro Cream, Icy Hot, Tiger Balm, and standard muscle rub.
After watching Jennifer Brea’s Unrest, I also invested in a bottle of magnesium spray. This seems like it helps quite a bit but, unfortunately, it comes with some itch and irritation. I’m planning to research ways to see whether different brands or types of product help with a lesser reaction!
If you’ve read my chronic illness wish list, it probably comes as no surprise that I love finding new gadgets for fibromyalgia and my other diagnoses.