Fibromyalgia is a prevalent pain in muscles and delicate tissues on sides of waist, neck and shoulder area. It is mostly a long-term, body wide pain. Fibromyalgia is a group of symptoms which occur together but without any known cause. Due to this musculoskeletal disease, the nerves, brain and spinal cord are unable to control what it feels. As a result of this, even the normal sensations from muscles, tissues and joints are felt as pain. Persons suffering from Fibromyalgia feel pain even in the absence of inflammation or injury.
Main symptoms are pain at back, neck, muscle, delicate tissues or tender points. It also causes tiredness and sleep problems. Uncommon symptoms are morning stiffness, headaches, lack of concentration and irritation. It may cause depression too. Such symptoms may adversely affect the quality of life at both home and office. Some persons even leave their work if symptoms get severe. No damage is done to joints, muscles or organs.
Diseases like thyroid disorders, sleep disorders, and arthritis can imitate medical conditions of fibromyalgia. The disease cannot be confirmed by any test. Its diagnosis is carried out by combination of chronic pain and peculiar symptoms as there is no justification for the symptoms.
Best Painkillers for Fibromyalgia
Although there is no ideal treatment for the disease, following drugs are found to useful
Flexeril (cyclobenzaprine HCl): Muscle relaxant used to treat skeletal muscle conditions.
Elavil (Amitriptyline), Prozac (Fluoxetine) and Duloxetine (Cymbalta, Ariclaim, Xeristar, Yentreve): Antidepressants used to treat major depressive disorders.
Lyrica (Pregabalin) and Neurontin (Gabapentin): Anti-seizure medicines.
Tylenol (Acetaminophen) and Ultram (Tramadol Hcl): Analgesics.
Comparative study of these medicines has not been carried out scientifically but their success rate is high. Most of the trials were short-term. Thus their long run results are unknown. Each of these medicines may have side effects. It is important to assess the benefits and risks involved before taking these.
Flexeril is basically Cyclobenzaprine that is a muscular relaxant. In case of muscular spasms and acute pain conditions it is very effective in providing relief. It is supposed to activate the brain stem’s locus coeruleus. As a result the brain releases norepinephrine in the spinal cord’s vertical horn and thereby it inhibits the actions of the alpha motor neurons. It is approved by FDA and is known to show good results in a couple of weeks. Cyclobenzaprine HCL tablets should be used only for short periods
Fluoxetine is marketed as Prozac and Sarafem and is an antidepressant. It is an extremely popular drug and is used for treating depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, bulimia nervosa and premenstrual dysphoric disorder. It works like an SSRI i.e. selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. Fluoxetine shows significant improvement in pain, fatigue and depression compared to placebo. It’s generally well tolerated.
Cymbalta is basically Duloxetine which is a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor. Though basically an anti-depressant it is known to show remarkable improvement in lowering the pain in patients of fibromyalgia. It make the patients feel better by reducing the feelings of depression and help improve the quality of life and overall well-being.
Neurontin is basically Gabapentin that was originally developed to treat epilepsy and is also popular as a pain reliever especially in cases of neuropathic pain and acute depression. Its treatment for seizure has been approved by the FDA. Being an anticonvulsant drug doctors recommend it for Fibromyalgia patients too in case of acute muscular pain. It provides relief to tenderness and pain, improves sleep, lowers depression and boosts energy levels.
Lyrica is basically Pregabalin that is an anticonvulsant, very effective for neuropathic pain relief and for treating general anxiety disorder. In 2007, FDA gave approval to the drug for treating Fibromyalgia as it provides relief from chronic pain as well as treats injuries in spinal cord. It has been graded as a Schedule V drug in the United States.
Tylenol is an effective pain reliever, helps reduce fever and also helps in cold, cough and flu. It is recommended by doctors for treating Fibromyalgia as it helps to reduce stiffness and acute muscular pain. Tylenol helps in easing the pain and let the patients get a better sleep.
Ultram is basically Tramadol hydrochloride. It is very effective in treating mild to severe muscular pain. The drug is used for various treatments and Fibromylagia is one among them. Being a narcotic and a monoamine uptake inhibitor it is able to effectively manage the availability of neurotransmitters to the brain. It should not be used in combination with tricyclic antidepressants.
Many theories are prevalent regarding causes of fibromyalgia but none can support a particular cause. Some believe that persons with fibromyalgia could have very sensitive nerve cells. Others believe that the chemical in their brain may not be correctly balanced.
Doctors can confirm whether a person is suffering from the disease by two things. One could be extensive pain in body and the other may be tenderness. Doctor will also have to confirm that the person doesn’t suffer from other diseases like polymyalgia rheumatic, rheumatoid arthritis or some autoimmune diseases.
The disease can be controlled by carrying out regular exercises and proper handling of stress. Developing good sleeping habits will also help. Proper counseling will help in dealing with chronic pain. Other therapies like massage, acupuncture and relaxation techniques also help persons suffering from fibromyalgia.