What to Do When Painkillers Don’t Work

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There are over 12 million sufferers of fibromyalgia, a disease with a mysterious origin. This disease, which primarily affects women between the ages of 35 and 55 (roughly 5 percent of all women in this has the disease versus a little more than 1-1/2 percent of men in the same group) has symptoms that range from pain and aches in the muscles and tendons.

There are 3 treatments approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which are: the antidepressant Savella; combination antidepressant and pain killer Cymbalta; and, an anti-seizure medication and pain killer medicine, Lyrica.

As you can see, the predominant medication that is approved by the FDA for the treatment of fibromyalgia are painkillers, as symptoms of pain are what sufferers of the disease experience the most.

Unfortunately these treatments are not always effective and in some cases do not work at all with certain sufferers of fibromyalgia.

It is also possible that over time a person taking a pain killing medication, opioid repressor like Naltrexone (used with heroin users) and other types of alternative medications may develop a tolerance for the treatment, rendering it ineffective.

The process of pain management requires vigilance and anticipation of changes needing to be made by specialists and other professionals who understand the disease.

The Effectivene What to Do When Painkillers Don’t Works of Pain Medicine

As stated pain medicine used to treat fibromyalgia can and will lose its effectiveness over the management of pain in time.

Before this happens, a physician is trained to slowly move a fibromyalgia patient from one regiment of pain management to another, more effective treatment.

Unfortunately such a process is short term and does not necessarily address the long term nature of pain being experienced by the sufferer.

In those instances where pain medication continually loses its ability to manage pain, other factors need to be examined, including those stressors that may be present in the life of the fibromyalgia patient.

One note: as a patient who is taking a prescribed treatment for the management of pain associated with the disease, any changes to the medication should be discussed openly with your physician.

You should never take yourself off a medication before discussing first with your doctor or attempt to change the type of medication that you are using on your own.

What to Do When Painkillers Don't Work

Additional Treatment Options for Managing Fibromyalgia Pain

Although using pain medications as a method of managing your fibromyalgia symptoms, finding the right dose and type of pain medication is only part of the solution, especially if the pain medication is not providing a solution.

Other solutions to consider that may be as effective as pain medication or provide you with relief from the symptoms of the disease include anti-depressants, sleep management, therapy (mental and physical), exercise, acupuncture, massage and other alternatives.

– Using antidepressant medications. As depression and anxiety are symptoms of the disease, taking anti-depressants is one way to manage the disease and managing your mood swings.

Those medicines known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs, work to shut off those receptors in the brain that trigger pain.

Anti-depressants have the added benefit of addressing your anxiety, mood swings and sleeplessness, extreme tiredness or fatigue.

On the vein of sleeplessness, the use of SSRI anti-depressants can help restore peaceful rest.

If this is not the solution to your problems, a sleep aid may also be needed. If you seek the advice of your physician for a prescription strength or over the counter sleep aid, make sure that the medication is safe to use and does not counteract with other medication that you are taking for the disease.

Also, cut down/out caffeine (especially before sleep) and maintain a regular schedule of sleep.


– Mental and physical therapy and support

Dealing with the symptoms associated with fibromyalgia and the chronic pain can cause long bouts of depression and feelings of hopelessness.

When those times come, you need a system of support to help you deal with the disease.

This includes tapping into your social networks (i.e. family and friends) as well as meeting with a qualified mental therapist to deal with your feelings.

You may also consider joining a support group for fibromyalgia in your community.

In addition to mental health, maintaining your physical activity is also important.

There are studies that support the notion that physically active individuals suffering from fibromyalgia benefit greatly from engaging in a program of physical activity.

Doing so can help with sleep, reducing fatigue and strengthening muscles.

– Exercise

Along with physical therapy, a managed and discipline program of exercise involving low impact stretching, aerobic and aquatic work provides you with a framework from which muscle growth takes place, pain is reduced and your outlook on life changes.

– Pain management through acupuncture, massage and biofeedback. Your pain can also be managed through alternative methods of pain management.

These include traditional medicine techniques such as acupuncture or light massage as well as the use of biofeedback as a way to determine how your body signals pain when unconscious.

Acupuncture is growing in popular as a way to manage pain. This traditional Chinese method for pain management does not itself cause pain.

The method helps direct blood flow and remove pain. Massages that are not deep tissue can provide fibromyalgia patients with a way to relieve stress and lower pain receptors associated with the disease.

Biofeedback is another method that can lower pain and teach a patient how to rid the body of some of the effects of the disease.

– Alternative medicine approaches

There are drugs that provide relief to fibromyalgia sufferers that have not approved by the FDA.

One treatment that has shown some promise with certain patients suffering from fibromyalgia is Naltrexone.

This drug is used as a opioid receptor blocker with opiate users such as addicted heroin users. Its ability to work on receptors in the brain makes it an promising alternative treatment.

The disease is an unpredictable one and a regiment of pain management for one patient may differ for another patient.

Understanding that and working closely with your doctor can help your overall pain management strategy.

2 thoughts on “What to Do When Painkillers Don’t Work”

  1. Ive just been put on lycra an really dnt like sound of it but ive no choice to try it really as my hospital dr is running out of options an surgon refused to operate at min.

  2. Ive just been put on lycra an really dnt like sound of it but ive no choice to try it really as my hospital dr is running out of options an surgon refused to operate at min.


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