Fibromyalgia is a disorder that causes muscle pain and fatigue (feeling tired). People with fibromyalgia have "tender points" on the body. Tender points are specific places on the neck, shoulders, back, hips, arms, and legs. These points hurt when pressure is put on them. Other fibromyalgia symptoms may include:
- Trouble sleeping
- Morning stiffness
- Painful menstrual periods
- Tingling or numbness in the hands and feet
- Problems with thinking and memory (sometimes called "fibro fog").
Cymbalta is approved to treat fibromyalgia and is especially useful for relieving fibromyalgia pain.
Using Cymbalta for Chronic Musculoskeletal PainAlthough Cymbalta was initially used just for treating nerve pain, it has since been discovered that the drug can be useful for treating chronic musculoskeletal pain as well. Specifically, studies have shown it to be beneficial for chronic pain due to osteoarthritis and chronic back pain.
Cymbalta can be a particularly useful option (or addition) for people who cannot take other types of pain medications or for whom other types of pain medications have not adequately relieved pain.
How Does Cymbalta Work?
Cymbalta is part of a class of drugs called serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, or SNRIs for short. SNRIs, such as Cymbalta, affect two specific chemicals within the brain, known as serotonin and norepinephrine. Serotonin and norepinephrine are two of several chemicals used to send messages in between nerves. However, if serotonin and norepinephrine levels become unbalanced, it can cause a variety of conditions, such as depression and anxiety.
Cymbalta helps to block the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine, so that higher levels of these chemicals are available for the nerves in the brain, returning the serotonin and norepinephrine back to their "normal" levels.
Although it is not entirely clear how Cymbalta works for nerve pain, it appears that Cymbalta helps to help block the nerve pain symbols in the spinal cord or brain. This helps to relieve the pain of peripheral diabetic neuropathy. It is not clear how Cymbalta works for fibromyalgia.