In last week's newsletter, I described the 10 key types of pain and the natural remedies that can be used to treat them. In this part 11 in my "Fatigue & Fibromyalgia Are Optional" series, I'll show my Brain Fog Friendly (BFF) Summary for the prescription medications that are sometimes necessary to use.
My preference is to use natural therapies for pain, but I will prescribe prescription medications when needed. And they can be very helpful. For the most part, natural therapies can be combined with prescriptions. Doing so can decrease the amount of medication needed, while increasing their effectiveness and decreasing side effects.
Note that I do not recommend using the ibuprofen (e.g., Advil or Motrin) family of medications (NSAIDs) for fibromyalgia, as they are minimally effective and can be dangerous, with studies showing they can increase the risk of heart disease.
- People get the most effective pain relief by using the entire healthcare tool kit. This includes treating the pain’s root causes, while also using natural and structural therapies and, when needed, medications.
- Because medications carry more risks, it is important that you have accurate information. Sadly, you will rarely get this information from physicians (who are not taught about it) or the media. For example:
- Arthritis medications such as ibuprofen, as previously mentioned, cause over fifty thousand deaths per year in the United States. It does this by increasing heart attack and stroke death risk by over 35% (shown in 2 large studies), as well as bleeding ulcer deaths. But these meds are still safer than chronic pain. I prefer to start with safe natural options that have been shown to be as or more effective though.
- Including overdoses, acetaminophen kills a few hundred Americans a year.
- The pain herbals I discuss in the previous chapter kill zero Americans a year—and are frequently as or more effective than the medications.
- These numbers are taken directly from the scientific literature. If you had a different impression of safety from your physician or the media, you may want to start questioning why. I will give you a hint: Many physicians get most of their continuing medical education via the pharmaceutical industry, and the media is generally also unwilling to upset their major advertisers. So we have a bunch of really good people, in a bunch of really broken systems.
- Have a localized area of pain? Using compounded pain creams containing six to seven medications can be very effective after two to six weeks with minimal side effects. No need to soak 150 pounds of you with seven medications, when you can simply put them right into the muscles and tendons through the skin without side effects.
- If you have fibromyalgia or any chronic pain, and you are not on narcotics, you should take a compounded medication called low-dose naltrexone (3 to 4.5 milligrams at night). Give this at least two months to work. It can change your life.
- Although some people are sensitive to any treatments no matter what, I have found the following treatments to be very helpful for many people with fibromyalgia pain and are often well tolerated: gabapentin, tramadol, tizanidine, and cyclobenzaprine.
- I find the three FDA-approved medications pregabalin, duloxetine, and milnacipran to have more side effects, although they can be helpful in some people.
- There are numerous other treatments that can help pain. I know you think you’ve tried them all, but you haven’t. You can get pain-free.
From My New Edition of From Fatigued to Fantastic
To remind you, BFFs are just the short summaries I include at the beginning of each chapter in my newest edition of From Fatigued to Fantastic I added these to my new edition to help readers who don't have the time to go through all the detail in every chapter, allowing them to quickly get the main points of a topic while devoting more time to reading the details in chapters they're more interested in.
Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D. is one of the world's leading integrative medical authorities on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. He is the lead author of eight research studies on their effective treatments, and has published numerous health & wellness books, including the bestseller on fibromyalgia From Fatigued to Fantastic! and The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution. Dr. Teitelbaum is one of the most frequently quoted fibromyalgia experts in the world and appears often as a guest on news and talk shows nationwide including Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, Oprah & Friends, CNN, and Fox News Health.