Dear Pharmacist: I've had fibromyalgia for the last eight years, and I take Lyrica, hydrocodone and citalopram for medicine. My local pharmacist said those are used to treat pain and depression, but I want to make sure with you. And also, I'd like to know what natural alternatives I have. -S.D., Gainesville, Florida
Fibromyalgia affects millions of people worldwide. In Latin, the term describes pain in the muscles and fibrous tissue.
The muscle pain and tender points can become rather painful, and sometimes disabling, but I believe there's an underlying cause, perhaps infection, nutrient deficiencies, mitochondrial dysfunction, the drug-mugging effect of medicines and more. I'll elaborate shortly, but you asked me to confirm the uses of your medicines. The Lyrica (pregabalin) is used to soothe nerve pain and can make you drowsy. So can the hydrocodone, which is used to reduce a pain chemical called "Substance P," and the citalopram (Celexa), which is classified as an antidepressant -- but that's not necessarily how it's being used. Sure, it lifts a brain neurotransmitter called serotonin, which improves mood and reduces pain. Antidepressants that improve levels of both serotonin and norepinephrine may be even more effective. My point is this class of drugs is often used to relieve pain, not necessarily for depression. All three require prescription.
The cause of muscle pain varies greatly from person to person. Try not to concern yourself too much with the name of your disease or your "diagnosis" because the labels you take on as an identity make it harder for you to overcome them. Just think in terms of having symptoms, rather than diseases, it's more pleasant. Fibromyalgia may be correctable if you find out the underlying cause.
The following are some known causes for muscle pain and if you can find out the cause you can address it. With the help of a conscientious practitioner and state-of-the-art blood tests, find out if you have:
Infections: Pathogens known as EBV, CMV and HSV are known to hide in the body and cause muscle pain. Some cause chicken pox and shingles. Lyme disease, bartonella, babesia, hepatitis C, coxsackie and parvovirus may cause terrible muscle pain.
Magnesium deficiency: This causes widespread muscle pain. This nutrient is depleted by coffee, and "The Pill," certain menopause medications, antacids, acid blockers, steroids and 200 other drugs! Taking high-quality magnesium supplements along with malice acid (derived from green apples) can support muscle health.
Selenium deficiency: This can cause thyroid disease as well as muscle pain. Improving selenium can reduce thyroid antibodies and support immune system health.
CoQ10 deficiency: Over 300 drugs are drug muggers, among them statin cholesterol-reducing medications. When you are CoQ10 deficient, your muscles can spasm, become weak and hurt badly.