could anti depressants actually reduce chronic pain?

hello guys! Right now i find myself stressed out because of this. so I started cymbalta one day of one day on (20mg) about one week ago WITH physical therapy and a lot of mind therapy too. one week later (today) I feel the pain reduced to 0 (from 4/10) and i can sit and do stuff without pain. now the thing is, I don't know what working. is it cymbalta or the Therapy? I'm way less stressed, more positive and relax, but now knowing about this im so depressed because I tho PT and mental therapy was the thing working and it might all be the cymbalta. its only been a week with both, but i feel like cymbalta might just be hiding the true pain, might be a mask? like epidural injection? :( 



  • mlsmmls MarylandPosts: 81

    It's hard to know sometimes what is or isn't working. When I tried Cymbalta, it made me vomit, so stop taking it after one dose. Then I tried Savella which had a slight effect on reducing my pain that I couldn't attribute to anything else, but then I started having disturbing heart palpitations with it so stop taking it. I even tried it again later, but then I got the heart palpitations and no pain relief.

    But when I was on the Savella, I had already stopped PT (mindbody-based myofascial release PT) and talk therapy, which I believe together brought my pain down significantly in the past. But since I had plateaued with the PT and talk therapy, I tried the Cymbalta and Savella. But ultimately the drugs didn't really do anything for me.

    For me, I think the drugs might have some effect, maybe like calming the body down so it can work on healing, but I feel like the drugs don't necessarily get at the true underlying causes of chronic pain and either mask it or don't really help. (Just my two cents.)

    And even though the Savella didn't really help me in the long run, I do think that sometimes the medication can help calm things down so that we can better address the underlying issues that are helping to perpetuate the pain. 

    So if you're feeling better with the Cymbalta, maybe try it for a little while. Maybe it will allow your other therapies to work better. I am not a doctor and cannot tell you what to do, but I guess if it were me, I would probably try it for a little while and then slowly taper down and see if it really is the medication or not. But you really need to work that out with your doctor.

    Good luck! (See my personal website if you want to read about all the things I've personally tried and what did or didn't work for me.)

  • @Steven7 can I ask why a reduction in pain is depressing you? Cymbalta has been used for years for pain control. It works on serotonin and norepinephrine receptors. I feel like this should be a joyous event for you.

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  • WOW mls thanks a lot for the information. I do want to taper it down because i truly want to know how i can manage the pain with the exercises. I feel like this is just hiding the pain like some kind of epidural injection and I won't be able to know what exercises are best for me, since i won't be able to feel the pain while doing them. I have a question tho, is an anti depressant the same thing as a pain killer? so from what i gathered, anti depressant reduce pain by emotions right? serotonin? how does a pain killer reduce pain? i need to look for the diference! i will keep taking it until the doc tells me to taper it down. 

    jillybean079, the thing is, I hate taking medicines, I always wanted to face the pain head to head in battle, but sadly i needed help with my depression so this is the only medicine i take for it. but ever since i started taking it its like i dont even have an herniated disc 0-0. i mean i started PT and mind body connection stuff at the same time, but the pain was all gone in just overnight. and well how will i know what works and what not if the pain is hidden by cymbalta? (or maybe it isnt) thats why i post.

    sorry for my english! 

  • Max_LeeMax_Lee New York, United StatesPosts: 174

    Antidepressants can help with the depression that often comes with pain. However, there isn't any real research that I have ever seen or heard of that says that antidepressants do anything at all for the pain or the condition causing the pain. Painkillers and antidepressants work on different chemicals in the brain and aren't really designed to be interchangeable.

  • @max_lee i have attached an article from mayo clinic regarding the use of anti depressants in combating chronic pain. they actually help in combating pain, not just depression.

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  • Hi Steven71

    Wow so many of us would love to be in your shoes to find that right combination and no pain. I know that when I get depressed I will tense up with it sometimes and that does increase my pain. Have also had several anti-depressants tried to calm the damaged nerves but my touchy system wouldn't handle them darn it. You asked what the difference in pain meds and anti-depressants there is a ton of excellent information on the internet you can research and learn from just an idea. Also talk to your doctor maybe he or she can help you figure out which is doing the miracle cause none of us want to take medications for sure. 
    Take care

  • I believe there is a definite connection with the anti depressants. A lot of those have ingredients that will kill nerve pain. I have fybromyalgia as well as  many other neck/spine issues. It really helps me a lot. Not to mention the slight boost of mood (If you get the right med). I have taken cymbalta for a long time and it helps 

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