How much does Lyrica or similar drugs really help Fibromyalgia pain?

fsgregs1

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Hi all. I'm new to the forum. Currently, I am a 74 yr old man who has become semi-disabled with pain ... in my back, my knees, my thighs, hips, arms, etc. While I have a very bad back (3-level spinal fusion done yrs ago), and arthritic knees ( 1 knee already replaced), all the other pain I feel is newer and keeps getting worse. I use canes inside my house and cannot walk to my mailbox without level 6/10 pain appearing halfway down my driveway. To take a walk outside, I have to use an upright walker (which really helps by the way). As a result, my exercise level is way down. While I eat a sparse semi-vegan diet (under 1500 cal/day), I am still gaining weight (close to 200 lbs now). I ache all time time, unless I am sitting down.

I have been nonplussed and sorely disappointed by the inability of Rx meds to help me. I've tried Lyrica, Gabapentin, Neurontin, 12 different NSAIDs, 10 mg Oxycodone pills, Medical Pot, Prednisone injections and pills, nutritional supplements, 5 different muscle relaxers, hot tubs, heating pads, ice packs, tens, acupuncture, massage, 9 sets of PT, yoga ... even Reiki. While a hot tub eases my pain while I'm in it, as soon as I step out, my aching comes back again. I wince with pain just climbing back up the stairs. Nothing else seems to work. Perhaps my problem is, I am a retired Biologist, and am too well aware of the power of Placebo. Many drugs taken by people for pain work because the patient thinks they will work (the Placebo effect). I am too sensitive to that, and the effect simply does not work for me. If a drug is to have an effect on me, it really has to chemically react with my body. So far, that is not happening.

My wife, daughters and even my doctor have urged me to retry Lyrica. Since it and neurological drugs like it are the go-to drug for chronic fibromyalgia body pain, they are all pushing me to give it another try. Here is my problem and the reason for posting today. All drugs have side effects. I am seeking a drug that will not only ease my discomfort by 10% or so (does me little good), but can SLASH my pain down to a very small level, at least for a few hours in a day ... low enough to enable me to walk without canes or walkers, to return to some weight-lifting and aerobic exercise to lose weight. I know Lyrica and Gabapentin, etc. seem to help some people, but is that help DRAMATIC? If it has helped you, is your pain WAY down ... enabling you to return to some semblence of normal life, or has Lyrica lowered your discomfort just a bit but you are still suffering a lot? If so, then I doubt I will return to taking it. Unless I can exercise again and lose some of this damned weight, taking a neurology medicine will not be good for me (too many side effects).

So, if drugs like Lyrica have helped you, how much have they done so? Have they restored your life, or is the relief only modest? Thanks for being honest and replying to this thread. I truly need your advice.

Frank G
 

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Hi and welcome! Glad you found us. :)

Effectiveness honestly varies from person to person. As a biologist, i bet you kind of know that already, but it bears reminding sometimes.
For some people, yes, it can be dramatic.. but that is a double edged sword - might be dramatically better, might be dramatically worse. and no one can predict which it will be for a given person. There are no miracle drugs that work well for everyone. Even if someone told you that Yes, they did get dramatic improvement from X med, that does not mean that you will.
Might be time to think about other things to try and see if they help you.

I know you said you eat mostly vegan, but how about caffeine? sugar? gluten? (you would be surprised how many things have gluten in them)
Sunkacola has a great post full of things that you can try yourself at basically no cost, other than time.
My advice for managing fibromyalgia (especially for newcomers)

Also, getting even a little exercise will help you with those pounds.. I know, I am struggling the same way.. hurts to move, but if I dont, I pack on more, so, yeah, vicious circle. But by starting slow, and easy.. even just a couple of minutes at a time, maybe a couple times a day to start... but do your best to stick with it, and add a minute here and there, and before you know it, you might be walking to the end of the block and back. i dug out my dumbbell set recently.. can only manage the 1lb set at this point, but that will improve over time if i stay with it.
The alternative is to sit in a chair and feel sorry for one's self.

my daily pain level has hovered right around 7 - 7.5 pretty much every day for over a year.. some days a bit worse, very rarely is it less. I have arthritis in my neck, lumbar region, feet, hands - pretty much every joint, to some degree or another - neck and lumbar back are the worst tho.
Yeah, some days i dont want to do anything at all, but I kind of have to.. the dog needs to go out, groceries are needed, and also need to be brought in and put away.. dinner needs to get made.. dishes have to get washed, laundry needs doing, and i live in an old 2 story farmhouse with the bathroom upstairs.. so.. i do get some exercise, just doing normal every day stuff... But I am trying to add to that on a daily basis now. I might not succeed every day, but i try.
 

fsgregs1

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Cookiebaker: Thanks for the reply. Believe me, I understand your points. I do in fact bike ride every day for 30 minutes. For some reason, pedaling a bike does not hurt me. Perhaps it is the way I'm sitting, with my weight mostly on the seat. Plus, my bike is an Ebike and when I hit a hill, I add some juice and its motor helps me climb the hill. Sadly, biking does not lose any weight. In fact, 30 minutes of biking burns only 50 calories. I also walk a bit with my upright walker, but it too is not aerobic. I do lift weights but modestly and my metabolic burn rate is just way too low. I need to jog for 2 hours or hike mountains, something I will never do again.

I posted the post because I am not aware of anyone who, having suffered from intractable chronic muscle and joint pain for a year or more, took Lyrica and discovered their pain melt away. down to a level that long term, allowed them to live their old life again. If such an effect exists, I need to hear it from someone who tried it and succeeded. General terms about it working for some people and not others, are nice but non-specific. I need the real "skinny" so to speak. Hopefully, others reading this post with such an experience will also respond.

Thanks again for the reply.
Frank
 

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In fact, 30 minutes of biking burns only 50 calories
not sure where you got that figure from, but from what i can find it would be more like 250-300 calories, more if you bring the speed up (ie: work harder at it)
 

fimi

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I know Lyrica and Gabapentin, etc. seem to help some people, but is that help DRAMATIC? If it has helped you, is your pain WAY down ... enabling you to return to some semblence of normal life, or has Lyrica lowered your discomfort just a bit but you are still suffering a lot?
Hi fsgregs1

I came off lyrica a couple of months ago. For me, yes, it helped with the pain, but sadly not at the level you are hoping to achieve. It also gave me side effects - slight speech issue, weight gain, increased fogginess, and did nothing for my fatigue. I now use the more natural route with a different painkiller only when at my worst, which is working better - fingers crossed!


Of course, this is only my experience with it, and what may not work for me, may work well for you!
Hopefully you'll get some more posts to help you, but I wish you luck in whatever you decide. :)
 

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I posted the post because I am not aware of anyone who, having suffered from intractable chronic muscle and joint pain for a year or more, took Lyrica and discovered their pain melt away.
Sadly, you are extremely unlikely to find anyone who can honestly say that. If there really were a drug that would safely do that, nearly everyone with fibro would be using it. If it did not do much for you previously I don't recommend trying it again because there's no reason to believe that things have changed unless the last time you tried it was many years ago.

I do recommend looking into my post on ways to manage fibro.
It sounds to me as if you are doing great in the exercise department! You should get kudos for that. Maybe if you try ever so gradually, you can increase the weight (like, try only one rep with a higher weight each day), and walk a tiny bit farther and so on. The exercise really doesn't have to be super aerobic to help you with FM; you just have to move your body every day and you are doing that.

If you haven't tried experimenting with your diet, it may be time for that. Remember not to expect to see results right away. If you only try something different for a week that won't tell you a thing. You need to stick with whatever you are trying for a minimum of 2 weeks, preferably a month. And if you decide to try cutting out something, start reading all labels thoroughly because things like wheat or gluten or sugar and other things are often hiding in foods and condiments you wouldn't suspect had those things. The best is to stop eating packaged foods and start using only foods you prepare and cook yourself.

We're here to cheer you along. :)
 

fsgregs1

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Sadly, my biking is not particularly aerobic, with pumping and climbing hills. Maybe that kind of biking for an hour burns a few hundred calories, but my biking on an electric bike is mild pedaling, coasting, pedaling, electric assistance up hills, etc. I doubt I even burn 50 calories in 30 minutes, but that is what the web told me when I looked it up. I could double the time to one hour, but 100 calories is also not going to let me lose weight. That equals 1 apple or a glass of OJ. Thanks tough for responding. You are very helpful.
 

sunkacola

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Sadly, my biking is not particularly aerobic, with pumping and climbing hills. Maybe that kind of biking for an hour burns a few hundred calories, but my biking on an electric bike is mild pedaling, coasting, pedaling, electric assistance up hills, etc. I doubt I even burn 50 calories in 30 minutes, but that is what the web told me when I looked it up. I could double the time to one hour, but 100 calories is also not going to let me lose weight. That equals 1 apple or a glass of OJ. Thanks tough for responding. You are very helpful.
Aerobic is not all important with fibro. Just moving is good.

As for losing weight, the amount you are doing might be enough as well if combined with the right kinds of food, which is why I recommend experimenting with your diet. If changing what you eat (and I do NOT mean "going on a diet" to lose weight), you may find a tiny bit more energy and be able to increase. It is all baby steps, but I suggest that you start out with making changes to what you eat.

I have known people, and read recently a book by someone, who lost their initial weight just by doing less exercise that you are currently doing, and changing the food they ate. That gave them more energy so they exercised a bit more. Then they lost weight which made the exercise easier......and so on.

Exercise doesn't have to be vigorous or aerobic at first ( or ever) in order to contribute to weight loss if combined with the right kind of eating patterns.
It can be done!
 

JayCS

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Hi Frank and welcome from me too.
Can't help you much with your main quest for the one person with brilliant results who'd make the difference for you with Lyrica.
But my thoughts:
I was going to ask why you haven't considered duloxetine/Cymbalta or amitriptyline/Elavil, then thought it's the weight gain side effect, as these too are go-to meds for fibro, with equal medical evidence. Then thought: Well that I'd think would become your problem with pregabalin/Lyrica too.
As the +6kg from 4 months of fairly low dose amitriptyline I got took a year to decrease, is your weight gain so far praps caused by all the meds you've tried?
Perhaps ... retired Biologist, ... too well aware of the power of Placebo. ... I am too sensitive to that, and the effect simply does not work for me. If a drug is to have an effect on me, it really has to chemically react with my body. So far, that is not happening.
Hasn't it been proven that placebos work even if we know they are just that? That said I don't seem that susceptible to either the placebo nor the nocebo effect. And if something I take inexplicably works a bit, I don't care if it's placebo or not.
urged me to retry Lyrica
Well, sounds like a catch 22: Taking something which probably increases weight to be able to exercise to decrease it again. But: I was able to exercise on amitriptyline, but couldn't stop gaining weight till I stopped the stuff. (I was fit before and still am fit 2 years later, even tho I often have no energy.) So I doubt it'll work.

Looking for comparison of weight gain from Lyrica to duloxetine/Cymbalta, the info on medicinenet and on drugs com suggests it's worse from Lyrica.

Regarding the efficiency of pregabalin/Lyrica: Well there sometimes are people for whom it works quite well, see here, and with few side effects, incl. weight gain, see here. KimsCorner was only on here for 2 weeks a few months back tho, so they won't be answering this. But @MaiTai might return after one day here recently on Aug 20th, after saying "I am having really good results with the [generic] version of Lyrica for my fibromyalgia." see here.

Like others here my personal take on the meds question is: They don't help much. And there are may studies that say they only help a bit. Those that focus on meds for fibro say roughly that amitriptyline more than ties with pregabalin and duloxetine. But those that focus on what helps fibro say: meds actually don't much. So to call Lyrica a "go to" is IMO a big exaggeration.

But what are your alternatives...:
Medical Pot, Prednisone injections and pills, nutritional supplements, 5 different muscle relaxers, hot tubs, heating pads, ice packs, tens, acupuncture, massage, 9 sets of PT, yoga ... even Reiki
First reading this you've been doing quite a lot. But on my list there are 20 times as much. That's where I'd continue, and not with meds. You've adjusted your diet, but like the others have asked, I'm not sure if you've tried stopping gluten or FODMAP/fructans or the Mediterranean diet? There are 30+ supplements which might help with fibro, not sure if you've tried the fringes or just the basic ones. Have you tried just these 4 or others of the 20+ types of physical therapy, like myofascial release or acupressure, expert or self-applied?
For some reason, pedaling a bike does not hurt me. Perhaps it is the way I'm sitting, with my weight mostly on the seat.
Ah, same here! Well OK, it hurts my wrists, elbows, back and backside, but I can still tolerate it better than walking.
30 minutes of biking burns only 50 calories
not sure where you got that figure from, but from what i can find it would be more like 250-300 calories, more if you bring the speed up (ie: work harder at it)
I'm also very surprised at that figure, even now you've clarified you coast a lot. But I get your plight that you don't manage to exercise as much as you'd like to. Because cycling would be an ideal place to increase slowly, but apparently not possible at the moment...
I need to jog for 2 hours or hike mountains, something I will never do again.
It might not be hours long what you need to do. Have you tried the 7 minute scientific workout? See NYT & youtube. If necessary start low and go slow e.g. start with 5 or 2 repetitions, add one every few days. If possible several times a day....

Hope you find some ideas here, with or without meds!
 

fsgregs1

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Fimi, Sunkacola & JayCS: Thank you for the encouragement and the detailed messages. I have heard that some people are able to lose a bit of weight by altering what foods they eat. Regarding my diet, my wife and I are already on a semi-Mediterranean diet. While I do eat some bread and pasta occasionally (gluten), I just can't believe it can be causing me so much pain. I've eaten it in spades my whole life, with No side effects. When I was in my 20's, I'd eat an entire loaf of french bread for lunch and feel great. Ditto for pasta (I'm Italian). I did not begin to feel like crap until my 60's. I honestly don't think as a scientist that it is due to my lifelong diet. Likewise, I really limit sugar intake. I have no sodas, few sweets, no beer, only an occasional glass of wine, very little sugar in my foods ... my fasting glucose level is in the 180's. Honestly, I know diet foods may slightly lower my weight, but I want something that I can depend upon to keep it off.

What I am after here, which it appears is a futile hope, is a DRAMATIC change in my condition due to something I simply haven't tried yet ... a new medicine ... or a herbal supplement ... or a surgical procedure ... or something ... that can restore at least half of my previous life to some semblance of normalcy ... help me lick this intractable pain. A modest improvement resulting from major effort is not going to change anything I do ... will not allow me to hike, or kayak or golf, or walk the streets of my local town. I will still be mostly disabled with canes and a walker, but slightly less achy. That is a very depressing thought!

Apparently, no one on this forum has yet taken an Rx med like Lyrica or similar and felt 50% or more less pain and discomfort! I would need that level of improvement to face increased weight gain, fatigue, fuzzy headedness, etc. from the side effects. I'll keep checking these posts. Maybe it will yet happen, but ... I am honestly losing hope!
 

cookiebaker

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I posted the post because I am not aware of anyone who, having suffered from intractable chronic muscle and joint pain for a year or more, took Lyrica and discovered their pain melt away. down to a level that long term, allowed them to live their old life again.
Sadly, you are extremely unlikely to find anyone who can honestly say that.
What I am after here, which it appears is a futile hope, is a DRAMATIC change in my condition due to something I simply haven't tried yet

Yeah, kind of "hunting for Unicorns" here.. 🦄 We can hope, and wish, and believe with all our might... but actually finding one? not likely.
Sad to say, but there are no "quick fixes" for this kind of thing.. you are not going to find any "dramatic improvements" in how you feel overnight, or even in a few days. Sorry. And there are definitely no surgical fixes for FM or CFS/ME, or any of a whole host of others. There are surgical fixes for actual physical problems that add to our pain - like joint problems, but not for things like fibro itself.

changing your diet is probably going to be your best option.. and it wont be an immediate improvement.. it takes time.. weeks of time, not days.
for me, i have found that simply cutting out pasta and eating rice instead has made a dramatic improvement in how my gut feels.. I dont feel so bloated anymore which means the ibs is a bit better, which means i feel better in general and that lets me do slightly more things. So yeah, it CAN make a difference in how you feel, but it takes time.. it wont happen overnight.

Makes no difference what you USED to eat.. it is what you are eating now and how your body is reacting to it now. And no, i dont suggest eating "diet foods" either - those are usually loaded with chemicals that are even worse for you than salt, sugar & fat.

I used to eat things like spaghetti, lasagna, fettuccine alfredo with various "extras", & various casseroles using noodles all the time (tuna casserole is a personal favorite).. at least 3-4 times a week... with potatoes the other days of the week... mashed, baked, fried, roasted.. Have pretty well cut those out too. so.. little things can make a difference - if you give it time... Try cutting all gluten for a month, see how it goes. what have you got to lose?

my fasting glucose level is in the 180's.
Your glucose level is actually pretty high and somewhat concerning.. between 72 and 108 is considered the "normal" range for fasting levels.

on the bike.. ok, so you aren't doing a lot of pedaling... but, what if you were to increase the amount of pedaling you do by several minutes a week? say, in your 30 minute ride, you pedal for 10 mins now.. bump it up to 12-15 mins for a week or so, if you can... once you can do that regularly without a major flare up, then bump it up again.
The whole point is to actually be doing something, not just sitting passively, along for the ride.. so what if it isn't "aerobic" right now.. as long as you are doing something. Slowly building up your stamina and tolerance should be the focus right now.. aerobic can come later.

I live in the boonies with a ~200ft drive, and just walking - slowly - to the end of my driveway and back to the house is a bit of a major feat at the moment... but, doc says do it every day, build that stamina up... and at some point, i will be able to do that, and add in a little extra....maybe half again the length.. eventually doing the full length twice in one go, and so on.
 

fsgregs1

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Nuts, I misquoted myself. My fasting Glucose is in the 80's, not 180's. That was my Cholesterol level, which is good.

Regarding diet, I find myself avoiding making an effort to cut out breads (I love breads) & pasta (I love pasta). I already use whole wheat breads and flour, and only eat pasta once/week or so. I have no gut issues, and as said before, I eat only 1500 cal/day or so, so I don't overdo any food. Unless someone can tell me they were very badly aching for months or years all the time, then cut out bread, and soon was able to walk a mile without much pain, I really really hesitate to dive into restrictive diets. Like I said, I am so bad off now that a 10% or even 20% improvement in my condition will make no difference. I'll still be unable to do anything except sit in a chair and dauble with some small level of exercise. I need something to dramatically grab my body, give it a shake, and let me return to some of my former life, which was very active (hiking, walking, biking, swimming, kayaking, lifting). If that is a pipe dream now and there is no such treatment, then I get it but I'm sorely distressed about it.

That said, I will increase my biking time to 45 minutes tomorrow, and my walker walks to 1 mile/day (I did that today). Neither has made any difference in me (I still ache profoundly), but at least it lets me know I am not dead yet.

I really am grateful for your advice. It does help me. Thanks.
 

cookiebaker

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My fasting Glucose is in the 80's, not 180's. That was my Cholesterol level,
yeah, big difference there. and glad you clarified.. 180 on glucose is kinda bad, but good for cholesterol. ☺️

I have to keep reminding myself every time i see it.. they checked my glucose last time they did bloods.. but it was not fasting, it was midday.. was 114. My fasting levels are usually low 90s
I'll still be unable to do anything except sit in a chair....
this is absolutely the worst thing you can be doing.. it actually makes things that much worse.

And i get being loath to give up something you love (bread and pasta).. but I still think it would be worthwhile to just try it for a few weeks. You might actually be surprised. (i have been) But, being resistant to even trying means you will never know for sure.. Think of it as a scientific experiment.. Can you prove, or disprove, the theory for your case?
And hey, if at the end of 3 weeks or so there is no difference at all.. then by all means, bring on the pasta.

Just because you ate those things all of your life with no ill effects does not mean they still cause no ill effects. Is it the answer to everything? probably not, but it could be a part of it. Think of it this way.. a body can often cope with tiny amounts of a toxic substance for a while, but when the level gets to a certain point, there are going to be problems.

My case in point.. I have given up on white breads and pasta for several weeks now.. I have been feeling a fair bit better, with bloating greatly diminished, and other digestive problems settling down... had lunch with a friend today.. ate a hamburger on the standard white bun.. by the time I got home I felt so bloated it was not even funny.. I STILL feel bloated 8 hrs later. At times, in the past, the bloating would be so severe it was hard to even breathe.

I am not saying that you will have the exact same experience - what I am saying is that it is worth trying it... you seriously have nothing to lose by trying, except maybe some pain/discomfort.

other things to think about cutting in the same manner..
Sugar (wine has sugar in it, btw)
Caffeine (most teas have caffeine - altho i believe green tea does not)
Dairy products.. milk, cheese, sour cream, and so on - i have a friend that can not eat cheese or he has severe digestive problems. he can drink milk, so it isn't a lactose thing, but the cultures used to make the cheese.

In the end, the choice is yours.. you do what you want to do. But if you seriously want to improve your health, you have to start somewhere, so why not start with something that costs you nothing but some time to see if it helps?
That miracle drug you are hoping for really does not exist. Not in the way you are looking for, anyway.
Can you make improvements? Yes, I believe you can, but you have to be willing to try things that might sound silly, but have worked to varying degrees for others. It could end up being a combination of things that works best for you - happens that way for others as well.

And just as a comparison.. I am 58, and up until just a few years ago, i was active, too.. working on our old house, doing maintenance on the vehicles, riding motorcycles.. used to drive truck for a living.. enjoyed doing yardwork, including cutting 2.5 acres of grass.. tree trimming, pruning the lilacs (they have gotten too big to do much now, tho) and so on.. Used to be able to eat pretty much anything I wanted to with not issues.. Now, just walking out to the end of the driveway to retrieve the trash container is a major expedition. and apparently gluten laden hamburger buns are poison to me now. My body has literally fallen apart in the last 3-3.5 years. Yes, i was experiencing pain and other issues before that, but it has gone crazy in that time.
 

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I'm not sure if my ideas are in any way contributing, but here are further thoughts:..
I have no gut issues
On the one hand I can see why you're hesitant there
I eat only 1500 cal/day or so, so I don't overdo any food
Apart from overeating, I'd think the less we eat, the more what we eat makes a difference. If a car needs less fuel, oil & water than others that doesn't mean you can halve the amount of oil. (I hope the image comes across?)
Unless someone can tell me they were very badly aching for months or years all the time, then cut out bread, and soon was able to walk a mile without much pain,
Maybe not just the bread, but there are quite a few people I've heard who say exactly that happened. Not me, but I don't count. (Interesting here already that you phrase it as if you are hoping for having to change only one thing.)
I am so bad off now that a 10% or even 20% improvement in my condition will make no difference. I'll still be unable to do anything except sit in a chair and dabble with some small level of exercise.
If it were 20% of your condition now, maybe. Maybe not. However that may be a foot in the door to more. And if it were 20% of what it used to be, you may be able to do much more.
I'd long postponed trying Chinese acupuncture as the Western type didn't help. Not having many other alternatives and energy at 5-10% it is now regularly trebled at 20-25%, unless some trigger pulls it back down for a while. Only one symptom and only for a certain time maybe, but it makes so much difference.
I need something to dramatically grab my body
If that is a pipe dream now and there is no such treatment, then I get it but I'm sorely distressed about it.
Again the popping a panacea pill you're looking for is very likely a pipe dream. But you could use that dream to motivate yourself to try the many new things - not the old things like meds that haven't worked or aren't working like you need them to.
The realistic aim would not be to find one thing, but many. I do 80+ self-treatments per day including keeping my mindset positive. As soon as I forget a few of my supps or exercises or to react quickly to any new symptom, that can cause a setback that is all the harder to reset, cause I have 100s of plates to spin. The alternative is to stay stuck in the mud. I and my wife deserve more and the only way up is keeping up.
Neither has made any difference in me (I still ache profoundly),
As long as it doesn't make us ache more for longer than 1-2 hours after. If it aches longer, we need to decrease stint lengths. E.g. not increase 30 minutes to 45, but 1x30 to 2x30. Or increase speed and take a rest after every 15 minutes. Or switch types of exercise, like add 15 minutes of stretching. If we find a way of increasing that doesn't increase the ache, then it is of course good for us. The effects may come after 1 year and will come faster and better the more levels we improve. Overdosing will always get setbacks, but if we track symptoms and triggers we can find out what it was and dose down for a while and work on adjusting something else. It'll only work with patience and diligent staying power of self-care.
If I had to stay stuck in the mud, I'm sure I'd find many ways of accepting that and being happy, but that same will power helps me keep getting out of (too much of) it.
 
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sunkacola

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@fsgregs1 : It seems to me that you are pretty focused on trying to find the one thing that will quickly make you a very great deal better. This is understandable, as most of us started there. I sure did. But the thing is that there is no such thing. Sorry, there just isn't! And the more time and energy you spend trying to find that magic thing which doesn't exist the longer you will continue to feel as bad as you do, without even trying to find things that would help.

You say a 10 or 20% difference wouldn't help. How do you know this, if you have not actually had a 20% improvement from where you are right now?

An improvement that size can be huge! Not to mention, if you start changing things and get that much improvement it is the best possible motivator for you to keep trying whatever thing you are doing to see if there will be more improvement....which there probably would be. It would be good for you to take our word for this, as we speak from experience and have your best interests at heart.

I train dogs. sometimes a person comes to me with a problem they have had with their dog for many years and they want me to be able to suddenly fix it, in a day or a week. It isn't going to happen. but, if that person works with me and with the dog in the right way, trying another approach if the first one didn't work well but being persistent, over time things will improve a little bit, then more, and eventually (although not on the rapid timetable that the owner originally demanded) the problem can be solved completely. Then it has to be maintained. The person who won't put in the work, is impatient, or who doesn't maintain the training, will have an ongoing problem that they could have fixed.

I started out with fibro pain that was debilitating. One doc told me I had to exercise, and so on, and I kept saying "I can't, it hurts too much". Until finally one day I said to myself, how do I know I can't if I don't even try? So I started trying things, including exercise, changes in my diet, and very importantly changes in my self-defeating thinking, and even though there was no dramatic improvement I kept at it. And it was not sudden or magic, but these days I live a pretty normal life as long as I maintain all the things I have developed for myself that work for me.

Not trying anything ensures that no progress will be made. That is a guarantee of continued problems. Trying things and being persistent in that effort will yield results. How much? You won't know unless you try. If the only thing you are willing to do is keep seeking a magic pill or potion to take that will cause a miracle to happen, then you are defeating yourself. You can do better.

And by the way, @cookiebaker is right that just because you ate something your whole life doesn't mean that it is good for the body you have right now. It wouldn't hurt just to try changes. If you want something new to happen in your life and body, you have to be willing to try doing something new in how you manage your physical health.
 
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