In response to the story regarding Cymbalta for back pain, I have been suffering from moderate to severe back pain and sciatica for the past 5 years after herniating a disc at L5/S1. My primary care doctor referred me to a pain management doctor for ongoing treatment as I have declined any surgical options at this time.
I am on the "normal" Norco and Ultram for the pain and have tried Gabapentin, Lyrica and finally started on Cymbalta to assist in the daily therapy, as well as to treat the numbness in my legs and feet. Gabapentin did not help or hurt. Lyrica worked well, but made me angry and crave sweets. I gained 14 lbs in 6 months of therapy. I have also been on Elavil, low dose, for chronic headache after a brain injury 8 years ago.
My pain doctor finally suggested Cymbalta the first of September this year. We discussed the pros and cons, so I felt I made an informed decision. Plus I read a lot about it after leaving the doctor's office. It was a bit difficult getting used to the feeling on the drug. My doctor started me on gradual dose of 30mg, increasing to 60mg after 7 days of initial therapy.
I have noticed a marked decrease in my overall pain and have decreased my pain medication by about half. The biggest impact has been with regard to the constant numbness and tingling in my legs. That is virtually gone. I feel the risk/benefit is there for me personally. I do, however, want to have periodic blood work done to make sure that all my organs are working properly. Side effects have been minimal and relatively easy to deal with. There has been some insomnia and occasional mild balance problems. I do also miss the occasional cocktail with friends or family. My doctor is very firm on patients under her care not drinking while on these medications. But again, the tradeoff is worth it.