Pharmaceuticals and their side effects: You have other choices!

When I first started experiencing Fibromyalgia symptoms, after the birth of my second son, I thought for sure I had a debilitating disease that would (based on the pain level) mostly certainly cause death. I could barely get out of bed in the morning, had terrible difficulty taking care of my newborn son and going to work was more than just difficult, it was almost impossible. I am sure everyone thought it was all in my head because no one could diagnose my problem: Fibromyalgia has no outside physical symptoms and cannot be seen on x-rays. But just because no one could figure out what was causing my excruciating joint and muscle pain did not mean that I was a Hypochondriac, it just meant that I didn’t have a diagnosis. After countless hours of research, I KNEW I had Fibromyalgia.

Once I saw a Rheumatologist, who finally diagnosed me with Fibromyalgia, he proceeded to write out a prescription for four pharmaceutical drugs consisting of:

  1. A muscle relaxer;
  2. An anti-inflammatory;
  3. A pain killer; and
  4. A low dose anti-depressant.

At the time I was breastfeeding my son and politely declined the prescriptions. I asked what my options were and the doctor handed me a pamphlet about Fibromyalgia and said “You will need to exercise every day and research other people with Fibro to determine how you will be able to find some relief,” and then sent me on my way. When researching Fibro treatments, the No. 1 treatment is “take your medicine as prescribed.” (National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, 2011.)  Yes, my Rheumatologist diagnosed me, and that was a relief, but the only real treatment he could offer me, besides “exercise daily” was pharmaceutical drugs. Even if I wasn’t breastfeeding, I wouldn’t have been interested in masking my symptoms with drugs or dealing with side effects of the drugs. The whole pharmaceutical package I was offered was a vicious circle of taking a drug to stop one problem, while causing another problem, which would require yet another drug. This is what many people face every day of their lives because they don’t know where else to turn.

After months of research and talking to everyone I knew about their knowledge of Fibromyalgia, I started to put the data together. Here is a list of my supplementation plan:

Here is a list of my exercise program:

  • I currently take two yoga classes per week (one for strength building and 1 for stretching and relaxation),
  • I attend one TRX personal training class,
  • and I work out in the gym alternating cardio and weight bearing exercises most other days,
  • I also power walk/jog whenever I can and my mini trampoline is one of my best friends.

I attend a community acupuncture session and get a full body, deep tissue massage, both about once per month and I see my chiropractor for regular adjustments and physical therapy when needed. Also, I spend a great deal of time and money on eating a well-balanced diet, with as much organic, all natural ingredients as possible. I avoid ingredients, as much as possible, known to cause a variety of problems including impairing the immune system, such as:

  • high fructose corn syrup;
  • hydrogenated oils;
  • GMO “frankenfood”;
  • artificial colors,
  • artificial flavors,
  • and preservatives.

I eat homemade food as much as possible and whatever pre-prepared food I eat, I make attempts to see the ingredients list before I eat it. Sometimes a little “bad” food is inevitable, but I try to keep it down to a very bare minimum.  I have even recently started avoiding gluten as much as possible because current research is showing that gluten has inflammatory properties which certainly exacerbate IBS; but may also cause further problems with Fibromyalgia.

The point is that I was not a hypochondriac, I did have a real problem, but the only way a doctor knew how to treat me was with pharmaceuticals, which come with side effects. I knew there had to be a better way to treat myself. So after proper research to find the right lifestyle to include daily exercise, proper nutrition and supplements, and utilizing things like yoga, meditation and deep breathing to keep my stress levels down: I am one of the few people who live with low levels of pain/discomfort from Fibromyalgia. Yes, maybe good genes helped me to bounce back but bad genes gave me Fibro in the first place.

Here are some alarming statistics regarding Fibromyalgia:

  • More than 5 million people suffer from Fibromyalgia and approximately 80-90 percent are women. (National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, 2011.)
  • Approximately 25 percent of all people with fibromyalgia are receiving disability payments. (Yu, 2006.) Millions of others simply live with debilitating pain on a daily basis and have no other alternative to pharmaceutical drugs.

I believe this is because Fibro sufferers have not been properly educated or have not researched to find a treatment plan that includes proper diet, nutrition, exercise, supplements and stress reducing techniques.

As proven by the Centenarians (those who live 100 years or longer), the key to longevity is a healthy lifestyle. Common themes among those who live over 100 years include eating a nutritious diet with mostly fresh fruits, vegetables and a small amount of protein of fish, chicken or pork (Sigelman and Rider, pg. 556, 2012.); regular exercise and limiting or avoiding things like smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol. (Sigelman and Rider, pg. 355, 2012.) Continually challenging our bodies AND minds is also an important factor.

If we want to live to 100 or even just live a long and healthy life, with as little pain as possible, it seems apparent by the data I have presented here that diet, nutrition, supplements, stress reduction and exercise are very important factors. I am living proof that these things really do matter and if I did not put sufficient effort into these important factors, I could easily be overweight, unhealthy, stressed out and perhaps disabled. Paying close attention to my diet, nutrition, supplementation, low stress levels and exercise has given me a lifestyle (and yearly checkup) that is closer to a healthy athlete than a 47 year old woman with Fibromyalgia, Tendonitis and IBS.

I do not have to guess whether these factors make a difference in my life…I know they do.

Do you have a story about your plight with a health issue that you worked through to overcome without pharmaceuticals? Please share your story! Also, if you have any comments to share, please leave a comment, I would appreciate it!



American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: Text revision. (Rev. 4th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

BarbaraA. (2013.) What are the benefits of Arnica? Retrieved from:

Global Healing (2014.) The Health Benefits of Omega 3, 6, 9 Fatty Acids and EPA & DHA.   Retrieved from:

Meininger, Kathryn. (2013.) Glucosamine & Health Benefits. Retrieved from: (2015.) Fibromyalgia Tea. Online Store. Retrieved from:

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. (2011.) What Is Fibromyalgia? Fast Facts: An Easy-to-Read Series of Publications for the Public Retrieved from:

Rogers, Joshua. (2015.) Health Benefits of Valerian Root. Natural Alternative Retrieved from:

Rogers, Joshua. (2015.) 10 Health Benefits Of Evening Primrose Oil. Natural Alternative Retrieved from:

Sigelman, Carol K. and Rider, Elizabeth A. (2012). Life Span: Human Development, 7th ed.) Belmont, California: Wadsworth.

Stibich, Mark. (2014.) Turmeric – Anti-Aging Miracle Spice? Health Benefits of Turmeric. Retrieved from

Suszynski, Marie. (2015.) Arthritis and Vitamin D: What’s the Connection? Everyday Health.Com. Retrieved from

Taylor, Shelley E. (2012) Health Psychology, 8th Ed.) Los Angeles, California: McGraw Hill.

The Alternative (2014.) Fact or Fallacy: Do Gin-Soaked Raisins Really Work to Alleviate Pain? The Alternative Daily. Retrieved from: (2015.) Find a Vitamin or Supplement: Angelica. Web MD. Retrieved from: (2015.) Find a Vitamin or Supplement: Magnesium. Web MD. Retrieved from: (2015.) Find a Vitamin or Supplement: St. John’s Wort. Web MD. Retrieved from: http:/

Yu, Winnie. (2006.) If You Become Disabled. Netplaces. Com. Retrieved from (2015.) Rainbow Light Menopause One Multi-vitamin. Retrieved from:


2 thoughts on “Pharmaceuticals and their side effects: You have other choices!

  1. I have fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. I tried the natural way like you have done and it just didn’t work for me. Then I gave in and took some strong painkillers. Despite months of healthy lifestyle then some strong painkillers, I was still screaming out in pain. I now do a mix of pharmaceuticals and supplements and healthy eating. I think different things work best for different people. However, doctors should be able to give all the treatment options, not just pharmaceuticals.


  2. I did not think your blog was that long actually! Your blog is probably below the average length of online articles I read! I found your blog very informative. I have had to take pharmaceuticals for problems I had before but not really physically related. I eventually got to point where I no longer needed them and quit taking them. I always hated taking any kind of pill or anything. I tried to solve my issues as soon as possible to not have to use them. I really do not like using them at all. I avoid simple medicine like Aspirin or Tylenol at all costs. I try to let the body heal itself whenever possible. The only exceptions are tooth pain from tooth operations like getting wisdom teeth taken out. The pharmaceuticals I had to take were nothing heavy, but any kind of pharmaceutical makes you feel different. I think Yoga is a great suggestion for all people because it makes the body feel better. I do it a few times a week just to release some tension from my body.
    On the subject of doctors they do not always know what to diagnose. My mother has bad health issues and many of them had no idea what caused her problems or what to classify it as. We saw many doctors, but they all seem confounded. It really seems there is no cure. It all started when she broke her back and she progressively got worse. They say it is multiple sclerosis and it took them years to figure that out. She is paralyzed as well. She has it severe and the symptoms did not really show until about a decade later. Even then I am unsure that is what she has. Some of the symptoms do not line up and only the worst symptoms are a part of it.
    The blog has great content. I have to nitpick to find any suggestions. I would suggest maybe posting more pictures to liven up your post or even a video. The healthy food part of your post made me think what kind of healthy alternatives do you make or eat? The links put into the blog are fantastic though and give readers a way to find the stuff you list. The organization of the blog was great too.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s