Does Cymbalta help back pain? (+7 alternatives)

In this article, we will discuss the role of Cymbalta in the management of back pain. We will also discuss the research studies suggesting a potential link between the use of Cymbalta and the reduction of back pain. Additionally, we will discuss the alternatives to Cymbalta for treating back pain, if Cymbalta proves to be ineffective. 

Does Cymbalta help back pain?

Yes, Cymbalta does help with back pain. It is frequently prescribed in the management of chronic back pain and other conditions such as joint pain and muscle pain. 

Cymbalta is an antidepressant medication that belongs to the class of serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors. It is indicated for the treatment of various health conditions such as depression, anxiety, fibromyalgia, and chronic pain. While it is considered a well-tolerated medication, it may cause some side effects in susceptible individuals (1). 

The side effects associated with the use of Cymbalta may include, fatigue, vomiting, drowsiness, and appetite changes (1). 

What is the dosage of Cymbalta for back pain?

The dosage for managing back pain with Cymbalta typically ranges from 60 to 120mg. The specific dosage may vary based on individual factors and the severity of pain. However, a lower incidence of side effects is associated with lower doses compared to higher ones.

Additionally, the duration of treatment varies from one individual to another, but research suggests that symptoms may start improving after 2 weeks of treatment. The treatment can be continued for a few months to a year, depending on the improvement of symptoms (2).

What does research suggest?

According to research findings, Cymbalta has been identified as an effective option for managing lower back pain. In a research study specifically targeting chronic back pain, a daily dosage of 60 mg of Cymbalta was administered.

The results demonstrated the effectiveness of this medication in alleviating symptoms associated with chronic back pain. However, it’s noteworthy that the incidence of side effects was reported to be higher when the dosage was increased to 120 mg in the subsequent study (3).

In another research study, the utilization of Cymbalta at a dosage of 60 mg for the management of chronic back pain was sustained over a period of 3 months. The findings revealed a noteworthy outcome, with more than 49% of participants experiencing a significant reduction in pain (4).

What to do if Cymbalta fails to manage back pain?

If you suspect that your symptoms are not improving or if Cymbalta fails to effectively manage your back pain, it is crucial to consult with your healthcare provider. They can assess your condition and determine the reasons for treatment failure.

If the lower dosage of Cymbalta proves ineffective in managing your pain, your healthcare provider may gradually increase the dosage to find an optimum level suitable for your needs.

However, it’s important to note that higher dosages of Cymbalta are more likely to cause side effects in some individuals. Therefore, the decision to increase the dosage should be based on an overall assessment of an individual’s health.

Moreover, in the presence of certain underlying risk factors such as hypersensitivity to Cymbalta or liver diseases, your healthcare provider may recommend an alternative medication to manage your back pain.

Always discuss your symptoms with your healthcare provider to ensure the most appropriate and effective course of treatment.

What are the alternatives to Cymbalta for back pain?

If Cymbalta proves ineffective in managing your back pain, your healthcare provider may offer alternative medications based on the severity of your symptoms. Potential alternatives to Cymbalta for alleviating back pain include:

  • amitriptyline
  • gabapentin
  • milnacipran
  • corticosteroids
  • cyclobenzaprine
  • oxycodone
  • naproxen

However, it’s crucial to recognize that each of these medications may have specific side effects that can vary among individuals. The selection of an appropriate medication should be made under the guidance and supervision of your healthcare provider. They will consider your individual health profile, the nature of your back pain, and the side effects of each medication. 

In my opinion, Cymbalta is considered a good choice for managing back pain in clinical settings. It’s important to acknowledge the individualized nature of medical treatment, as the selection of a medication should be based on individual conditions. This personalized approach ensures the safety and efficacy of the treatment plan according to your unique needs.

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Dhaliwal JS, Spurling BC, Molla M. Duloxetine. [Updated 2023 May 29]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from:


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Hirase T, Hirase J, Ling J, Kuo PH, Hernandez GA, Giwa K, Marco R. Duloxetine for the Treatment of Chronic Low Back Pain: A Systematic Review of Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trials. Cureus. 2021 May 22;13(5):e15169. doi: 10.7759/cureus.15169. PMID: 34046287; PMCID: PMC8140818.


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