A wide variety of non-medicinal therapeutic modalities have been employed in an effort to alleviate the symptoms of fibromyalgia 51. While many fibromyalgia patients may respond to one or more of these treatments, few controlled studies have been performed to establish their efficacy.

One therapy that has been studied and found to be effective for fibromyalgia patients is EMG-biofeedback training.

  • In one study it was found that 9 of 15 fibromyalgia patients had decreased tender point scores, pain intensity and morning stiffness after 15 EMG-biofeedback sessions over a 5-week period. These improvements lasted up to 6 months after the study was completed 51.
  • A subsequent study comparing EMG-biofeedback versus sham biofeedback again found significant improvement for fibromyalgia patients 50.

A summary of treatments that are sometimes used to treat fibromyalgia and may or may not be effective, but have not been determined to be effective (such as in clinical trials) include:

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  • Transcutaneous nerve stimulation
  • Interferential current stimulation
  • Acupuncture analgesia
  • Local injection of tender points
  • Postisometric relaxation
  • Ice/heat range-of-motion exercises
  • Laser therapy
  • Massage
  • Hypnosis
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
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Counter irritant treatment approaches are also sometimes used in treatment of fibromyalgia. These modalities may include therapeutic heat, cryotherapy, and TENS to inhibit pain at the spinal level.

In summary, fibromyalgia is a common, non-progressive musculoskeletal disorder seen in millions of people, mostly women. It is characterized by diffuse muscular fatigue, soreness, pain and unrefreshing sleep. Fibromyalgia can be successfully managed with a program of aerobic exercise, medications and sleep hygiene.