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Complementary and Alternative Medical Therapies in Fibromyalgia

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This article describes the studies that have been performed evaluating complementary or alternative medical (CAM) therapies for efficacy and some adverse events fibromyalgia (FM). There is no permanent cure for FM; therefore, adequate symptom control should be goal of treatment. Clinicians can choose from a variety of pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic modalities. Unfortunately, controlled studies of most current treatments have failed to demonstrate sustained, clinically significant responses. CAM has gained increasing popularity, particularly among individuals with FM for which traditional medicine has generally been ineffective. Some herbal and nutritional supplements (magnesium, Sadenosylmethionine) and massage therapy have the best evidence for effectiveness with FM. Other CAM therapies such as chlorella, biofeedback, relaxation have either been evaluated in only one randomised controlled trials (RCT) with positive results, in multiple RCTs with mixed results (magnet therapies) or have positive results from studies with methodological flaws (homeopathy, botanical oils, balneotherapy, anthocyanidins and dietary modifications). Another CAM therapy such as chiropractic care has neither well-designed studies nor positive results and is not currently recommended for FM treatment. Once CAM therapies have been better evaluated for safety and long-term efficacy in randomised, placebo-controlled trials, they may prove to be beneficial in treatments for FM. It would then be important to assess studies assessing cost-benefit analyses comparing conventional therapies and CAM.
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Keywords: Complementary or alternative medical therapies; Fibromyalgia; Manipulative techniques; Nutritional and Herbal supplementation; cold and heat therapy

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Medical Faculty, Dicle University, 21280 Diyarbakir, Turkey.

Publication date: January 1, 2006

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