Complementary and alternative therapies for pain and stress management aren't new. Some, such as meditation and yoga, have been practiced for thousands of years. But their use has become more popular in recent years, especially with people who have chronic illnesses, such as fibromyalgia.
Several of these treatments do appear to safely relieve stress and reduce pain, and some are gaining acceptance in mainstream medicine. But many practices remain unproved because they haven't been adequately studied.
Feb. 20, 2014
- Acupuncture. Acupuncture is a Chinese medical system based on restoring normal balance of life forces by inserting very fine needles through the skin to various depths. According to Western theories of acupuncture, the needles cause changes in blood flow and levels of neurotransmitters in the brain and spinal cord. Some studies indicate that acupuncture helps relieve fibromyalgia symptoms, while others show no benefit.
- Massage therapy. This is one of the oldest methods of health care still in practice. It involves use of different manipulative techniques to move your body's muscles and soft tissues. Massage can reduce your heart rate, relax your muscles, improve range of motion in your joints and increase production of your body's natural painkillers. It often helps relieve stress and anxiety.
- Yoga and tai chi. These practices combine meditation, slow movements, deep breathing and relaxation. Both have been found to be helpful in controlling fibromyalgia symptoms.
- Fibromyalgia. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Fibromyalgia/default.asp. Accessed Aug. 19, 2013.
- Clauw DJ, et al. The science of fibromyalgia. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 2011;86:907.
- Arnold LM, et al. A framework for fibromyalgia management for primary care providers. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 2012;87:488.
- Goldenberg DL. Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of fibromyalgia in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 19, 2013.
- AskMayoExpert. Fibromyalgia and myofascial pain. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2013.
- Vincent A, et al. Prevalence of fibromyalgia: A population-based study in Olmsted County, Minnesota, utilizing the Rochester Epidemiology Project. Arthritis Care & Research. 2013;65:786.
- Goldenberg DL. Pathogenesis of fibromyalgia. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 19, 2013.
- Goldenberg DL. Treatment of fibromyalgia in adults not responsive to initial therapies. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 19, 2013.
- Crofford LJ. Adverse effects of chronic opiod therapy for chronic musculoskeletal pain. Nature Reviews Rheumatology. 2010;6:191.
- Fibromyalgia and complementary health approaches. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/pain/fibromyalgia.htm. Accessed Aug. 19, 2013.
You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.