NCCAM Clinical Digest
National Institutes of Health • National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
The NCCAM Clinical Digest is a monthly e-newsletter that summarizes the state of the science on complementary health practices and a health condition (diabetes, cancer, sleep disorders, etc.)—clinical guidelines, literature searches, research highlights, and information for patients.
In each issue, you'll find evidence-based information for several complementary health practices used for the highlighted condition.
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Fibromyalgia syndrome is a common and chronic disorder characterized by widespread pain, diffuse tenderness, fatigue, and a number of other symptoms that can interfere with a person’s ability to carry out daily activities. It is estimated that fibromyalgia affects 5 million American adults. Most people with fibromyalgia—between 80 and 90 percent—are women. However, men and children also can have the disorder, which is often associated with other syndromes. The causes of fibromyalgia are unknown, but there are probably a number of factors involved. Recently, researchers have focused on abnormalities in processing of pain by the central nervous system.
Fibromyalgia can be difficult to diagnose and treat. Current diagnostic criteria are available from the American College of Rheumatology. Treatment often involves an individualized approach that may include both pharmacologic therapies (prescription drugs, analgesics, and NSAIDs) and nonpharmacologic interventions such as exercise, muscle strength training, cognitive behavioral therapy, movement/body awareness practices, massage, acupuncture, and balneotherapy.
This issue of the digest provides a summary of the science of several complementary mind and body approaches often included in treatment of fibromyalgia symptoms.