Newsletter: Fibromyalgia excerpts--Jul 2015

Michelle Burns
July 17, 2015


Here is some of the information I recently shared in my June newsletter. Each newsletter has a specific focus.  This month is focused on fibromyalgia information. If you would be interested in receiving my newsletter, please head over to my contact page and sign up.


 1. For some interesting history on the condition, check out this article from the British Medical Journal by R. Ackerley, Massage in Fibrositis and Other Painful Conditions, August 30, 1913.
 2. Some researchers have begun classifying Fibromyalgia patients into subgroups based on symptoms.
  • Type 1: high levels of pain and severe mental and physical impairment
  • Type 2: high levels of pain and several physical impairments
  • Type 3: moderate levels of pain and high levels of mental impairment
  • Type 4: moderate levels of pain and moderate levels of mental and physical impairment
  • Type 5: Similar to the general population

3.  Following a post-market Phase 4 study evaluating LYRICA’s effectiveness as a treatment for fibromyalgia in adolescents, it has been determined that Lyrica is ineffective as a treatment in this population.

 4.  The Social Security Administration will award SSD for a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia if specific criteria are met. An excellent article detailing the criteria can be found at JDSupra Business Advisor.

 5.  A study, published in Pain Medicine, found those patients with fibromyalgia who smoked had higher pain levels and depression.

 6.  A study, titled Oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction and, inflammation common events in skin of patients with Fibromyalgia, found an inflammatory process in the skin which might be damaging the unmyelinated peripheral nerves leading to allodynia.
    2.  Walking found to be an effective form of exercise for individuals with chronic musculoskeletal pain.
    3. A study, Fibromyalgia pain and substance P decrease and sleep improves after massage therapy, found 30-minute massages twice a week for 5 weeks improved the number of sleep hours and decreased sleep movement, decreased anxiety and depression, and a decrease in pain and substance P.
On the Massage front:
    1. A study, Comparison of Manual Lymph Drainage Therapy and Connective Tissue Massage in Women with Fibromyalgia: A Randomized Controlled Trial, found both therapies to be effective, but Manual Lymphatic drainage afforded more types of relief.
    2.  An article, titled Massage Therapy for Fibromyalgia symptoms, is a meta-analysis of all studies published to that date. The results indicate massage may provide short-term benefits but only one showed long-term benefit, although methodological problems were found with all the studies.

3.  A  pilot study titled A Pilot study of myofascial release therapy compared to Swedish massage in fibromyalgia, found myofascial release to be superior in pain reduction in the neck and upper back.

4.  A more recent meta-analysis (Effectiveness of different style of massage therapy in fibromyalgia: a systematic review and meta-analysis)  found a wide variety of bodywork techniques to provide varying benefits:

  • Myofascial release had large, positive effects on pain and medium effects on anxiety and depression, improved fatigue, stiffness and quality of life
  • Connective tissue massage improved depression and quality of life
  • Manual lymphatic drainage is superior to connective tissue massage regarding stiffness, depression, and quality of life
  • Shiatsu improved pain, pressure pain threshold, fatigue, sleep and quality of life
  • Swedish massage did not improve outcomes.
On the Alternative and Complementary medical front:
    1. Basil Essential Oil found to have an analgesic effect on mice with fibromyalgia. The study, titled Cyclodextrin-complexed Ocimum basilica leaves essential oil increases Fos Protein Expression in the Central Nervous System and Produce an Antihyperalgesic Effect in Animal Models for Fibromyalgia is summarized on ProHealth.
    2.  A new trial, begun in January of 2015, will look at 52 weeks of results comparing the effectiveness of Tai chi and aerobic exercise for fibromyalgia improvement.  The trial is taking place in Boston, Massachusetts, and should include 216 patients and they will be randomized into 4 separate groups. The study is presented in Trials, Jan 2015 titled A Novel comparative effectiveness study of Tai Chi versus aerobic exercise for fibromyalgia: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. 
    3. A study out of Egypt, The addition of upper cervical manipulative therapy in the treatment of patients with fibromyalgia: a randomized controlled trial,  found improvement with chiropractic cervical care.
    4.  An article titled Nutrition Breakthroughs: Study on Fibromyalgia Calcium Deficiency found many of the symptoms of calcium deficiency match symptoms of  Fibromyalgia and that supplementing calcium and magnesium helped reduce some of the symptoms.

5.  Hyperbaric oxygen chamber therapy has shown a positive effect in, not only treatment of the symptoms of fibromyalgia, but also in reversing abnormal pain-related brain activity.

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