Fibromyalgia is a condition that includes widespread pain and tenderness in the body. Nobody knows why it happens, but there are other conditions that happen to co-exist such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, a viral illness, trauma (physical and emotional), mood disorders or previous pain syndromes.

Symptoms are:

  • increased sensitivity to pain due to a decreased pain threshold
  • increased responsiveness to heat, cold, light
  • numbness or tingling in arms and legs
  • extreme fatigue
  • problems with memory and poor concentration
  • difficulty with sleeping
  • irritable bowel syndrome or headaches

Patients will usually be under the care of multiple practitioners and attend a chronic pain clinic. The management of fibromyalgia will be an umbrella of education, rest, exercise, stress reduction strategies, diet, medication and can also include osteopathic treatment.

Osteopathy can be helpful in decreasing the pain that patients experience and improve mobility and quality of life.

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Castro-Sánchez AM, Matarán-Peñarrocha GA, Arroyo-Morales M, Saavedra-Hernández M, Fernández-Sola C, Moreno-Lorenzo C.

Published in the Clin Rehabil Sep;25(9):800-13 2011

Craniosacral therapy improved medium-term pain symptoms in patients with fibromyalgia.

Gamber RG, Shores JH, Russo DP, Jimenez C, Rubin BR

Published in the J Am Osteopath Assoc Jun;102(6):321-5 2002

Significant findings between the four treatment groups on measures of pain threshold, perceived pain, attitude toward treatment, activities of daily living, and perceived functional ability were found. All of these findings favored use of OMT. This study found OMT combined with standard medical care was more efficacious in treating FM than standard care alone. These findings need to be replicated to determine if cost savings are incurred when treatments for FM incorporate nonpharmacologic approaches such as OMT.

Degenhardt BF, Darmani NA, Johnson JC, Towns LC, Rhodes DC, Trinh C, McClanahan B, DiMarzo V.

Published in J Am Osteopath Assoc Sep;107(9):387-400 2007

Concentrations of several circulatory pain biomarkers were altered after OMT. The degree and duration of these changes were greater in subjects with chronic LBP than in control subjects without the disorder.