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Related Terms

  • Fibrositis
  • Fibromyositis
  • Myofascial Pain Syndrome
  • Myofibrositis
  • Primary Fibromyalgia Syndrome

Fibromyalgia is a disorder that causes widespread pain in the body. It also causes poor sleep and fatigue. These symptoms can make it hard to do daily tasks. The cause is not known.

It is treated by controlling symptoms. This is done using therapy, lifestyle changes, and medicine. Some people look to natural therapies to further ease pain.

Natural Therapies

Likely Effective

  • Acupuncture uses fine needs on specific body parts to ease fibromyalgia pain. A1-A8

May Be Effective

Mind/body therapies that may be effective include:

Supplements that may be effective are:

Other therapies that may be effective are:

  • Balneotherapy treats fibromyalgia pain with bath treatments. B1-B5 (Note: Balneotherapy may use excessive heat. This may be harmful to certain people.)
  • Brain stimulation uses electricity to regulate abnormal brain impulses. C1-C4
  • Capsaicin is the burning heat that comes from chili peppers. H1
  • Magnet therapy places magnets on the body to relieve pain. D1
  • Manual therapy treats pain by manipulating joints and tissue. Chiropractic care is one example. E1-E4
  • Massage therapy manipulates soft tissues to ease pain. F1-F3

Unlikely to Be Effective

  • Cannabinoids are chemical compounds from marijuana. I1, I5, I6 (Note: Cannabinoids may weaken the immune system.)

Not Enough Data to Assess

  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) H2
  • Thermal therapy H3

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Herbs and Supplements to Be Used With Caution

Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some may get in the way of treatment. They can also make illness worse or cause new problems. Examples include:

  • Balneotherapy may use excessive heat. This may be harmful to pregnant women, people with heart or other medical conditions, and people under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Cannabinoids may weaken the immune system. This might make it harder for your body to fight infections.

References

Acupuncture

REFA1 Langhorst J, Klose P, et al. Efficacy of acupuncture in fibromyalgia syndrome--a systematic review with a meta-analysis of controlled clinical trials. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2010 Apr;49(4):778-788.

REFA2 Deare JC, Zheng Z, et al. Acupuncture for treating fibromyalgia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 May 31;(5):CD007070.

REFA3 Weber A, Werneck L, et al. Effects of music in combination with vibration in acupuncture points on the treatment of fibromyalgia. J Altern Complement Med. 2015 Feb;21(2):77-82.

REFA4 Vas J, Santos-Rey K, Navarro-Pablo R, et al. Acupuncture for fibromyalgia in primary care: a randomised controlled trial. Acupunct Med. 2016;34(4):257-266.

REFA5 Ugurlu FG, Sezer N, et al. The effects of acupuncture versus sham acupuncture in the treatment of fibromyalgia: a randomized controlled clinical trial. Acta Reumatol Port. 2017 Jan-Mar;42(1):32-37.

REFA6 Perry R, Leach V, et al. An overview of systematic reviews of complementary and alternative therapies for fibromyalgia using both AMSTAR and ROBIS as quality assessment tools. Syst Rev. 2017 May 15;6(1):97.

REFA7 Li X, Wang R, et al. Acupuncture for Myofascial Pain Syndrome: A Network Meta-Analysis of 33 Randomized Controlled Trials. Pain Physician. 2017 Sep;20(6):E883-E902.

REFA8 Karatay S, Okur SC, et al. Effects of Acupuncture Treatment on Fibromyalgia Symptoms, Serotonin, and Substance P Levels: A Randomized Sham and Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial. Pain Med. 2018 Mar 1;19(3):615-628.

REFB Balneotherapy

REFB1 Falagas ME, Zarkadoulia E, et al. The therapeutic effect of balneotherapy: evaluation of the evidence from randomised controlled trials. Int J Clin Pract. 2009 Jul;63(7):1068-1084.

REFB2 Langhorst J, Musial F, et al. Efficacy of hydrotherapy in fibromyalgia syndrome—a meta-analysis of randomized controlled clinical trials. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2009 Sep;48(9):1155-1159.

REFB3 Baranowsky J, Klose P, et al. Qualitative systemic review of randomized controlled trials on complementary and alternative medicine treatments in fibromyalgia. Rheumatol Int. 2009 Nov;30(1):1-21.

REFB4 Terhorst L, Schneider MJ, et al. Complementary and alternative medicine in the treatment of pain in fibromyalgia: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2011 Sep; 34(7):483-496.

REFB5 Fraioli A, Grassi M, et al. Clinical researches on the efficacy of spa therapy in fibromyalgia. A systematic review. Annals Ist Super Sanita. 2013; 49(2):219-229.

REFB6 Naumann J, Sadaghiani C. Therapeutic benefit of balneotherapy and hydrotherapy in the management of fibromyalgia syndrome: a qualitative systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Arthritis Res Ther. 2014 Jul 7;16(4):R141.

REFB7 Koçyiğit BF, Gür A, et al. Comparison of education and balneotherapy efficacy in patients with fibromyalgia syndrome: A randomized, controlled clinical study. Agri. 2016 Apr;28(2):72-78.

REFB8 Fioravanti A, Manica P, et al. Is balneotherapy effective for fibromyalgia? Results from a 6-month double-blind randomized clinical trial. Clin Rheumatol. 2018 Aug;37(8):2203-2212.

REFC Brain stimulation

REFC1 Sutbeyaz ST, Sezer N, et al. Low-frequency pulsed electromagnetic field therapy in fibromyalgia: a randomized, double-blind, sham-controlled clinical study. Clin J Pain. 2009 Oct;25(8):722-728.

REFC2 Hou WH, Wang TY, et al. The effects of add-on non-invasive brain stimulation in fibromyalgia: a meta-analysis and meta-regression of randomized controlled trials. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2016 Aug;55(8):1507-1517.

REFC3 Shekelle PG, Cook IA, et al. Benefits and harms of cranial electrical stimulation for chronic painful conditions, depression, anxiety, and insomnia: a systematic review. Ann Intern med. 2018 Mar 20;168(6):414-421.

REFC4 O’Connell NE, Marston L, et al. Non-invasive brain stimulation techniques for chronic pain. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018 Apr 13;4:CD008208.

REFD Magnet therapy

REFD1 Baranowsky J, Klose P, et al. Qualitative systemic review of randomized controlled trials on complementary and alternative medicine treatments in fibromyalgia. Rheumatol Int. 2009 Nov;30(1):1-21.

REFE Manual therapy

REFE1 Castro-Sánchez AM, Matarán-Peñarrocha GA, et al. A randomized controlled trial investigating the effects of craniosacral therapy on pain and heart rate variability in fibromyalgia patients. Clin Rehabil. 2011;25(1):25-35.

REFE2 Castro-Sánchez AM, Matarán-Peñarrocha GA, et al. Effects of myofascial release techniques on pain, physical function, and postural stability in patients with fibromyalgia: a randomized controlled trial. Clin Rehabil. 2011;25(9):800-813.

REFE3 Laimi K, Mäkilä A, et al. Effectiveness of myofascial release in treatment of chronic musculoskeletal pain: a systematic review. Clin Rehabil. 2018 Apr;32(4):440-450.

REFF Massage therapy

REFF1 Li YH, Wang FY, et al. Massage therapy for fibromyalgia: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. PLoS One. 2014 Feb 20;9(2):e89304.

REFF2 Yuan SL, Matsutani LA, et al. Effectiveness of different styles of massage therapy in fibromyalgia: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Man Ther. 2015 Apr;20(2):257-264.

REFF3 Bervoets DC, Luijsterburg PA, et al. Massage therapy has short-term benefits for people with common musculoskeletal disorders compared to no treatment: a systematic review. J Physiother. 2015 Jul;61(3):106-116.

REFG Mind/Body Therapies

REFG1 Wang C, Schmid CH, et al. A randomized trial of tai chi for fibromyalgia. N Engl J Med. 2010 Aug 19;363(8):743-754.

REFG2 Carson JW, Carson KM, et al. A pilot randomized controlled trial of the Yoga of Awareness program in the management of fibromyalgia. Pain. 2010 Nov;151(2):530-539.

REFG3 Bernardy K, Fuber N, et al. Efficacy of hypnosis/guided imagery in fibromyalgia syndrome—a systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled trials. BMC Musculoskeletal Disord. 2011 Jun 15;12:133.

REFG4 Posadzki P, Ernst E. Guided imagery for musculoskeletal pain: a systematic review. Clin J Pain. 2011 Sep;27(7):648-653.

REFG5 Langhorst J, Klose P, et al. Efficacy and safety of meditative movement therapies in fibromyalgia syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Rheumatol Int. 2013 Jan;33(1):193-207.

REFG6 Jones KD, Sherman CA, et al. A randomized controlled trial of 8-form Tai chi improves symptoms and functional mobility in fibromyalgia patients. Clin Rheumatol. 2012 Aug;31(8):1205-1214.

REFG7 Picard P, Jusseaume C, et al. Hypnosis for management of fibromyalgia. Int J Clin Exp Hypn. 2013;61(1):111-123.

REFG8 Langhorst J, Klose P, et al. Efficacy and safety of meditative movement therapies in fibromyalgia syndrome: a systematic reivew and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Rheumatol Int. 2013 Jan;33(1):193-207.

REFG9 Cramer H, Lauche R, et al. Yoga for rheumatic diseases: a systematic review. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2013 Nov;52(11):2025-2030.

REFG10 Meeus M, Nijs J, et al. The effect of relaxation therapy on autonomic functioning, symptoms and daily functioning, in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia: a systematic review. Clin Rehabil. 2015 Mar;29(3):221-233.

REFG11 Theadom A, Cropley M, et al. Mind and body therapy for fibromyalgia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015 Apr 9;(4):CD001980.

REFG13 Onieva-Zafra MD, García LH, Del Valle MG. Effectiveness of guided imagery relaxation on levels of pain and depression in patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Holist Nurs Pract. 2015 Jan-Feb;29(1):13-21.

REFG14 Baumueller E, Winkelmann A, et al. Electromyogram Biofeedback in Patients with Fibromyalgia: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Complement Med Res. 2017;24(1):33-39.

REFG15 Zech N, Hansen E, et al. Efficacy, acceptability and safety of guided imagery/hypnosis in fibromyalgia—a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Eur J Pain. 2017 Feb;21(2):217-227.

REFG16 Wang C, Schmid CH, et al. Effect of tai chi versus aerobic exercise for fibromyalgia: comparative effectiveness randomized controlled trial. BMJ. 2018 Mar 21;360:k851.

REFH Other:

REFH1 Perry R, Leach V, et al. An overview of systematic reviews of complementary and alternative therapies for fibromyalgia using both AMSTAR and ROBIS as quality assessment tools. Syst Rev. 2017 May 15;6(1):97. doi: 10.1186/s13643-017-0487-6. Review. PubMed PMID: 28506257; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5433031.

REFH2 Johnson MI, Claydon LS, et al. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) for fibromyalgia in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2017 Oct 9;10:CD012172.

REFH3 Matsumoto S, Shimodozono M, et al. Effects of thermal therapy combining sauna therapy and underwater exercise in patients with fibromyalgia. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2011 Aug;17(3):162-166.

REFI Supplements

REFI1 Ware MA, Fitzcharles MA, et al. The effects of nabilone on sleep in fibromyalgia: results of a randomized controlled trial. Anesth Analg. 2010 Feb 1;110(2):604-610.

REFI2 Cao H, Liu J, et al. Traditional Chinese Medicine for treatment of fibromyalgia: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. J Altern Complement Med. 2010 Apr;16(4):397-409.

REFI3 Hussain SA, Al-Khalifa II, et al. Adjuvant use of melatonin for treatment of fibromyalgia. J Pineal Res. 2011 Apr;50(3):267-271.

REFI4 deZanette SA, Vercelino R, et al. Melatonin analgesia is associated with improvement of the descending endogenous pain-modulating system in fibromyalgia: a phase II, randomized, double-dummy, controlled trial. BMC Pharmacol Toxicol. 2014 Jul 23;15:40.

REFI5 Walitt B, Klose P, et al. Cannabinoids for fibromyalgia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016 Jul 18;7:CD011694.

REFI6 Stockings E, Campbell G, et al. Cannabis and cannabinoids for the treatment of people with chronic noncancer pain conditions: a systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled and observational studies. Pain. 2018 Oct;159(10):1932-1954.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC
  • Review Date: 02/2020
  • Update Date: 05/25/2020