Objective: To systematically investigate the scientific evidence relating to electrothermal and phototherapeutic methods for the treatment of fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS).
Methods: The search for reports on interventions using electrothermal and phototherapy for FMS was carried out in the Pubmed, Medline, Lilacs, Scielo, ISI Web of Knowledge, PEDro and Cochrane Collaboration databases. Randomized controlled clinical trials published over the past 10 years in English, Portuguese and Spanish were selected. The methodological quality of the studies was assessed using the Jadad scale. The analysis on the study results was done by means of critical review of the content.
Results: Seven studies were reviewed in full, and these identified interventions using laser (n=4), transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS; n=1), interferential current (IFC) alone (n=1) and IFC combined with ultrasound (US; n=1). Only two studies showed good methodological quality according to the Jadad scale. Most of the studies (n=6) used the criteria of the American College of Rheumatology for the clinical diagnosis of FMS. Pain was the most frequently evaluated FMS symptom. The intervention methods and their duration varied widely, and there was no mention of the parameters used in the electrothermal and phototherapeutic methods. Pain levels reduced significantly in all of the studies.
Conclusion: There are still limitations on the generalization of the results, adverse reactions and doses of the FMS treatment. Further studies are needed to establish the effectiveness of electrothermal and phototherapy in treating FMS.