Purpose of review: Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread pain and a spectrum of psychological comorbidities, rendering treatment difficult and often a financial burden. Fibromyalgia is a complicated chronic pain condition that requires a multimodal therapeutic approach to optimize treatment efficacy. Thus, it has been postulated that mind-body techniques may prove fruitful in treating fibromyalgia. Mindfulness meditation, a behavioral technique premised on non-reactive sensory awareness, attenuates pain and improves mental health outcomes. However, the impact of mindfulness meditation on fibromyalgia-related outcomes has not been comprehensively characterized. The present review delineates the existing evidence supporting the effectiveness and hypothesized mechanisms of mindfulness meditation in treating fibromyalgia-related outcomes.
Recent findings: Mindfulness-based interventions premised on cultivating acceptance, non-attachment, and social engagement may be most effective in decreasing fibromyalgia-related pain and psychological symptoms. Mindfulness-based therapies may alleviate fibromyalgia-related outcomes through multiple neural, psychological, and physiological processes. Mindfulness meditation may provide an effective complementary treatment approach for fibromyalgia patients, especially when combined with other reliable techniques (exercise; cognitive behavioral therapy). However, characterizing the specific analgesic mechanisms supporting mindfulness meditation is a critical step to fostering the clinical validity of this technique. Identification of the specific analgesic mechanisms supporting mindfulness-based pain relief could be utilized to better design behavioral interventions to specifically target fibromyalgia-related outcomes.
Keywords: Fibromyalgia; Inflammation; Meditation; Mindfulness; Pain; fMRI.