Background: Fibromyalgia is a syndrome characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain and multiple tender points as well as high levels of self-reported disability and poor quality of life.
Objectives: In this pilot study, a mind-body approach (cognitive-behavioral therapy) was tested that has been successful in treating chronic back pain patients to determine whether it would improve function, decrease perceived pain, and improve mood state for fibromyalgia patients.
Participants: 28 patients recruited from the greater Baltimore area.
Intervention: Eight weekly sessions, 2 1/2 hours each, with three components: an educational component focusing on the mind-body connection, a portion focusing on relaxation response mechanisms (primarily mindfulness meditation techniques), and a qigong movement therapy session.
Main outcome measures: Data collection instruments were the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire, the Health Assessment Questionnaire, the Beck Depression Inventory, the Coping Strategies Questionnaire, the helplessness subscale of the Arthritis Attitudes Index, the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form General Health Survey, and a double-anchored 100-mm visual analog scale to assess sleep.
Results: Twenty patients completed the study. Standard outcome measures showed significant reduction in pain, fatigue, and sleeplessness; and improved function, mood state, and general health following an 8-week intervention.
Conclusion: A mind-body intervention including patient education, meditation techniques, and movement therapy appears to be an effective adjunctive therapy for patients with fibromyalgia.