Badanta B, Alvarez-Perez I, Bonilla Sierra P, et al. Complementary and Alternative Medicine to Treat Fibromyalgia Symptoms. A Systematic Review. J Pain Res. 2024 May 10;17:1709-1723. doi: 10.2147/JPR.S450735. eCollection 2024. (Systematic review)

This study aims to investigate the current evidence for the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in fibromyalgia (FM). A systematic review was conducted searching for PubMed, Scopus, CINAHL, PsycInfo, and Web of Science databases. Randomized controlled trials published up to December 2023 in peer-reviewed journals were included. Methodological quality was assessed by the Quality Assessment of Controlled Intervention Studies tool. A total of 216 articles were identified and 15 constituted the final sample. The type of CAM most used was traditional Chinese medicine (60%), and the most common instrument used was the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (60%). Our review was grouped into four themes based on the origin of the therapies: 1) Traditional Chinese Medicine; 2) Japanese natural harmonization (eg, Reiki); 3) Ayurvedic Medicine; and 4) Other non-drug therapies. Our systematic review showed that there is a wide range of CAMs used to treat FM. Most of the clinical trials have shown significant results for the effectiveness of these interventions in both physical and mental health outcomes of FM as compared to control groups. However, the heterogeneity of the interventions and outcomes warrants further studies on this topic.

Discipline Area Score
Physician 5 / 7
Rehab Clinician (OT/PT) 5 / 7
Show me more articles about:
Comments from MORE raters

Physician rater

Studies with high heterogeneity, small sample sizes, and short follow-up periods. Unadjusted residual factors can generate a placebo effect in many of the practices used. The combination of these methodological challenges can obscure the true efficacy of alternative medicine treatments for fibromyalgia, highlighting the need for more rigorous well-designed studies with larger sample sizes, longer follow-up periods, and appropriate adjustment for confounding factors.

Rehab Clinician (OT/PT) rater

The follow-up period of the primary studies needs to be longer to improve the quality of the conclusions.
Comments from PAIN+ CPN subscribers

No subscriber has commented on this article yet.