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Lifestyle-oriented non-pharmacological treatments for fibromyalgia: a clinical overview and applications with home-based technologies

Authors Friedberg F, Williams D, Collinge W

Received 20 June 2012

Accepted for publication 31 July 2012

Published 25 October 2012 Volume 2012:5 Pages 425—435

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/JPR.S35199

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3


Fred Friedberg,1 David A Williams,2 William Collinge3

1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York; 2Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 3Collinge and Associates, Kittery, Maine, USA

Abstract: Fibromyalgia (FM) is a persistent and disabling widespread pain condition often accompanied by chronic fatigue, cognitive problems, sleep disturbance, depression, anxiety, and headache. To date, the most thoroughly studied non-pharmacological approaches to managing FM are those with a focus on changing patient activities and beliefs that affect the illness. These interventions are intended to facilitate enduring improvement in pain and functional status. Lifestyle-oriented treatments include patient education, aerobic or other physical exercise, and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). These interventions in FM can be delivered in medical or behavioral health care settings by trained professionals, through patient-oriented treatment manuals, or via remote-access technologies. Non-pharmacological treatments, in particular exercise and CBT, have yielded effect sizes and cost–benefit ratios comparable to medications. This paper describes lifestyle-oriented non-pharmacological treatments for FM and highlights selected literature reviews of these interventions. In addition, behavioral and practical issues are addressed that may affect these non-pharmacological treatments, including patient expectations, participant burden, and treatment availability. Recommendations are made to facilitate these interventions and potentially improve outcomes. In particular, the increasing availability of convenient home-based mobile technologies to deliver these non-pharmacological treatments is described.

Keywords: cognitive-behavior therapy, exercise, education, mobile technology

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