Fibromyalgia News

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Tai chi effective fibromyalgia treatment according to new study


Man practicing tai chiA new study shows that the ancient Chinese practise of T'ai Chi is effective in treating the pain and other symptoms experienced by people suffering from fibromyalgia. 

Disciplines similar to T'ai Chi have been practised in China for over 2,000 years, with the series of fixed postures and movements being formalised in the 18th century. T'ai Chi is often referred to as 'moving meditation' and is fast becoming one of the most popular exercise systems in the world, due at least in part to its positive effects on mental and physical health. 

Described as an "integrated exercise system for both mind and body" in The Complete Book of T'ai Chi by Stewart McFarlane, in Chinese philosophical terms it is believed to balance the opposing forces of yin and yang and bring life energy (ch'i or qi) into balance so that mind and body are able to work together to improve balance, stability, flexibility and skill, as well as supporting health and healing.

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Meditative breathing enhances pain relief and may help in fibromyalgia


Woman practicing transcendental meditationBreathing techniques such as those used in various forms of meditation may aid pain relief both directly and by enhancing the effectiveness of drugs according to the lead researcher of a new study.

Mind-body techniques such as meditation and focusing attention on the breath are becoming increasingly popular as medical research results continue to break down the supposed barriers between the functioning and health of mind and body.

It is now well established that the mind and body are not two seperate entities that function independently of one another but are in fact in constant bidirectional communication and each is dependent on the other. Research has shown for example that our state of mind can have a significant impact on how effectively our immune systems function.

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Cymbalta claims for fibromyalgia attract FDA warning


Box of Cymbalta medicationIn the past month the makers of four drugs have received warnings from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA); one of these was for Cymbalta which is approved to ease the pain of fibromyalgia. 

Eli Lilly & Co. were warned that despite FDA approval for use of Cymbalta (duloxetine) for fibromyalgia, their promotion of the drug for such patients was misleading and often overstated its effectiveness and omitted or minimised information regarding potential side effects.

Cymbalta is a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI), a modern type of antidepressant medication. Since serotonin and norepinephrine are also involved in the regulation of pain, Cymbalta can act as an analgesic (painkiller) and has proven useful in some trials for relieving the pain suffered by fibromyalgia patients In June 2008 it was approved by the FDA as a treatment for the pain disorder.

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Fibromyalgia pain severity not linked to psychological symptoms


Image of a brain scanA new study finds that the pain of fibromyalgia is linked to reduced activity in the areas of the brain that inhibit sensation and dispells the myth that the illness and severity of pain reported is linked to psychological causes.

These conclusions come from a thesis on fibromyalgia and pain studies authored by Karin B. Jensen, a postgraduate at the Department of Clinical Neuroscience at the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet.

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition with multiple symptoms; the most prominent being widespread pain. Patients experience heightened sensitivity to pain, particularly at specific 'tender points' located around the body. Even a gentle touch can be experienced as pain. Despite an estimated 2%-4% of the population being affected by the condition and many left severely disabled, patients are often dismissed as hypochondriacs or misdiagnosed as suffering from depression, anxiety or other psychiatric illnesses. In 2007 Norwegian researchers published results of a survey in the journal Social Science & Medicine which found doctors didn't see fibromyalgia as a serious or "prestigious" disease.

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Chinese acupuncture boosts painkiller effectiveness in fibromyalgia


Acupuncture needles in useResearch using brain imaging techniques has shown that Chinese acupuncture increases the effectiveness of common painkillers by increasing their binding to opioid receptors.

The study involved 20 women who had been diagnosed with fibromyalgia at least a year previously and experienced pain at least 50% of the time. The participants agreed to take no other painkilling medication during the study.

The research was conducted by a team of researchers led by Richard E. Harris, Ph.D., at the University of Michigan's Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center. Harris is a molecular and cell biologist at the University of Michigan and a licensed acupuncturist. Results of the study are published online prior to appearing in the September issue of the journal NeuroImage.

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