A new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that patients with fibromyalgia may benefit from exercise and talking with a therapist once a week on the phone.
The study, which had a total of 442 patients, were put into four groups and assessed at 6 months and 9 months:
- Telephone-delivered cognitive behavioral therapy (TCBT)
- Combined Intervention
- Treatment as usual (TAU)
The results of the study were as follows (% reporting a positive outcome at 6 and 9 months):
- TCBT group – 6 months @ 30% – 9 months @ 30%
- Exercise group – 6 months @ 35% – 9 months @ 24%
- Combined Intervention group – 6 months @ 37% – 9 months @ 37%
- TAU group – 6 months @ 8% – 9 months @ 8%
Currently there are three approved drugs to treat the chronic pain that accompanies fibromyalgia, Cymbalta, Savella and Lyrica. None of these medications have been successful at treating the other symptoms of fibromyalgia.
While this study shows the success of cognitive therapy for fibromyalgia treatment, several factors may prevent patients from seeking or receiving this type of care. These factors include inadequate insurance coverage, not enough therapists trained to deal with chronic pain issues, lack of reimbursement to therapists from insurance companies making them hesitant to offer this treatment, and physicians focusing on medical treatment due to lack of education of therapy benefits.
Exercise has long been shown to help pain as well as help a person maintain good overall health. This study shows how exercise twice a week can be beneficial to fibromyalgia patients.