A Mind-Body Technique for Symptoms Related to Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue

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Abstract

Context

A novel mind–body approach (amygdala retraining) is hypothesized to improve symptoms related to fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue.

Objective

To examine the use of a mind–body approach for improving symptoms related to fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue.

Design

This was a single-blind, randomized controlled trial.

Setting

The study was conducted in a tertiary-care fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue clinic.

Patients

Patients with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, or both were included.

Interventions

Patients were randomly assigned to receive amygdala retraining along with standard care or standard care alone. Standard care involved attending a 1.5-day multidisciplinary program. The amygdala retraining group received an additional 2.5-hour training course in which the key tools and techniques adapted from an existing program were taught to the patient. A home-study video course and associated text were provided to supplement the on-site program. Both groups received telephone calls twice a month to answer questions related to technique and to provide support.

Main Outcome Measures

Validated self-report questionnaires related to general health, well-being, and symptoms, including Short Form-36, Measure Yourself Medical Outcome Profile, Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory, Epworth Sleepiness Scale, and Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire.

Results

Of the 44 patients randomly assigned who completed baseline assessments, 21 patients completed the study (14 in the standard care group and 7 in the study group). Median age was 48 years (range, 27-56 years), and female subjects comprised 91% of the group. Analyses demonstrated statistically significant improvements in scores for physical health, energy, pain, symptom distress, and fatigue in patients who received the amygdala retraining compared with standard care.

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