When muscle relaxants were tested in Fibromyalgia patients most were found to be useless but cyclobenzaprine was found to improve pain levels, sleep and tender point count (10 to 40 mg daily given at night to prevent daytime drowsiness) and this is thought to be because it has a chemical similarity to Amitripyline.
Many other drugs are currently being researched and tried in treatment of Fibromyalgia ranging from antiviral agents to substances which modulate the immune system. Various cocktails of antidepressant and sedative medications are being tried out as well. Even aspirin has been tried and is said to be mildly useful!
Osteopathic medicine, from which both SCS (Strain/Counterstrain) and Muscle Energy Technique (MET) derive, has conducted many studies involving Fibromyalgia, including:
- Doctors at Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine let by Drs. A.Stotz and R.Keppler measured the effects of osteopathic manipulative therapy (OMT - which includes SCS and MET) on the intensity of pain felt in the diagnostic tender points in 18 patients who met all the criteria for Fibromyalgia.
Each had six visits/treatments and it was found over a one year period that 12 of the patients responded well in that there tender points became less sensitive (14% reduction in intensity as against a 34% increase in the six patients who did not respond well) Most of the patients, the responders and the non-responders to OMT, showed that there tender points were more symmetrically spread after the course (using thermographic imaging) than before. Activities of daily living were significantly improved and general pain symptoms decreased overall.
- Doctors at Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine selected three groups of Fibromyalgia patients, one of which received OMT, another had OMT plus self-teaching (learning about the condition and self-help measures) and a third group received only moist-heat treatment. The group with the least reported pain after six months of care was that receiving OMT, although some benefit was noted in the self-teaching group.
- Another group of doctors from Texas tested the difference in results involving 37 patients with Fibromyalgia of using a/ drugs only (ibuprofen, alprazolam) or b/ OMT plus medication c/ a dummy medication (placebo) plus OMT or d/ a placebo only. The results showed that drug therapy alone resulted in significantly less tenderness being reported than did drugs and manipulation or the use of placebo and OMT or placebo alone.
Patients receiving placebo plus manipulation reported significantly less fatigue than the other groups. The group receiving medication and OMT showed the greatest improvement in their quality of life.
- 19 patients with all the criteria of Fibromyalgia were treated once a week for four weeks at Kirksville, Missouri College of Osteopathic Medicine using OMT. 84.2% showed improved sleep patterns, 94.7% reported less pain and most patients had fewer tender points on palpation.
Magnesium is often found to be deficient in people with Fibromyalgia/CFS(ME). In a study 15 patients with Fibromyalgia were supplemented with 300 to 600mg daily of magnesium and 1200 to 1400mg per day of malic acid.
Pain levels were greatly reduced. Benefits took some weeks or even months to be noticed.
This study replicates a previous study which showed that magnesium deficiency was a feature of many patients with CFS(ME).