Evidence of Chiropractic Treatment Insufficient For Fibromyalgia
There is no evidence to suggest chiropractors are effective in treating people with fibromyalgia, according to a new review of existing literature on the subject.
Professor Edzard Ernst of the Peninsula Medical School at the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, carried out the study.
"Many patients use chiropractic as a treatment of fibromyalgia and many chiropractors seem to be convinced that it is effective for that condition," he explained in the medical journal Clinical Rheumatology.
"The aim of the study was to conduct a systematic review of randomised clinical trials testing the effectiveness of chiropractic care for fibromyalgia."
Professor Ernst reviewed three previous research articles on the effect of chiropractic treatment for the condition, which were found through six electronic searches through online databases.
The three studies were judged to have "poor" methodological quality and they "generated no evidence to suggest that chiropractic care is effective for fibromyalgia".
"Currently, there is insufficient evidence to conclude that chiropractic is an effective treatment for fibromyalgia," Professor Ernst concluded.
Fibromyalgia is also known as chronic widespread pain and occurs mainly in women. The disease affects the muscles, and the intense pain, fatigue and depression associated with the condition make it distressing for sufferers, many of whom may find that they cannot continue with their daily activities.
At present, there is no known cure for fibromyalgia, though patients are advised to exercise, seek counselling if they are depressed and discuss medication to improve symptoms with their GPs.
The Arthritis Research Campaign is currently carrying out a major clinical trial to find out if a combination of exercise and cognitive behavioural therapy improves the symptoms of chronic widespread pain, which includes fibromyalgia.