Non-invasive brain stimulation techniques do seem to relieve fibromyalgia pain says evidence review
Fibromyalgia symptoms are difficult to treat but some techniques that involve non-invasive stimulation of the brain are promising, according to an article in Neurologia.
Transcranial direct current stimulation uses a constant, low, electrical current to stimulate nerve cells in the brain. Transcranial magnetic stimulation uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain. Both are increasingly used to treat chronic pain. But is one better than the other when it comes to fibromyalgia?
Experts have now reviewed their effects on the main fibromyalgia symptoms (pain, fatigue, anxiety, depression, catastrophising and quality of life) by investigating 14 studies.
Although the effects of the interventions on anxiety and depression are unclear, both led to improvements in pain threshold, catastrophising and quality of life when applied to the motor cortex (the area that is used in planning, control and execution of voluntary movements). They had good effects on fatigue when applied to the part of the bran involved in memory, planning and decision making. And transcranial direct current stimulation was found to decrease pain in the short and medium-term.
So the evidence is stacking up in favour of adding techniques that involve non-invasive stimulation of the brain to more mainstream ways of treating fibromyalgia.
Click here to read the original research.
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