Fibromyalgia (FM) is characterized by chronic inflammation, accompanied by widespread muscle pain and pressure-sensitive tender points. In addition to reducing pain, whole body cryotherapy may effectively diminish other symptoms of fibromyalgia including sleep disturbances, fatigue, depression, anxiety, cognitive difficulties and headaches.
Forty-two patients with fibromyalgia, who satisfied the diagnostic standards of the American College of Rheumatology, were assessed for pain (0= no pain, 10 = worst pain). Additional measures included levels of creactive protein (CRP), morning stiffness and number of swollen joints. After 10 daily whole body cryotherapy sessions, amelioration of pain at rest, pain on movement (kinesalgia) and exertion pain, improved by 12 to 21% on pain scale scores by those treated, as opposed to the control group, which showed no significant changes.
The study also found a reduction in the number of painful pressure points in the treated group, and a reduction in the need for analgesics by 30 percent compared to the control group.
Based on these findings, whole body cryotherapy in treating symptoms of fibromyalgia may be optimized at early onset, or acute stages of the disease.
Anon. Fibromyalgia. Division of Adult and Community Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. 2011. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/fibromyalgia.htm. Accessed December 13, 2011.
Gutenbrunner C, Englert G, Neues-Lahusen M, et al. Analgesic effects of natural sulphur baths and cold chamber expositions in fibromyalgia. Phys Rehab Kur Med 1999;9:56 ± 62.
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