In doing some continuing professional education I came across a study showing that patients with fibromyalgia found a benefit from wearing wool underwear. I wondered if any other studies supported warmth in patents with fibromyalgia for pain relief and found a few. As well, there was a case study of two patients using warmth for pain relief with success. Continuing my research into FM pain and warmth I found this article using a certain species of dog as heat therapy in FM. Surely, as well as, offering unusual heat these dogs offer the comfort of companionship. Of course some patients do not feel better with heat and seem to respond better to cold and there are studies showing that people with FM do not deal well with temperature extremes or adjust quickly to temperature changes.
A new nonpharmacological method in fibromyalgia: the use of wool.
- 50 patients with fibromyalgia
- wore woollen underwear covering them from shoulders to thighs, used woollen bedding for 6 weeks
- The woollen group had a significant reduction in pain levels, tender point count and Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire scores
- 44 females with fibromyalgia
- underwent sauna therapy 3 days a week and underwater exercise 2 days a week for 12 weeks
- all patients reported significant reductions in pain and symptoms (31-77%)
- patients remained relatively stable during 6 month follow-up (28-68%)
- 32 women with fibromyalgia
- either used superficial warmth or transcutaeous electrical nerve stimulation
- Both treatments were effective in reducing pain
- warmth reduced pain from 77.5 to 62.5 pts and nerve stimulation from 80 to 62.5 pts
- there was a slightly higher preference for warmth therapy
- 33 women with fibromyalgia (FM) matched to 44 healthy controls
- to examine the differences in habituation to cold pain in women with FM
- FM group showed sensitization and had decreased cold pain thresholds across trials (they felt cold pain at higher temperatures) the control group habituated to the cold stimuli
- both groups habituated to heat pain
J Psychosom Res. 2005 Apr;58(4):383-7.
The effects of repeated thermal therapy for two patients with chronic fatigue syndrome.
Masuda A, Kihara T, Fukudome T, Shinsato T, Minagoe S, Tei C.
OBJECTIVE:This paper describes the successful treatment of two patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) using repeated thermal therapy.
METHODS: Two patients with CFS underwent treatment with prednisolone (PSL), with no satisfactory effect. They were subjected to thermal therapy that consisted of a far-infrared ray dry sauna at 60 degrees C and postsauna warming. The therapy was performed once a day, for a total of 35 sessions. After discharge, these subjects continued the therapy once or twice a week on an outpatient basis for 1 year.
RESULTS:Symptoms such as fatigue, pain, sleep disturbance, and low-grade fever were dramatically improved after 15 to 25 sessions of thermal therapy. Although PSL administration was discontinued, the subjects showed no relapse or exacerbation of symptoms during the first year after discharge. The patients became socially rehabilitated 6 months after discharge.
CONCLUSIONS:These results suggest that repeated thermal therapy might be a promising method for the treatment of CFS.