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J Pain Manag. 2009 Jan 1;2(3):259-276.

Non-invasive brain stimulation approaches to fibromyalgia pain.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina, United States of America.


Fibromyalgia is a poorly understood disorder that likely involves central nervous system sensory hypersensitivity. There are a host of genetic, neuroendocrine and environmental abnormalities associated with the disease, and recent research findings suggest enhanced sensory processing, and abnormalities in central monoamines and cytokines expression in patients with fibromyalgia. The morbidity and financial costs associated with fibromyalgia are quite high despite conventional treatments with antidepressants, anticonvulsants, low-impact aerobic exercise and psychotherapy. Noninvasive brain stimulation techniques, such as transcranial direct current stimulation, transcranial magnetic stimulation, and electroconvulsive therapy are beginning to be studied as possible treatments for fibromyalgia pain. Early studies appear promising but more work is needed. Future directions in clinical care may include innovative combinations of noninvasive brain stimulation, pharmacological augmentation, and behavior therapies.

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