Nonphysician practitioner treatments & fibromyalgia (FM) syndrome

OBJECTIVE: Patients with fibromyalgia syndrome (FM) are high
consumers of alternative medical interventions and frequently
consult nonphysician practitioners. Although individuals may
express satisfaction with alternative treatment methods, their
effect upon symptoms and outcome of FM is not known. We
compare symptom reporting and functional status in patients
with FM being treated or not being treated by nonphysician
practitioners.

METHODS: 82 patients with FM enrolled in a
cross sectional study were divided into current users (n = 33)
and nonusers (n = 49) of nonphysician practitioner treatment
over the preceding 6 months. Included were treatments by
physiotherapists and psychologists, as well as all categories
of alternative practitioners. The measurements studied were a
patient global assessment of disease severity on a 100 mm
visual analog scale (VAS), a physician global assessment on a
100 mm VAS, the Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ), and the
Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ).

RESULTS: There were no differences for the FIQ, HAQ, or
patient or physician global severity scores for users and
nonusers of nonphysician practitioner treatments. The total
number of health care professional visits in the preceding 6
months was higher for users than nonusers (27.0 vs 9.3;
p < 0.001), although physician visits did not differ (9.0 vs 9.3).

CONCLUSION: Patients with FM who had been treated by
nonphysician practitioners during the preceding 6 months
reported similar pain and functional impairment to those not
receiving treatments.

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