Sore Muscles

Warning
Warning:

This site gives you information NOT medical advice. You should consult your medical practitioner if you have any unexplained symptoms of illness or concerns about treatment. Do not stop a prescribed conventional treatment without consulting a doctor. Tell all the practitioners you're working with, conventional or complementary, about any medicines, remedies, herbs or supplements you are taking or considering using.

What do mean by sore muscles?

This leaflet is about fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), a condition that causes aching all over the body that has lasted three months or more. This leaflet isn't about muscle injuries or sprains. Nor is it about muscle strain from hard work, nor about joint pain from injury or inflammation.

Muscles get sore for lots of reasons. It's normal to feel achy after working hard, or when you have a cold or some other virus. You feel this sort of aching all over, and it gets better quite soon. Muscles that have been over-stretched or over-strained will feel stiff and painful for a time, while these minor injuries heal.

Some medicines can make muscles ache, particularly the ones prescribed for lowering cholesterol. If you are on this type of medication and you start getting muscle pain, tenderness or weakness, check with your GP or pharmacist as soon as possible.

Polymyalgia rheumatica is a form of painful muscle inflammation affecting the shoulders and upper body, usually in middle age. It requires immediate medical treatment.

What do we mean by fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS)?

Aching all over that doesn't go away after three months, and for which no cause can be found, may be caused by fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS). Fibromyalgia makes you feel tired and causes widespread muscle pain and 'tender points'. These tender points are places on the neck, shoulders, back, hips, arms or legs that hurt when touched. People with fibromyalgia may have other symptoms, such as trouble sleeping, morning stiffness, headaches, sensitivity to temperature, bright lights and loud noises, numbness or tingling in fingers and toes, and problems with thinking and memory, sometimes called 'fibro fog'. There is widespread agreement among doctors that people with FMS have typical 'tender points' in particular areas of the limbs, chest, back and neck, where even slight pressure feels very painful. There are no laboratory tests for FMS, so doctors have to rule out other potential causes before deciding you have it. FMS isn't caused by inflammation or nerve damage, but that doesn't mean FMS pain is 'all in the mind'. And even though doctors don't yet fully understand why FMS happens, there is a lot you can do to reduce the pain it causes.

As many as three out of every four people who have FMS, also have chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Other common conditions that often occur along with FMS and CFS include irritable bowel syndrome (lBS), migraine, restless legs syndrome (RLS), and painful menstrual periods. In all these health problems, blood tests and scans may give perfectly normal results. Yet, from time to time, the body doesn't properly regulate blood circulation or muscle tension. This regulation depends on nerves, hormones and brain chemicals that pass messages between the brain and the body.

What causes FMS?

If you have FMS, your muscles (even thought they aren't really damaged) keep sending pain signals to your brain. When they reach your brain, these pain signals have an exaggerated impact. It's as if your brain is 'turning up the volume' on incoming signals. This can turn mild pressure, or even an itch, into pain. One explanation could be that people with FMS don't have enough of a brain chemical called serotonin, which is needed to process pain signals. This over-sensitivity can affect other senses too - such as vision, hearing and even smell. Different things can set off this central sensitisation. Some experts think it can be triggered by an abnormal response to stress. The stress could be emotional (such as ongoing anger, anxiety or depression) or it could be physical stress caused by an infection or an injury.

FMS and central sensitisation are not psychological problems. But psychological treatments can reduce the sensitisation, because the way you think and feel can make central sensitisation better or worse. For instance, many people with FMS are hyper-vigilant. This means their senses are always on the lookout for trouble. Hyper-vigilance can be triggered by a trauma or by an anxiety disorder, and perhaps some people are born with nervous systems that are more hyper-vigilant than others. Another thing that seems to make FMS worse is catastrophising. This means you tend to imagine that things will go disastrously wrong, and that small disturbances must have awful causes and will have terrible consequences.

Psychological treatments can be especially helpful if you are an anxious person, or if you tend to be hyper-vigilant or to catastrophise, or if you are depressed.

FMS, CFS and 'brain fog'

Many people with FMS or CFS complain of brain fog. Some say brain fog is worse than their pain or fatigue. They have no concentration or focus, they mix up words, have problems with memory recall and numbers, don't recognise places they know, have trouble finding things, and find themselves unable to multi-task.

What causes brain fog? Perhaps it occurs partly because people with FMS and CFS don't sleep well, or because blood flow to the thinking parts of the brain is reduced. It can also be due to the side-effects of pain medication, or just the distraction of pain itself. People with FMS say that the worse their pain is, the foggier they feel. Stress, anxiety and overloaded senses seem to make brain fog worse too.

FMS pain and depression

Depression can be painful. According to Harvard Health Newsletter, more than 50% of depressed patients who visit a GP complain only of physical symptoms, usually involving pain of some sort. Long-term pain is of course depressing in itself. It can change how you think and feel and what you do. Many people with persistent pain become more isolated, immobile and dependent on medication.

But depression is no more common in FMS than in painful conditions that have an obvious physical cause, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Research also shows that the brain chemistry of FMS isn't the same as in depression. Depression also causes something like brain fog, but research shows that it's slightly different from the brain fog experienced by people with FMS.

Sleep is also usually poor with FMS but this is different from the sleep disturbance found in depression. Another difference is that, although people with FMS respond to anti-depressants such as amitryptiline, the doses needed are much smaller than those used to treat depression. Yet although FMS isn't a form of depression, all types of antidepressants have some sort of positive effect on FMS pain. In addition, some types of antidepressants may also help the sleep disturbances, fatigue and depressed mood.

For example researchers have found that SSRI's (such as Prozac) reduced pain and depression, but don't relieve fatigue or sleep disturbance.

FMS and sleep problems

FMS and sleep disorders go hand in hand. Pain disturbs sleep and poor sleep makes pain feel worse, so it can be a vicious circle. Up to 80% of people with FMS have some type of sleep problem. Many people with FMS have restless leg syndrome (RLS) too, and this can cause even more sleep problems. Amitriptyline in low doses can help FMS but may make RLS worse. Be aware of this if you get RLS as part of your FMS.

Treating FMS

Three approaches are likely to be useful in all kinds of regulatory disorders, including FMS. They are: supporting more restful sleep, getting appropriate exercise, and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Sleep is important in all the regulatory disorders. For example, a poor night's sleep makes the symptoms of lBS worse next day.

What other information might be helpful?

For more information visit:

When to see the doctor?

As soon as you can:

simplechangesMake Some Simple Changes


pencil Eating a healthy diet

OverviewIt is always important to have a healthy diet. This means a diet that includes enough vitamins and minerals, and plenty of fruit, vegetables and whole grains. The Food Standards Agency has eight tips for eating well:

1 Base your meals on starchy foods.
2 Eat lots of fruit and vegetables.
3 Eat more fish.
4 Cut down on saturated fat and sugar.
5 Try to eat less salt - no more than 6 g a day.
6 Get active and try to keep to a healthy weight.
7 Drink plenty of water.
8 Don't skip breakfast. It sets you up for the day and it helps get your body and mind going first thing.

pencil Using relaxation techniques for primary period pain

OverviewThere are many things you can do to help you relax. Relaxation will ease pain and sleep problems, as well as improving your ability to manage stress. Relaxation techniques are useful during rest periods or for helping you sleep. Tai Chi, Qigong and yoga are also helpful for relaxation.
Find out moreSee the Classes section for more information.

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simplechanges Cutting down caffeine

OverviewIf your muscle pains are stopping you sleeping, you are likely to feel tired during the day. And when you feel tired it's tempting to reach for stimulating drinks such as tea, coffee, colas or so-called 'energy drinks'. They can give you a quick lift, but if you rely on them they will only keep you going until your energy stores run down further. And they will stop you sleeping well.
EvidenceThere is very little research on the effects of limiting caffeine on muscle pain.
SafetyIf you are cutting down on large amounts of caffeine, headaches might be a problem for two or three days. It is better to reduce the amount of caffeine slowly over a few days.
CostThere are no costs. In fact you will save money.
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simplechanges Cutting down on alcohol and stopping smoking

OverviewCutting down on alcohol and stopping smoking are likely to improve your health generally. Like caffeine, alcohol can affect the quality of your sleep and make anxiety and low mood worse.

Moderate drinking means no more than two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women. A unit of alcohol is half a pint of ordinary strength beer, lager or cider or a small pub measure (25 ml) of spirits or a standard pub measure (50 ml) of fortified wine such as sherry or port (20% alcohol by volume). A small (125ml) glass of basic wine is 1 and a 1/2 units.
EvidenceThere is very little research on the effects on muscle pain of limiting alcohol. There have been studies into the effects of smoking but they have found different results.
SafetyCutting down on smoking and alcohol is safe, but if you are cutting down from heavy use, there can be side effects including loss of appetite and difficulty sleeping. There are unlikely to be side effects if you are cutting down a moderate alcohol intake. If you are a very heavy drinker, it is better to get help from your GP with cutting down.
CostThere are no costs. In fact you will save money.
Find out moreFor more information, see the NHS information sensible drinking.

If you are giving up or cutting down on smoking you can order a Quit Kit from SmokefreeNHS. You can also phone the NHS Free Smoking Helpline on 0800 022 4332.
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simplechanges Exercise

OverviewModerate exercise and getting fitter are generally good for everyone, but if you have been avoiding exercise because you feel sore, you will need to increase your physical exercise quite slowly and gradually. The important thing is to pace yourself and know when to stop. Remember that exercise should not hurt much, though you might feel a bit achy at first. If hurts much, stop and build up your fitness more gradually.

Exercise can include aerobics such as cycling, stepping and walking, strengthening exercises such as lifting weights or using resistance machines, and stretching for flexibility.
EvidenceThere is good evidence that regular moderate aerobic exercise for 12 weeks can help with well-being and ease stiffness. But it doesn't seem to help with pain or reduce the number of tender points.
SafetyAerobic exercise training should be started rather slowly, because it's likely your symptoms will feel worse at first, especially if you haven't done much exercise for a while. If in doubt, check with a healthcare professional.

Anyone with severe osteoporosis, joint problems, acute back pain or recent injuries should first get advice about exercise from a doctor or physiotherapist.
CostYou can exercise at home for nothing - walking and gardening is all exercise - although you should get advice on the best exercises to do from a trainer first. There will probably be a small cost, between £5 - £8 a class, if you join an organised programme.
Find out moreNatural England is one of several organisations that organise walking schemes designed to help people improve their health. The Walking for Health Programme has about 600 local groups, and around 40,000 people take part in short local walks every week. Find out about Green Gyms where volunteers take on voluntary projects outdoors. Many local councils organise Health Walks for people who want to get active in company.

Check your local leisure centre for exercise classes. See also the Classes section for more information.
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simplechanges Following special diets

OverviewEveryone's body is unique, and eating more, or less, of a particular food can sometimes help with painful conditions. Keeping a food diary should help you to find out whether certain foods make your symptoms worse. Write down what you eat and make a note of how you feel a couple of hours afterwards, bearing in mind that the effects of food might be felt some time after you've eaten them.
EvidenceThere have been some small studies on the effects of vegetarian, vegan, raw food and Mediterranean diets in people with fibromyalgia. Although these diets didn't help everyone, the research suggested that some people might benefit in the short term from a vegan diet or raw food diet.
SafetyIt can be quite difficult to exclude certain foods and still have a balanced diet. If you want to make big changes to what you eat, it is a good idea to see a dietician. They can help you make sure you are still eating a healthy diet and getting all the nutrients you need.
CostEating a healthy diet and excluding some foods need not cost you anything. But if you consult a dietician there will be a charge, unless this is a service provided by your GP's practice.
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simplechanges Meditation

OverviewMeditation is a state of mind, not a religion, though it features in most major religions, especially Eastern ones. Meditation seems to harmonise the activity between the two sides of the frontal brain, and encourages a 'relaxation response'. The relaxation response happens when the body and mind do the opposite of what they do when you feel stressed. In meditation the body is relaxed while the mind is alert. You don't need an experienced teacher or a spiritual faith in order to take up meditation. You can learn the basics from a book or a podcast. Meditation is easily accessible, and it is remarkably effective, both for rapid stress reduction and as a way of promoting long-term health.
EvidenceMeditation may help with your health generally but not enough studies have looked at whether meditation specifically helps with FMS pain.
SafetyThere are generally no safety problems with meditation unless you have a severe or long-standing mental health problem.
CostMeditation involves certain (simple) techniques, which can be easily practised at home. There are many books and audio aids available and some people find it useful to join a class initially. Once you have learned how to meditate, there are no ongoing costs.
Find out moreVisit The British Holistic Medical Association for podcasts and leaflets. Also see the information about Yoga in the 'Classes' section.
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simplechanges Progressive muscular relaxation (PMR)

OverviewProgressive muscular relaxation works by tensing and relaxing various muscle groups in your body, starting from your feet and working your way up. At each level, try to notice how it feels when your muscles are tense, and how it feels when you let go and relax. Gradually you will get used to the feeling of relaxation and learn how to make it happen at will. As with most relaxation methods, you need to start by finding a quiet, relaxing place to practise. Get yourself in a comfortable position, sitting or lying, and start by allowing your out-breath to get softer, longer and deeper.
EvidenceRelaxation is often combined with exercise so it is not entirely clear how much effect relaxation on its own has on FMS pain. Some studies have found that progressive muscular relaxation and visualisation (using pleasant images) can help people to cope with pain.
SafetyProgressive relaxation is generally safe but should be used cautiously in people with musculoskeletal injury or a long-standing or severe mental health problem.
CostOnce you have learned the relaxation techniques, there are no costs. There are many books and audio aids available and some people find it useful to join a class initially.
Find out moreVisit The British Holistic Medical Association for podcasts and leaflets. See also our leaflet on Stress and Anxiety.
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buysomethingBuy Something


pencil Before You Buy

OverviewFor safe use of over-the-counter medicines, herbal remedies and supplements:

Consult a qualified person (such as a pharmacist) before buying or taking any medicine, remedy or supplement:
- if you have a serious medical condition
- if you are breast-feeding, pregnant or planning to become pregnant
- if you are already taking other medicines, herbal remedies or supplements
- if you suffer from allergies

Always read the package insert before taking any product.
Avoid taking the product if you think you may be allergic to any of the ingredients.
Do not combine any over-the-counter medicines, remedies or supplements with other medicines, remedies or supplements unless you have first checked with a qualified person (such as the pharmacist in your local chemist).

Seek advice from your doctor or pharmacist:
- If your symptoms do not get better
- if your symptoms get worse
- if you get new symptoms or have a side effect

The information here, including dosages, only applies to adults (over 16 years). Keep all medicines out of the reach of children.

pencil Herbal remedies and food supplements

OverviewMany modern drugs started as plant-medicines and people have been using herbs as treatments for thousand of years. We presume these 'natural medicines' work by improving the way the nerves, muscles brain and digestion work.

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buysomething Painkillers

OverviewThere many different painkillers available and they can be very helpful for acute pain. But they can cause headaches if used over long periods.
EvidenceSimple painkillers, such as paracetamol, can be very helpful in managing persistent muscle pain. Aspirin and ibuprofen are less helpful.
SafetyIf used in the correct dose, painkillers are generally safe. Fibromyalgia is a long-term problem and taking painkillers (whether prescription or over-the-counter) every day can cause side effects.

Side effects can include headaches, indigestion and even stomach ulcers or bleeding. Stop taking them if you start getting indigestion or stomach pain, and tell your GP or pharmacist. Always follow the stated dose.
CostThese types of medication are generally fairly inexpensive.
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buysomething SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine)

OverviewSAMe occurs naturally in the body. Scientists say 'Sammy' is an anti-oxidant, an anti-inflammatory and helps produce important brain chemicals including serotonin which may be low in people who have FMS. A full dose of SAMe is 400 mg three to four times a day but some people get digestion problems if they start this straight away. Build the dose up to this amount if you can, starting with 200 mg twice daily. Aim to reduce to a lower dose once you feel better on the full dosage.
EvidenceThree old studies show that taking SAMe improved fibromyalgia.
SafetySAMe does not generally cause problems. The most common side effects are nausea and skin rashes. Patients with allergies should not use it. Do not take it with other medicines, remedies or supplements unless you have checked with a qualified person (such as a pharmacist). The best and safest doses are not yet certain.
CostSAMe is regulated by the Medicines Act, and does not yet have a UK licence, so it cannot be sold over the counter in the UK. It can be purchased from Internet retailers, but there are no guarantees of quality and as this is an expensive supplement, whose long term effects are uncertain.
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buysomething Vitamin D

OverviewPeople with fibromyalgia often feel anxious or depressed and over-tired. Low levels of vitamin D can cause all these symptoms. So if you are suffering with anxiety, low mood and/or persistent muscle pain you may want to get a blood test on your vitamin D levels. Doctors are increasingly concerned about low vitamin D, especially in the Asian community. If your diet is poor (especially if low on dairy products) and you don't get into the sun, ask your doctor about a vitamin D blood test. If it's normal, there's no point in taking vitamin D. If it's low, your GP will prescribe it for you.
EvidenceIf you are low in vitamin D, taking it will make you feel better.
SafetyVitamin D supplements can be bought over the counter. The average adult gets by on 5 microgrammes (200 IU) a day. More is needed as you get older. For instance the US National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends a daily intake of 800 to 1,000 IU per day for adults over age 50. This vitamin can build up in the body. Overdoses are dangerous. The upper daily limit considered safe is 4,000 IU per day for adults.
CostVitamin D is a fairly inexpensive supplement. In addition, oily fish and dairy products are good sources of vitamin D, and sunlight helps the body make vitamin D.
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Warning
Correction:

A previous version of the online leaflets mentioned a daily intake of vitamin D which was higher than normally recommended. Please note that Vitamin D can build up in the body and high doses may become toxic. The information about vitamin D has been amended.

attendvisitAttend Classes / Visit Practitioner


pencil Exercise

OverviewThere are three types of exercise: aerobic, strengthening and flexibility. Vigorous exercise classes, such as aerobics, stepping and walking, make the heart and lungs work harder. Strengthening exercises make muscles work against resistance. Stretching exercises, such as Tai Chi, Qigong and yoga, won't make you fitter but they do have a wonderfully relaxing effect on the body and mind, and they make your joints more flexible.

If you haven't been active for some time, you should start slowly and build up. If you have heart or chest problems, get medical advice first. For more information see the information on exercise in the 'Make Simple Changes' section.

Research suggests that people with FMS find strength training for 12 weeks improves pain, tender points and well-being but does not help with stiffness. The research on flexibility training is poor so it's not clear whether it helps.

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attendvisit Acupuncture

OverviewAcupuncture is a traditional treatment that was first used in China thousands of years ago. Thin needles are inserted into the skin at certain points on the body, which practitioners believe will help restore health. The treatment sometimes also involves heat, pressure, electrical currents or soft-laser light. In the UK, acupuncture is most commonly used for pain relief.
EvidenceSome small low-quality studies seemed to show that acupuncture (particularly electro-acupuncture) may help with pain.
SafetyAcupuncture is generally safe if practised by a trained acupuncturist. The most common side-effects are slight discomfort (common) and bruising (occasionally).
CostA session may cost £35-£50. Frequency of treatment will depend on you and your practitioner.
Find out moreThe following professional organisations can help you find a qualified practitioner:
Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists
British Academy of Western Medical Acupuncture
British Acupuncture Council
British Medical Acupuncture Society
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attendvisit Chiropractic

OverviewChiropractic is an approach to treatment based on the idea that illness stems from misalignment of the spinal column. Treatment often involves spinal manipulation.
EvidenceThere is very little research testing whether chiropractic might help with fibromyalgia.
SafetyThe most common side effect is mild discomfort in the area treated, but this should only last a short time. It is important to find a properly qualified and registered chiropractor.
CostA session may cost £35-£50. Frequency of treatment will depend on you and your practitioner.
Find out moreAll chiropractors have to be registered with The General Chiropractic Council
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attendvisit Homeopathy

OverviewThe basic principle of homeopathy is that like cures like. Homeopaths use tiny amounts of medicine, which are supposed to jolt the body's self-healing processes into action. Homeopathy has been called 'unscientific' because homeopathic remedies are sometimes diluted (watered down) so many times that no detectable trace of medicine remains.
EvidenceAlthough it has been suggested that treatment by a homeopath might help patients manage their condition, this has not been proved.
SafetyHomeopathic medicines prescribed by trained professionals are safe. Some patients complain of mild worsening of their symptoms but this generally only lasts a short time.
CostThe monthly cost will depend on how regularly you receive treatment. A session with a qualified homeopath varies from £20-£50.
Find out moreThere are a number of professional organisations covering homeopathy:
The British Homeopathic Association
Faculty of Homeopathy
The Society of Homeopaths
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attendvisit Massage

OverviewThere are many different types of massage, some more vigorous and going deeper into the muscles than others. Massage has traditionally been used for relaxation. It may be just on one part of the body (for example, the back and shoulders), or it can be done on the whole body. Aromatherapy massage uses pleasant-smelling essential oils.
EvidenceMassage may help with pain, although only limited research has been carried out on this. It may also help with general well-being and relaxation.
SafetyMassage is safe if carried out by a qualified massage therapist, and it rarely causes problems. Vigorous massage should be avoided if you have blood disorders, some forms of cancer, skin problems or are on blood-thinning medications (such as warfarin). Allergies or skin irritation can occur with some essential oils used in massage.
CostMonthly cost will depend on how regularly you receive treatments.
Find out moreIt is important to find a qualified practitioner such as one registered with The General Council for Massage Therapies
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attendvisit Osteopathy

OverviewOsteopathy is an established hands-on diagnosis and treatment method, whose main emphasis is on the way the muscles and joints work. Its main feature is that it recognises that pain and disability often stems from physical strains and tensions in the body, rather than from damage caused by disease. Osteopathy focuses on whole body health by treating and strengthening the musculoskeletal framework. This includes the joints, muscles and spine. The aim is to positively affect the body's nervous, circulatory and lymphatic systems.
EvidenceOne very small study seemed to show that osteopathy improved symptoms.
SafetySide effects are rare and mainly linked to manipulation of the neck. Some mild after-effects from treatment can happen (aches) but they usually last less than 48 hours.
CostMonthly cost will depend on how regularly you visit your osteopath. An hourly session with an osteopath varies from between £25-£50.
Find out moreAll qualified osteopaths are registered with The General Osteopathic Council
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attendvisit Psychological therapies

OverviewWhen people think of 'talking therapies' they usually mean either counselling or psychotherapy. Counselling and psychotherapy aim to help people change thoughts, feelings and attitudes. Counsellors help you talk about difficult feelings and understand conflict. It can be helpful just to have time alone with a counsellor to talk in confidence about how you feel. Spending time reflecting on problems often brings insight and puts things into perspective. Psychotherapy helps people learn better ways of thinking or behaving that can reduce their symptoms, disability and distress. Some psychotherapists are trained to help you explore possible causes of distress or symptoms in your past. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is the type of psychotherapy that is currently most widely available in the NHS.

Instead of exploring causes of distress or symptoms in the past (like many other types of therapy), CBT looks for ways to improve your state of mind right now. The therapist does this by helping you spot unhelpful thought processes and change them. The Royal College of Psychiatrists says "CBT can help you to change how you think ('cognitive') and what you do ('behavioural')". For instance, CBT can help you make sense of what seem like overwhelming problems by breaking them down into smaller parts. This makes it easier to see how they are connected and how they affect you.

Treatment with CBT for FMS aims to ease the symptoms, and 'turn down the pain volume' by reducing central sensitisation. You might find it helpful to try using a range of approaches - such as painkillers combined with mind-body approaches like yoga or meditation, and psychological methods such as CBT, as well as lifestyle changes that help reduce stress and promote well-being. The evidence that complementary therapies can help FMS is not strong but they certainly help some people.
EvidenceA number of good studies have shown that CBT can improve problems related to chronic pain.
SafetyThese techniques are generally safe if carried out by or under the guidance of a qualified counsellor or psychologist.
CostIn most areas your GP can refer you for CBT or a psychological therapist in the NHS. There are often long waiting lists. A session of CBT or psychological therapy may cost between £20-£50. Frequency will depend on you and your therapist. A typical course of CBT lasts between 6-12 weekly sessions.
Find out moreIt is important to find a qualified counsellor or psychologist. Contact The British Psychological Society
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attendvisit Qigong

OverviewQigong uses slow graceful movements and controlled breathing techniques. It is often confused with Tai Chi, which is also from China, but Qigong is usually much slower.
EvidenceQigong therapy seems to reduce pain and improve movement. But you have to be taught and supervised to do it effectively. It may not be as helpful as aerobic exercise.
SafetySupervised exercise programmes are safe for most people, although at first you might feel more tired. Anyone with severe osteoporosis, joint problems, acute back pain or recent injuries should avoid strenuous exercise.
CostOnce you have learned the movements, you can do this at home, at no cost.
Find out moreClasses are run in most areas both by private tutors and by adult education services.
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attendvisit Tai Chi

OverviewTai Chi is also known as 'moving meditation' It is a series of slow, graceful, controlled movements, which develop strength, balance, posture and inner peace. It is a discipline that has to be learned in a class from a teacher and can then be practised at home.
Evidence In a recent 12-week Tai Chi programme, the 66 patients with FMS who did Tai Chi experienced significantly greater improvement than those who only did stretching and classes teaching about wellbeing. We need more research to be sure about this, but the early signs are that Tai Chi could help you if you have FMS.
SafetyTai Chi is safe for most people. Though Tai Chi is slow and gentle, anyone with severe osteoporosis, joint problems, acute back pain or recent injuries should avoid strenuous exercise and build up gently.
CostOnce you have learned the movements, you can do this at home, at no cost.
Find out moreClasses are run in most areas by both private tutors and by adult education services or you can contact the The Tai Chi Union.
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attendvisit Yoga

OverviewYoga, as taught in the UK, generally includes physical postures or stretches, breathing techniques, meditation and relaxation. There are several different types of yoga. Some of them are mainly based on the physical exercises (some types are much more strenuous than others). Others focus more on meditation.
EvidenceTwo small studies suggest that gentle yoga can help reduce pain and possibly other symptoms in patients with fibromyalgia.
SafetyYoga is generally safe when practiced appropriately and at the right level. Classes are run for different ability levels so look for one that is right for you. Yoga stretches should be increased slowly. If in doubt, check with your doctor, osteopath or physiotherapist. Avoid with severe osteoporosis or acute joint or back pain, or recent injuries.
CostBut once you have learned the techniques you can do this at home.
Find out moreClasses are run in most areas by both private tutors and by adult education services. To find a qualified teacher near you see also the The Yoga Alliance
and the The British Wheel of Yoga.
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