Whole-Body Photobiomodulation Therapy for Fibromyalgia: A Feasibility Trial


Effective treatment for fibromyalgia (FM) is lacking and further treatment options are needed. Photobiomodulation therapy (PBMT) represents one potential treatment option. Whilst favourable findings have been reported using localised PBMT, no investigations have established the value of whole-body PBMT for the complete set of symptom domains in FM. A single-arm feasibility study was conducted in accordance with CONSORT (Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials) guidelines. A non-probability sampling method was used to access individuals with FM. The primary outcome measure was identified as the Revised Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQR). Forty-nine participants were screened and twenty-one trial participants entered the trial. Nineteen participants completed the intervention (18 whole-body PBMT sessions over approximately six weeks). Descriptive statistics and qualitative analysis was undertaken to represent feasibility outcomes. Acceptability of the trial device and processes were established. Outcome measures towards efficacy data were guided by core and peripheral OMERACT (outcomes measures in rheumatological clinical trials) domains, utilising a combination of participant-reported and performance-based outcome measures. Data for the embedded qualitative component of the trial were captured by participant-reported experience measures and audio-recorded semi-structured interviews. Positive changes were observed for FM-specific quality of life, pain, tenderness, stiffness, fatigue, sleep disturbance, anxiety, depression and cognitive impairment. Patient global assessment revealed improvements at 6 weeks, with continued effect at 24 weeks. FM-specific quality of life at 24 weeks remained improved compared with baseline scores. The findings provided evidence to support a full-scale trial and showed promise regarding potential efficacy of this novel non-invasive treatment in an FM population.