Internet-Based Intervention for Self-Management in Fibromyalgia Syndrome

Monday, 9 November 2015: 3:15 PM

Nada Lukkahatai, PhD, MSN, RN
School of Nursing, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV, USA

Background: Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is primarily characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, accompanied by fatigue, cognitive dysfunction and sleep deprivation; the etiology of FMS is unclear. Due to a lack of understanding of the disorder, patients often rely on technology, specifically the World Wide Web, as a resource for health information and support to manage symptoms (Fox, 2008). It has been used as a delivery platform for several chronic conditions (Cuijpers, van Straten, & Andersson, 2008).

Purpose: The purpose of this systematic review was to (a) identify web-based self-management interventions for adult patients with FMS, and (b) the effectiveness of these interventions.

Methods: A literature search was performed using PubMed and PsyINFO, for internet- or web-based interventions and fibromyalgia. After the initial results of 96 articles, studies that included children and/or used a descriptive study design were excluded from this review. Inclusion criteria included (a) interventions were delivered through the web or internet, (b) participants were adult (age 18 or older) diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

Findings:After an initial screen a total of 15 articles which met criteria were selected to be included in this analysis. Web-based interventions used to enhance self-management included (1) educational, (2) group support, (3) self-monitoring, (4) mindfulness, (5) situational feedback, and (6) cognitive behavioral therapy. Three of the 15 studies delivered the web-based intervention through a smart-phone. All studies suggested that web-based interventions increased patient’s knowledge, improved self-management, and decreased the impact of fibromyalgia on quality of life. Studies reported that web-based self-management interventions reduced fibromyalgia symptoms such as pain, memory, depression, fatigue, and sleep difficulties over time.

Conclusions/Implications: Web-based interventions can be an effective resource for the delivery of patient education and support. This technology has a great potential to impact the global health care system by becoming a tool to deliver support for self-management. However, when developing a web-based intervention, patient involvement is recommended during the program development phase. Specifically, programs need to be tailored to meet individual needs.