Acupuncture for fibromyalgia provides relief of pain, fatigue and anxiety among other symptoms according to the latest clinical research.
Our own experience in the clinic is that fibromyalgia pain management is best achieved with frequent and ongoing acupuncture treatment. Frequent treatment is a minimum of once a week to begin, with most patients spacing out less frequently as their symtpoms improve.
In 2002 researchers from the Mayo Clinic conducted a study on the effectiveness acupuncture for fibromyalgia.(1) The study involved fifty patients who met American College of Rheumatology criteria for fibromyalgia and had tried conservative symptomatic treatments other than acupuncture.
The authors write: “Total fibromyalgia symptoms, as measured by the FIQ, were significantly improved in the acupuncture group compared with the control group during the study period (P = .01). The largest difference in mean FIQ total scores was observed at 1 month (42.2 vs 34.8 in the control and acupuncture groups, respectively; P = .007). Fatigue and anxiety were the most significantly improved symptoms during the follow-up period.”
A Brazilian study (2) showed that at the end of 20 sessions, patients who received acupuncture were significantly better than the control group in all measures of pain and in 5 of the SF-36 subscales. After 6 months, the acupuncture group was significantly better than the control group in numbers of tender points, mean pressure pain threshold at the 18 tender points and 3 subscales of SF-36. After one year, the acupuncture group showed significance in one subscale of the SF-36; at 2 years there were no significant differences in any outcome measures.
This supports our contention that fibromyalgia pain management patients do better with frequent, ongoing acupuncture therapy.
A study conducted at USC, with 21 fibromyalgia participants concluded that “significant improvement was experienced by participants at 8 weeks of treatment. Acupuncture treatment as delivered was effective at reducing FMS symptoms in this outcome study.” (3)
Clearly larger studies are needed, but given the lack of effective treatment, I recommend that my family members and friends with fibromyalgia seek frequent acupuncture treatment over an extended period.
1. Mayo Clin Proc. 2006 Jun;81(6):749-57
2. J Rehabil Med. 2008 Jul;40(7):582-8
3. Altern Ther Health Med. 2006 Mar-Apr;12(2):34-41
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