Jamie Gisby

Personalised acupuncture has long term benefits for fibromyalgia

fibromyalgiaSpanish researchers have found that personalised acupuncture has long term benefits for fibromyalgia, providing pain relief and improved quality of life.

What is Fibromyalgia?

According to NHS Choices:

Fibromyalgia, also called fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), is a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body.

As well as widespread pain, people with fibromyalgia may also have:

  • increased sensitivity to pain
  • fatigue (extreme tiredness)
  • muscle stiffness
  • difficulty sleeping
  • problems with mental processes (known as “fibro-fog”) – such as problems with memory and concentration
  • headaches
  • irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) – a digestive condition that causes stomach pain and bloating

The Research Study into The Benefits of Acupuncture for Fibromyalgia.

Spanish researchers randomly assigned 164 fibromyalgia patients to receive either individualised acupuncture (IA) or sham acupuncture (SA). Sham acupuncture is a form of ‘pretend’ acupuncture used by researchers to investigate the effects of acupuncture over and above that of placebo.  Both groups received one treatment session per week in addition to usual drug treatment, for 10 weeks. Outcomes were assessed at baseline, 10 weeks, six months and 12 months.

At the end of the treatment period, those receiving IA reported a significant decrease in pain intensity compared with the sham group (41.2% vs 27.1%). This difference between the two groups in terms of reduction in pain scores persisted at 12-month follow up (19.9% in the treatment group compared with 6.1% in the sham group).

Fibromyalgia impact scores, fatigue, anxiety and depression were also found to be significantly better in the IA group across all time points.

Researcher’s conclusions.

Individualised acupuncture treatment in primary care in patients with fibromyalgia proved efficacious in terms of pain relief, compared with placebo treatment. The effect persisted at 1 year, and its side effects were mild and infrequent. Therefore, the use of individualised acupuncture in patients with fibromyalgia is recommended.

Acupuncture for fibromyalgia in primary care: a randomised controlled trial. Acupunct Med. 2016 Feb 15. pii: acupmed-2015-010950.

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