Acupuncture Could Help Against Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is characterized by widespread, often intense pain and tenderness over various parts of the body. Over 5 million Americans are believed to have it, and there is no cure.
But it’s not all bad news. Just recently, a study conducted at Do?a Mercedes Primary Health Centre, in Seville, Spain found that tailored acupuncture might provide some welcome relief. “Tailored” acupuncture merely indicates that each course of treatment is altered to suit the individual needs of each fibromyalgia patient.
The research team compared tailored acupuncture against “sham” acupuncture in 153 patients. Sham acupuncture involved using the same guide tubes as the genuine acupuncture group, but without inserting needles. The sham treatment solely focused on the dorsal and lumbar regions.
Each patient (sham and tailored) received 20-minute-long treatments, once weekly for nine weeks. The participants completed questionnaires rating various parameters such as levels of pain, depression and the impact of the disease on their lives.
At the 10-week mark, the tailored acupuncture group reported a 41 percent drop in pain, whereas the sham acupuncture group reported a 27 percent reduction. Twelve months later, the effect was still apparent. The tailored group and sham group reported 20 percent and 6 percent reductions in pain, respectively.
Impact of fibromyalgia on participant quality of life responses told the same story across the three time points. The tailored group reported reductions in the disease's negative impact of 35 percent, 25 percent and 22 percent; the sham acupuncture group, at the same points in time, registered reductions of 24.5 percent, 11 percent and 5 percent.
Also, general measures of anxiety, fatigue and depression were significantly better at the 10-week mark for the tailored acupuncture group.