Q. Does acupuncture work to relieve fibromyalgia pain?
A. It might—although it can be difficult to manage pain associated with fibromyalgia since we do not fully understand very much about this condition.
A study published in Acupuncture in Medicine in 2016 found that patients with fibromyalgia who received acupuncture treatment had a significant decrease in pain intensity, compared with those who received a placebo treatment. The effect lasted at least a year, and any side effects were mild and rare.
The study examined 153 adults over age 17 who had never received acupuncture treatment for their fibromyalgia. They were randomly assigned to receive either individualized acupuncture treatment or a sham intervention in a 20-minute weekly session for 10 weeks while continuing their usual drug treatments.
The acupuncture group reported a 41 percent decrease in pain intensity after 10 weeks, compared with 27 percent for the group receiving sham treatment. After 12 months, the acupuncture group still showed significantly better pain reduction—nearly 20 percent—compared with 6 percent for the placebo group.
If you are looking for pain management strategies for fibromyalgia, adding acupuncture to your toolkit is worth considering.
Jane Langille is an award-winning health and medical writer based in the Toronto area. She writes on a broad range of health topics, including arthritis, cancer, heart health, food, fitness, precision medicine, and clinical trials. Find her on Twitter: @janelangille.