Acupuncture: Could It Provide Relief For Fibromyalgia Patients?

First Posted: Feb 18, 2016 12:17 PM EST

Acupuncture treatments may provide relief from fibromyalgia, according to a recent study.

Researchers at the Pain Treatment Unit at the Dona Mercedes Primary Health Center in Seville found that nine weeks of personalized acupuncture for 20 minutes helped to reduce pain and improve function for people suffering from chronic pain disorder fibromyalgia.

"Doing so, it improves the results with the technique, as we demonstrate in our article where the result of the use of individualized acupuncture is far higher that standard acupuncture for these patients," lead study author Dr. Jorge Vas of the Pain Treatment Unit at Dona Mercedes Primary Health Center in Seville told Reuters. "In . . . our pain clinic, we give individualized acupuncture not only for fibromyalgia patients but also for any patient with different pathologies, and we can see the difference in the result with patients in which standard acupuncture is practiced."

The study specifically looked at 164 adults with fibromyalgia--otherwise known as a chronic, widespread pain disorder that affects close to 5 percent of individuals. Patients had all been referred to Vas' clinic from three primary care centers in southern Spain. 

Groups in the study were divided into two and received weekly 20-minute acupuncture sessions over nine weeks. One group received personalized acupuncture while the other received fake treatments from a therapist that mimicked the actions of acupuncture without using needles. 

Patients didn't know which group they were in, and they continued to take any fibromyalgia medications they had already been prescribed.

All the patients were interviewed, completed questionnaires and were physically examined before the study began, after 10 weeks, six months and one year later.

The study is published in the journal Acupuncture in Medicine.

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