Treatment of Fibromyalgia with Acupuncture
16 May 2008
Fibromyalgia is a chronic painful musculoskeletal syndrome of unknown aetiology, characterised by generalised pains in the connective tissues of the body and specific area of knotted muscle fibre - called "trigger points", which are especially painful. It is generally treated with a combination of analgesics and vigorous massage.
(1) A new study has been carried out to assess the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating pain levels and decreasing the number of tender points in fibromylagia patients. Twenty nine patients with at least a six year history of fibromylagia were given acupuncture and tested by using a pain scale and by dolorimetry (a method of measuring pain perception in degrees ranging from unpleasant to unbearable by using heat applied to the skin). No other pain medication was taken. Pain levels were found to decrease from 64.0 to 34.5 after acupuncture, with a decrease in the number of tender points from 16.0 to 11.8. Results also showed an increase in certain blood chemicals (serotonin and substance P) which help to regulate pain. (Pain treatment of fibromyalgia by acupuncture. Sprott H, Franke S, Kluge H, Hein G. Rheumatol Int 1998;18(1):35- 36).
(2) A recent review of the literature on the treatment of fibromyalgia using acupuncture showed improvements in the myalgic index, in the number of trigger points, and in quality of life for the patients. (Current Pain Headache Report 2002;6(5):379-83).