Study: Acupuncture No Help for Fibromyalgia

| October 1, 2012 | 0 Comments | 33 views

July 5, 2005 -- Traditional Chinese acupuncture may have little effect atrelieving the pain of fibromyalgia.

Researchers compared the effects of true acupuncture to three forms of fakeacupuncture in people with fibromyalgia. They found true acupuncture didn'toffer any significant pain relief benefits compared with the shamtreatments.

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition affecting up to 4% of the U.S.population. It causes pain and tenderness in the muscles and joints.

Researchers estimate that 60%-90% of people with fibromyalgia usecomplementary or alternative treatments to treat their symptoms. Of those, asmany as one in five has tried acupuncture for pain relief.

However, previous studies of acupuncture in fibromyalgia treatment haveproduced inconclusive results, in part because the participants were aware ofwhether or not they received the treatment. In studies of pain relieftreatments, a placebo effect is common in which participants report pain reliefif they think they received the actual treatment (even if they only received aplacebo).

Acupuncture Fails for Fibromyalgia

To avoid such placebo-effect problems in this study, researchers comparedthe effects of true acupuncture, as performed by a trained and licensedacupuncturist, to three different fake forms of acupuncture in 100 people withfibromyalgia. The results appear in the July 5 issue of the Annals ofInternal Medicine.

The sham acupuncture treatments included needles inserted at points fortreating a different condition, inserting needles at points that are notacupuncture points, and using needle-like devices that did not pierce theskin.

Each of the participants received one of the four treatments twice weeklyfor 12 weeks. The participants were also allowed to continue any otherfibromyalgia treatments they were using before the study began.

The participants rated their pain on a scale of 1 (no pain) to 10 (worstpain ever) at several points during the 12-week study.

The study showed no differences in pain relief between the four treatmentgroups.

Researchers say the study may have been too small to detect smalldifferences between treatment groups, but their results show that acupuncturein itself does not provide significant pain relief benefits in treatingfibromyalgia.

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