The Effectiveness of Acupuncture in the Treatment of Fibromyalgia.

The journal Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine (March-April 2006) published the results of a clinical trial to measure the effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of the symptoms of Fibromyalgia. The study was conducted at the Southern California University of Health Sciences, Whittier, CA.

Background: Fibromyalgia is a disorder associated with musculoskeletal and neurological symptoms associated with pain, altered moods, and generalized disability. There are few generally accepted treatments plans. Fibromyalgia occurs predominately in women, and the triggering factors are not known.

Study Design: There were 21 patients with an average age of 53.6 years that completed the study. Data measurements were taken at the beginning, after one month and after two months of treatment. A total of 17 acupuncture point associated with common Fibromyalgia symptoms were identified and used for treatment. Eight outcomes were measured by the use of the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ).

Study Results: The Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ) showed significant differences at both 1 and 2 months, with four of six items significantly changed. The average number of general health symptoms reported by patients was significantly decreased by 2 months. For the Catastrophe Index, significant differences were found after 2 months. Pain threshold scores were significantly reduced after 2 months for 5 bilateral tender points. There was significant improvement in measures of Depression (Beck score) for both the 1- and 2-month measurement periods.

In a statistical analysis of five factors, the age of the patient and the initial level of the FIQ score were found to be significant in the outcome of the results. The higher the initial FIQ score, the greater were the positive results reported for acupuncture treatment by patients. The number of weeks the patients had previously been treated, the number of doctors they had seen and the number of general symptoms they had reported did not seem to predict the result score changes for the patient.

Conclusion: Acupuncture treatment was effective at reducing FMS symptoms in this clinical study. Significant improvements were reported with 8 weeks of treatment.

Authors: Singh BB, Wu WS, Hwang SH, Khorsan R, Der-Martirosian C, Vinjamury SP, Wang CN, Lin SY.
Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 2006 Mar-Apr; 12(2):34-41.

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