Acupuncture Relieves Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

Needles against needless pain
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The study involved 50 fibromyalgia patients enrolled in a randomised, controlled trial to determine if acupuncture improved their symptoms. Symptoms of patients who received acupuncture significantly improved compared with the control group, according to the study. "The results of the study convince me there is something more than the placebo effect to acupuncture," says David Martin, M.D., Ph.D., lead author of the acupuncture article and a Mayo Clinic anaesthesiologist. "It affirms a lot of clinical impressions that this complementary medical technique is helpful for patients."

Increasingly, patients are interested in pursuing complementary medicine techniques in conjunction with their mainstream medical care, Martin says. But often, such techniques lack scientific evidence to justify a patient's expense and time. The study lends credence to patients' belief that nontraditional methods may improve their health. In the trial, patients who received acupuncture to counter their fibromyalgia symptoms reported improvement in fatigue and anxiety, among other symptoms. Acupuncture was well tolerated, with minimal side effects.

The acupuncture study is one of only three randomised and controlled studies involving fibromyalgia patients. Of the other studies, one found acupuncture to be helpful, while the other reported it was ineffective for pain relief.

Martin says Mayo's study demonstrates that acupuncture is helpful, and also proves physicians can conduct a rigorous, controlled acupuncture study. Future research could help physicians understand which medical conditions respond best to acupuncture, how to apply it to best relieve symptoms, and how long patients can expect to their symptoms to decrease after each treatment.; Source: Mayo Clinic