A study done by the researchers of the Mayo Clinic had said that it is possible to treat people suffering from fibromyalgia with techniques of acupuncture. Their results will be presented in the 11th World Congress of the International Association for the Study of Pain in Sydney, Australia.
Acupuncture could fill a gap in available therapies for the disease as something additive to what medications already can provide.
The study, conducted by Mayo Clinic physicians specializing in pain management, included 50 patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia for whom other symptom-relief treatments were ineffective. The patients were randomly assigned to receive acupuncture or simulated acupuncture and were not informed which treatment they received; these treatments were administered in six sessions over two to three weeks.
All patients were given questionnaires before treatment, immediately after treatment, and at one and seven months after treatment to determine the degree of symptoms they experienced and how the disease affected their daily lives.
Patients who received acupuncture experienced minimal side effects. Following treatments, symptoms of pain, fatigue and anxiety were most significantly improved in the patients given acupuncture. At seven months post-treatment, the patients' symptoms of pain, anxiety and fatigue had returned to baseline levels; the patients experienced the largest improvement at one month following treatment.
Researchers feel that acupuncture affects symptoms such as anxiety and fatigue because it may target the root cause and not the daily symptoms of fibromyalgia.
The Mayo Clinic researchers noted that although the patients saw improvement in symptoms, which had reduced activity level, physical function did not increase even though the patients were less tired and felt less pain.