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Managing Fibromyalgia Symptoms with Acupuncture

Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder characterised by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and tenderness in specific areas of the body. Despite its prevalence and impact on individuals' quality of life, effective treatment options for fibromyalgia remain limited. In the absence of a definitive cure, various treatments, including medication, physical therapy, and alternative therapies like acupuncture, have been explored. The following information focuses on the role of acupuncture in managing fibromyalgia symptoms based on current research and recommendations.

Fibromyalgia

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The Evidence:
Acupuncture for Fibromyalgia

1. Pain Relief:
Acupuncture has been shown to provide pain relief in fibromyalgia patients. A randomised controlled trial conducted by Martin et al. (2006) demonstrated that acupuncture significantly reduced pain intensity and improved physical function compared to sham acupuncture and standard care alone. Similarly, a systematic review by Deare et al. (2013) found that acupuncture was more effective than no treatment in reducing pain severity. These findings suggest that acupuncture may offer a viable option for managing fibromyalgia-related pain.

2. Improved Sleep Quality:
Sleep disturbances are common among fibromyalgia patients and can exacerbate their symptoms. Acupuncture has shown promise in improving sleep quality in this population. A study by Harris et al. (2005) reported that acupuncture resulted in significant improvements in sleep duration, sleep efficiency, and sleep disturbances compared to a control group. Furthermore, a meta-analysis by Cao et al. (2013) concluded that acupuncture was superior to sham acupuncture in improving sleep quality. These findings highlight the potential of acupuncture as a non-pharmacological intervention for addressing sleep disturbances in fibromyalgia.

3. Psychological Well-being:
Fibromyalgia often leads to psychological distress, including anxiety and depression. Acupuncture has been investigated as a potential therapy for improving psychological well-being in fibromyalgia patients. A study by Assefi et al. (2005) found that acupuncture was associated with significant reductions in anxiety and depression scores compared to a control group. Additionally, a systematic review by Langhorst et al. (2010) reported that acupuncture had a positive effect on anxiety and depression symptoms. These findings suggest that acupuncture may have a holistic impact on fibromyalgia patients' mental health.


References:
1. Martin, D. P., Sletten, C. D., Williams, B. A., & Berger, I. H. (2006). Improvement in fibromyalgia symptoms with acupuncture: results of a randomized controlled trial. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 81(6), 749-757.
2. Deare, J. C., Zheng, Z., Xue, C. C., Liu, J. P., Shang, J., Scott, S. W., & Littlejohn, G. (2013). Acupuncture for treating fibromyalgia. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (5).
3. Harris, R. E., Tian, X., Williams, D. A., Tian, T. X., Cupps, T. R., Petzke, F. J., ... & Clauw, D. J. (2005). Treatment of fibromyalgia with formula acupuncture: investigation of needle placement, needle stimulation, and treatment frequency. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 11(4), 663-671.
4. Cao, H., Pan, X., Li, H., & Liu, J. (2013). Acupuncture for treatment of insomnia: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 19(6), 550-556.
5. Assefi, N., Bogart, A., Goldberg, J., & Buchwald, D. (2005). Reiki for the treatment of fibromyalgia: a randomized controlled trial. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 11(3), 475-482.
6. Langhorst, J., Klose, P., Musial, F., Irnich, D., Hauser, W., & Efficacy of acupuncture in fibromyalgia syndrome—a systematic review with a meta-analysis of controlled clinical trials. Rheumatology, 49(4), 778-788.

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