Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study finds acupuncture relieves symptoms of fibromyalgia

25.08.2005


Fibromyalgia patients treated with six sessions of acupuncture experienced significant symptomatic improvement compared to a group given simulated acupuncture sessions according to a new Mayo Clinic study. The findings will be presented at the 11th World Congress of the International Association for the Study of Pain in Sydney, Australia.

"This study shows there is something real about acupuncture and its effects on fibromyalgia," says David Martin, M.D., Ph.D., Mayo Clinic anesthesiologist and the study’s lead investigator. "Our study was performed on patients with moderate to severe fibromyalgia. It’s my speculation that if acupuncture works for these patients with recalcitrant fibromyalgia -- where previous treatments had not provided satisfactory relief -- it would likely work for many of the millions of fibromyalgia patients."

Acupuncture could fill a gap in available therapies for the disease as something additive to what medications already can provide, says Dr. Martin. "There’s not a cure available, so patients are often left somewhat frustrated by continuing pain and fatigue," he says. "Acupuncture is one of the few things shown to be effective for these symptoms. It may be particularly attractive to patients who are unable to take medications because of intolerable side effects."



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.

"We expected the acupuncture to improve the pain," says Dr. Martin. "We didn’t really expect the largest benefit to be in fatigue or anxiety."

Dr. Martin hypothesizes that acupuncture affects symptoms such as anxiety and fatigue because it may target the root cause and not the daily symptoms of fibromyalgia. "In a Western view of medicine, we’re modulating sensory input through acupuncture," he says. "Whenever there’s an input to the nervous system, it responds and adapts to the input -- sometimes in ways that are beneficial to patients. This is not so different from the traditional Eastern explanation of acupuncture that describes needles as altering the flow of life energy, called Qi."

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. "This doesn’t surprise me, as we see this pattern in other chronic pain problems: you can relieve pain, but it’s a lot harder to prompt activity changes," says Dr. Martin. "A chronically ill person needs more than symptom relief to resume a normal lifestyle. We’re now beginning to work on that problem."

Dr. Martin indicates that he believes the study patients would have seen sustained improvement with ongoing acupuncture. "It’s a reasonable expectation that if they received more acupuncture after two to three months, they would have maintained their improvement," he says. "Acupuncture usually works for about three months, and then patients need a less-intensive treatment session. These patients would need more acupuncture periodically for as long as they experience fibromyalgia symptoms."

The patients were unable to guess whether they had been given the real or the simulated acupuncture. "This was critical, because this had been a shortcoming of other previous studies with acupuncture -- the simulated acupuncture treatments were not believable to the patients," says Dr. Martin.

He explains that fibromyalgia patients have a nervous system disorder in which they have a "revved up pain threshold" which is exacerbated by stress and inadequate sleep. "You can take blood tests, X-rays, muscle tests, and you will find nothing abnormal," he says. "Many fibromyalgia patients suffer suspicion from their spouses and friends that their symptoms are ’all in their head’ or that they lack sufficient will or fortitude to meet their obligations to work, family and friends. Usually it comes as a welcome diagnosis when these patients learn it’s fibromyalgia. Then they can learn ways to cope with the disorder and gain strength from sharing with others who have the same problems."

Dr. Martin describes the patients in this study as moderately debilitated. "Many have given up work, a lot of recreational activities, and made adjustments in their lives," he says. "They have had a significant psychological burden as a result of the loss of these activities; it’s become part of their identities."

Dr. Martin says he’d recommend acupuncture for patients who are receptive to the concept. The acupuncture used in this study is available in most communities. Dr. Martin says that to find a qualified acupuncturist, "Talk to your doctor. Many physicians are open to complementary medical techniques and can refer you to qualified practitioners in your area. There are also excellent resources on the Internet from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (http://nccam.nih.gov)."

Joining Dr. Martin in this research were Mayo Clinic investigators Christopher Sletten, Ph.D.; Ines Berger, M.D. (currently practicing at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta); and Brent Williams.

Lisa Lucier | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.mayoclinic.com
http://www.iasp-pain.org
http://www.mayo.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Innovative genetic tests for children with developmental disorders and epilepsy
11.07.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

nachricht Oxygen loss in the coastal Baltic Sea is “unprecedentedly severe”
05.07.2018 | European Geosciences Union

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts

18.07.2018 | Life Sciences

Machine-learning predicted a superhard and high-energy-density tungsten nitride

18.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

Why might reading make myopic?

18.07.2018 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>