According to the National Fibromyalgia Association, fibromyalgia is one of the most chronic pain conditions. They say, “the disorder affects an estimated 10 million people in the U.S. and an estimated 3%-6% of the world population. While it is most prevalent in women (75%-90% of people who have fibromyalgia are women), it also occurs in men and children of all ethnic groups.”
Acupuncture for the treatment of fibromyalgia has increased in popularity in recent years, especially as more research has demonstrated the benefits of acupuncture treatment. According to a 2013 study, one in five people with fibromyalgia seek acupuncture treatment within two years of the diagnosis.
Fibromyalgia is notoriously difficult to treat and many who suffer from this disorder have difficulty tolerating the drugs and supplements commonly used. More and more people are turning to complementary and alternative treatment options to relive their symptoms and acupuncture has found its niche.
There are several benefits to using acupuncture to treat fibromyalgia. Benefits include lowering pain levels, improving sleep, stimulating the immune system, relaxation, and generally better health through achieving a balance of energy throughout the body.
A Cochrane research review actually found that another type of acupuncture treatment called EA or electroacupuncture appeared to be even more effective at treating fibromyalgia than traditional acupuncture. Electroacupuncture uses an electronic device to deliver a small current between pairs of needles. The research review found that EA improved patients’ pain, stiffness, sleep, fatigue, and overall wellbeing.
A 2019 review found that, “acupuncture therapy is an effective and safe treatment for patients with fibromyalgia,” and that “this treatment can be recommended for the management of fibromyalgia.” The study concluded that, “acupuncture was more effective in the short and long term than conventional fibromyalgia medications and that no serious side effects were found.”
A 2018 trial suggested acupuncture was great at relieving the symptoms of fibromyalgia because it changes the levels of neurotransmitters critical to fibromyalgia. The first was serotonin, which impacts pain processing, the sleep cycle, alertness, appetite, mood, digestion and sex drive. All of which are believed to be low in those with fibromyalgia. The second was called “substance P” which is released when nerve cells detect painful stimuli which are typically elevated in those with fibromyalgia.
Even the Mayo Clinic encourages those with fibromyalgia to try acupuncture. Dr. Brent A Bauer said that “fibromyalgia can be difficult to treat, and a combination of treatments may be necessary to control your symptoms. If you’re having trouble finding relief for your fibromyalgia pain, it may be worth trying acupuncture.” He also noted that “when performed by a trained practitioner, acupuncture has few risks.”
If you suffer from fibromyalgia and have found your symptoms to be overwhelming and detrimental to your quality of life, follow the research and give acupuncture a try. Your practitioner will go over a detailed health history to determine the right course of treatment specifically designed to meet your needs. Don’t spend another day in pain and exhaustion. Reach out and make an appointment today.