Do you live with fibromyalgia? Does the pain keep you from living the life that you want? Are you looking for natural and alternative treatments that may lead to relief from your fibromyalgia symptoms? Have you considered acupuncture?
In this article, we are going to explore the role acupuncture can play in fibromyalgia, how well and efficiently it works for fibromyalgia, what it costs, and if it is the best choice for you.
Acupuncture for Fibromyalgia
From sleep difficulties, fatigue and pain, there are many symptoms of fibromyalgia. Acupuncture can be beneficial for alleviating all three of these main challenges for those living with fibromyalgia. These symptoms sometimes can also lead to depression and other mental health issues.
Why? Because feeling tired and being in pain on a regular basis can put a toll on how well a person handles day-to-day stressors and feelings of overwhelm can lead to depression and anxiety.
3 Fibromyalgia Symptoms Why Community Acupuncture is Used
What Does Acupuncture do for Fibromyalgia?
There are many things that acupuncture can do for people living with symptoms of fibromyalgia and help increase not only quality of life but also overall well being. According to this study, there are ways that acupuncture is helpful for fibromyalgia.
The study used a scale of 0-100 to develop an understanding of the impact acupuncture can have on different symptoms. In the study, the higher a number, and the closer the number was to 100, the more serve the symptom was experienced by participants.
6 Things Acupuncture Does for Fibromyalgia
It should be noted that the fact that the study found that people in the study experienced a six point drop in physical function suggests that acupuncture may not have a positive impact on physical function. But each person is different and what you experience may be different than the people in the study.
How Well Does Acupuncture Work for Fibromyalgia?
As you can see from the results of the study above, there is a role that acupuncture can play in alleviating the symptoms of fibromyalgia. But how well does it work?
Will you have the same results as the people in the study? Yes and no. Through acupuncture, you will most likely experience improvement and changes in the severity of symptoms. The degree you will experience improvement will depend on four different factors:
How often you go to acupuncture.
How long each acupuncture session you attend is.
The level you personally experience symptoms.
How your body responds to acupuncture.
The level of variability of these factors from person to person essentially means that the degree to which acupuncture works for fibromyalgia varies.
How Effective is Acupuncture for Fibromyalgia?
Considering the variables of how well acupuncture may work for fibromyalgia, people often find themselves wondering how effective of a treatment option. According to this one meta-analysis of over 523 trials, the following was concluded:
Compared with sham acupuncture, there was not enough evidence to prove the efficacy of acupuncture therapy for the treatment of fibromyalgia. Some evidence testified that the effectiveness of acupuncture therapy for fibromyalgia was superior to drugs; however, the included trials were not of high quality or had high bias risks. Acupuncture combined with drugs and exercise could increase pain thresholds in the short term, but there is a need for higher quality randomized controlled trials to further confirm this:
The meta-analysis could not conclude acupuncture as effective or non-effective.
There was evidence that when acupuncture treatment was compared to medication, acupuncture had a greater overall positive impact.
More higher quality randomized controlled trials were recommended to further an understanding of its efficiency and effectiveness.
Knowing this has not stopped one in five people living with fibromyalgia to try acupuncture for relief from their symptoms within two years of being diagnosed. So which acupuncture points are used when treating fibromyalgia pain?
8 Acupuncture Points for Fibromyalgia Pain
Many people want to know what the best acupuncture points for fibromyalgia are. There are eight acupuncture points that are often used for helping to alleviate the pain experienced by people diagnosed with fibromyalgia. The eight points were evaluated in this one study:
Bilateral St 36
Are Other Points Also Helpful?
Outside of the eight points explored in the study, there may be other points that are helpful for pain and other symptoms. Acupuncture treatment is often customized to each individual based on the training of the acupuncturist, your initial intake interview, and the treatment plan created for your needs.
How Many Acupuncture Treatments are Needed for Fibromyalgia?
People often want to know how many treatments will be needed. Again the answer to this question varies. Some people may start will see and feel a difference as soon as their first session comes to an end, others may find that four or more sessions will be needed. The best way to assess how many sessions will be needed, talk to your acupuncturist and communicate about the following three things:
1. What you are aiming to improve?
2. How many sessions they have seen others experience progress?
3. What they see as the best treatment plan?
How Often do you Need Acupuncture for Fibromyalgia?
Weekly sessions to start for a duration of 30-45 minutes per session were found effective. However, you may find that bi-weekly sessions are beneficial and meet your needs. This may be particularly true if you are seeing improvement after a few weekly sessions and would like to maintain the progress.
What Does Acupuncture for Fibromyalgia Cost?
The average cost per an acupuncture session can range from $75-$160. The total cost you may find yourself spending on acupuncture may be $280 to $1200 for weekly or bi-weekly acupuncture treatment for fibromyalgia. Don't let cost interfere or stop you from trying acupuncture. There are many ways to help make acupuncture affordable including:
Using community acupuncture
1. Do you Know Where the 18 tender Points for Fibromyalgia are on the Body?
If there is an acupuncturist that you find connected to and want to be treated by them but they do not know of the 18 tender points, that is not a deal breaker. Ask them if they would be willing to learn about them and if so, lead them to our guide: 18 tender Points for Fibromyalgia the Key to Successful Treatment
Want more information on acupuncture? Check out these other resources:
Bai, Y., Guo, Y., Wang, H., Chen, B., Wang, Z., Liu, Y., . . . Li, Y. (2014). Efficacy of acupuncture on fibromyalgia syndrome: A Meta-analysis. Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine,34(4), 381-391. doi:10.1016/s0254-6272(15)30037-6. Retrieved February 19, 2019, from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0254627215300376
Bonner, D. (2009). The 10 best questions for living with fibromyalgia the script you need to take control of your health. Retrieved February 19, 2019, from https://books.google.com/books?id=0543CXihqgYC&pg=PA125&lpg=PA125&dq=Site: gov acupuncture forfibromyalgia&source=bl&ots=O8zysNHl0X&sig=ACfU3U1_dDHHpRAcJqXZNTnfi_tyFP7HJg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjZtOD5wcjgAhVDJ30KHdQdAwYQ6AEwLnoECBMQAQ#v=onepage&q=Site: gov acupuncture for fibromyalgia&f=false
Chao, M. T., Tippens, K. M., & Connelly, E. (2012). Utilization of group-based, community acupuncture clinics: a comparative study with a nationally representative sample of acupuncture users. Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.), 18(6), 561-6. Retrieved February 14, 2019, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3390970/
Deare JC, Zheng Z, Xue CCL, Liu JP, Shang J, Scott SW, Littlejohn G. Acupuncture for treating fibromyalgia. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, Issue 5. Art. No.: https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD007070.pub2/full