Recent Acupuncture study on Fibromyalgia

fibromyalgia research

I have seen another acupuncture study that says it helps improve FM.

At 10 weeks, six months and 12 months after treatment, patients were asked about perceived levels of pain and depression and their physical and mental quality of life.
One year after treatment, acupuncture patients had an average 20 percent drop in their pain score, compared with a little more than 6 percent among those who had simulated therapy, the researchers found.
Scores on the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire, which measures how the condition affects patients’ lives, also differed between groups. Reductions were seen of 35 percent at 10 weeks, and just over 22 percent at one year, for those given real acupuncture, compared with 24.5 percent and 5 percent, respectively, for those given sham acupuncture, the researchers said.
In addition, pressure pain and the number of tender points also improved more in patients given real acupuncture after 10 weeks, as did measures of fatigue, anxiety and depression, Vas said.
However, although taking less pain medication, acupuncture patients were using higher levels of antidepressants after one year, which may have artificially boosted the positive results, he said.
The report was published online Feb. 15 in the journal Acupuncture in Medicine.
Dr. Allyson Shrikhande is a physiatrist — a doctor who specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation — at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. She agreed that antidepressant use could have been a “significant contributing factor to their continued improvement.”

So they admit here the use of antidepressants may account for the improvements and not the acupuncture. Medications make a difference in a study. Sort of have to take this one with a grain of salt as a result. That is one issue with this study. But I am not sure if acupuncture if confirmation bias or placebo effect because studies vary. Not a bad size study though. And a good time frame. In this study a good bit over placebo as well.

What I do know is that it causes no harm in trying. Like all alternative treatments, other than vitamins and supplements, there is no risk in trying these things. Unless you are afraid of needles. We have no idea if they do anything or not, but at least there are not a hundred side effects with it. If we get even a mild result it is something we can add to our regiment. We can even get a stress relief benefit. So nothing wrong with trying.  So there is that.

What I also know is insurance companies barely cover this sort of thing, if they even do. You at best get five treatments of anything on the plan I am on. So I used to pick and choose what to try that year. Massage? Chiropractor?  So out of pocket for the remainder. If you have out of pocket to spend on such things. I often do not. So there is also that.

I tried it back when I tried everything and I had a bad reaction. Which I doubt is common since you don’t usually have a reaction. The acupuncture itself gave me vertigo. I have migraine associated vertigo. It trigger it. Severely. For about 20min after I could not drive or walk. For the rest of the night, the bout was about moderate with spinning rotational vertigo and disequilibrium. It could have been a random bout so I went again. Same thing. It could mean that the acupuncture was in fact Doing something and my brain had a reaction to that, which means more than placebo is going on there. After all, I was there for a migraine treatment and I had a migraine response. Or it could simply be the slight tilt on the table threw my vertigo through a loop. Either way, had I wanted to pursue it my insurance would only have covered going a few times, so there was little point in the experiment anyway.


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