Healthy Living

Latest Acupuncture Techniques Show Improvement in Fibromyalgia

Latest Acupuncture Techniques Show Improvement in Fibromyalgia

Key Takeaways

  • Tailored acupuncture is a technique of acupuncture where the placement of needles doesn’t follow one set of the pattern common to all patients, but it is developed differently for each patient uniquely with their symptoms.
  • Pressure-pain testing had a great impact in identifying patients who are less likely to respond to sham acupuncture. 
  • Other treatment methods proving successful for fibromyalgia treatment include bright light treatment, mindfulness meditation and the cannabis patch.

Introduction

Fibromyalgia is a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body. Scientists have no exact cause of fibromyalgia, but it is often thought to be related to the following conditions:

  • Abnormal levels of certain chemicals in the brain (like hormones such as serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline).
  • Changes in the way the central nervous system processes pain messages carried around the body (through a network of specialized cells).
  • Likely, the situation of some people to develop fibromyalgia due to inherited genes from their parents.
  • It can be caused by a physical or emotional and stressful event such as giving birth, a death of loved one, having an operation, an injury or infection, relationships, breakups and several other stressful events.
  • There are associated conditions such as osteoarthritis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis as well as temporomandibular disorder.

Fibromyalgia affects approximately 5 million people in the United States. And as stated, this disorder does not have a cure and a lot of research has been carried out in search of a treatment to help people suffering from fibromyalgia to handle and treat their pain more effectively. Research findings revealed the following treatments can be used to ease pain from people suffering from fibromyalgia. As a guide to help patient suffering with this disease, we shall focus on the new findings of acupuncture for fibromyalgia treatment as well as other latest research.

Ways acupuncture helps ease the pain for patients with fibromyalgia

Acupuncture is a common holistic health technique used for treatment. It is common to the Chinese medicine practitioners. It is a common treatment for several diseases ranging from musculoskeletal problems to depression, nausea, insomnia, infertility, migraine headache, and anxiety. Furthermore, due to lack of medical treatment for fibromyalgia, sufferers seek complementary medicine like massage, hydrotherapy, and acupuncture.

Acupuncture is effective for the treatment of fibromyalgia (FMS) and from the research study, researchers find that acupuncture provides “beneficial effects” in improving a person's function and life quality. Moreover, research suggests that acupuncture is used by one out of five people who suffer from fibromyalgia. This statistic shows that acupuncture is a most preferred method used to ease the suffering of fibromyalgia patients.

Latest techniques of acupuncture that have great improvements over traditional methods

Tailored acupuncture

This is a technique of acupuncture where the placement of needles doesn’t follow one set of the pattern common to all patients, but it is developed differently for each patient uniquely with their symptoms. As a technique used to lessen pain intensity in fibromyalgia, tailored acupuncture is more of an individualized approach where the outcomes carried out in 153 patients (led by Dr. Teresa Leiva at Dona Mercedes Primary Health Centre, Seville, Spain) responded with a great positive improvement over standard acupuncture. The research used tailored acupuncture and sham acupuncture in order to find out which technique is more beneficial compared to the other. From the study, at the 10-week mark, it proves that tailored acupuncture has significant improvements in the participant condition as well as “beneficial effects” in the reduction of pain intensity and better quality of life.  There was a 41% drop in pain in tailored acupuncture compared to a 27% drop reported from the group using sham acupuncture.

The authors involved in the research at Dona Mercedes Primary Health Centre, in Seville, Spain concluded that;

“This treatment produced an improvement in the participants’ condition, reflected by a reduction in pain intensity and enhanced functional capacity and quality of life after the intervention and during the follow-up period. Such an outcome has not been reported by previous studies following the application of standardized treatments: therefore, our results suggest that applying individualized treatment algorithms when starting a course of acupuncture may be important.”

Pressure pain sensitivity response in acupuncture

This research has great significance in attesting pressure pain sensitivity response in both sham and traditional acupuncture in people with chronic pain or fibromyalgia. From the study, 50 fibromyalgia patients were selected at random for sham or traditional acupuncture treatments for four weeks. And to keep the outcomes more genuine, both patients and examiners were unable to see during the test. Patients with low pain sensitivity from the study show to have a significant reduction of clinical pain response to sham acupuncture than patients who had higher pain sensitivity. To conclude this, different fibromyalgia patients have varying levels of brain excitatory neurotransmitters. Pressure-pain testing had a great impact in identifying patients who are less likely to be responsive to sham acupuncture. This is important to understand patients respond under such conditions so as to find the best way (personalized treatment) to improve their pain intensity as well as give them better life living with fibromyalgia.

Other latest findings to better treat fibromyalgia

The cannabis patch

This is designed to treat pain by slowly releasing medical marijuana into the wearer’s bloodstream. The cannabis patch is designed from Cannabis Science Company based in Europe. This company is the leader in developing unique formulas of cannabinoids for fibromyalgia and diabetic neuropathy. Their medicine has a great impact when it comes to pain relief for people suffering from nerve pain. The cannabis patch treats conditions that are difficult to get rid of. People suffering from high, sharp and tingling pain that’s hard to ease in their body can get treatment from a cannabis patch. The cost of a cannabis patch is cheap and safe, unlike other fibromyalgia super-expensive alternatives. More fibromyalgia patients who use a cannabis patch found that the treatment is very effective and cheap. National pain foundation from their survey found that 62% of sample of fibromyalgia sufferers agree that the cannabis patch is beneficial in treating their symptoms positively. Moreover, fibromyalgia patients suffering from depression and anxiety experienced better moods as well as better sleep when they are subject to use cannabis patch as a treatment.

Ambroxol for fibromyalgia pain

A lot of research studies across the globe are on the path to finding the best fibromyalgia treatment. A pilot clinical study carried out by researchers from Mexico, published in the Clinical Rheumatology journal, showed that ambroxol may help manage pain in fibromyalgia patients. Ambroxol (also known as a mucolytic and expectorant agent) helps block the response of sodium channels from transmitting pain sensations caused by nerve dysfunction. From the research, some of the fibromyalgia patients show a mutation in a sodium channel gene related with neuropathic pain signals, something which gives a hypothesis that sodium channel blocker agents have a therapeutic potential for fibromyalgia treatment. As such, patients with fibromyalgia showed an overall improvement in many symptoms at the end of the study. Ambroxol shows improvements in fibromyalgia features like sleep stiffness, disturbances, and dysautonomia.

Mindfulness meditation

Mindfulness meditation is widely known for treating post-traumatic stress disorder to depression. Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center researchers study that this type of treatment is more helpful in relieving pain than sham meditation. From this finding, researchers used brain imaging and patient pain ratings. The study was done in four groups namely: mindfulness meditation, placebo (sham) meditation, placebo analgesic cream (petroleum jelly), and control (no intervention). Final results show that mindfulness meditation reduces pain more than any other way involved in this study.

Bright light treatment

This has been proven to be an effective treatment for fibromyalgia. Research shows that morning bright-light treatment improves functionality, easing pain sensitivity and reducing depression. Helen J. Burgess, PhD, director, Biological Rhythms Research Laboratory in Chicago, Illinois presented the study- SLEEP 2017: 31st Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies. Impressively, she told Medscape Medical News that “Our study sample was very small, and the results simply suggest that we keep investigating light treatment as a possible treatment to reduce pain and improve function.” Many fibromyalgia researchers have shown a lot of concern to finding the best treatment for people suffering fibromyalgia. We have given you a few of research currently published as study and understanding of how to best deal with fibromyalgia continues.