Treatment of fibromyalgia with formula acupuncture: investigation of needle placement, needle stimulation, and treatment frequency.
OBJECTIVES: The objective of this study was to investigate whether typical acupuncture methods such as needle placement, needle stimulation, and treatment frequency were important factors in fibromyalgia symptom improvement. DESIGN/SETTINGS/SUBJECTS: A single-site, single-blind, randomized trial of 114 participants diagnosed with fibromyalgia for at least 1 year was performed. INTERVENTION: Participants were randomized to one of four treatment groups: (1) T/S needles placed in traditional sites with manual needle stimulation (n = 29): (2) T/0 traditional needle location without stimulation (n = 30); (3) N/S needles inserted in nontraditional locations that were not thought to be acupuncture sites, with stimulation (n = 28); and (4) N/0 nontraditional needle location without stimulation (n = 2 7). All groups received treatment once weekly, followed by twice weekly, and finally three times weekly, for a total of 18 treatments. Each increase in frequency was separated by a 2-week washout period. OUTCOME MEASURES: Pain was assessed by a numerical rating scale, fatigue by the Multi-dimensional Fatigue Inventory, and physical function by the Short Form-36. RESULTS: Overall pain improvement was noted with 25%-35% of subjects having a clinically significant decrease in pain; however this was not dependent upon "correct" needle stimulation (t = 1.03; p = 0.307) or location (t = 0.76; p = 0.450). An overall dose effect of treatment was observed, with three sessions weekly providing more analgesia than sessions once weekly (t = 2.10; p = 0.039). Among treatment responders, improvements in pain, fatigue, and physical function were highly codependent (all p < or = 0.002). CONCLUSIONS: Although needle insertion led to analgesia and improvement in other somatic symptoms, correct needle location and stimulation were not crucial.
Harris, RE; Tian, X; Williams, DA; Tian, TX; Cupps, TR; Petzke, F; Groner, KH; Biswas, P; Gracely, RH; Clauw, DJ
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