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What You Need to Know About Treating Fibromyglia with Acupuncture

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Physiotherapists will use a whole host of modalities in the treatment of people with Fibromyalgia and one of those is Acupuncture.  Sufferers of Fibromyalgia will know all too well those tender points or trigger points felt around their body. These are found within the myofascial, the area surrounding your muscle tissue.

Trigger points can refer pain to other areas within the body or elicit a twitch response.  In fibromyalgia there are typically 18 tender points throughout the whole back region that are painful. Whilst some people may find trigger point release or massage effective, other people are just too hyper sensitive to be able to bear this.

What is Acupuncture?

Traditional Chinese Acupuncture (TCM) is an ancient approach, which is based around the theory that if we have pain or illness, it means that our energy (Qi) is blocked.  You may have heard of Yin and Yang energy.  Acupuncture helps at rebalancing the two, thus bringing harmony to the body and reducing pain or illness.  Many physiotherapists use acupuncture as a treatment tool for many different conditions, such as headaches, arthritic, joint pain, and muscular pain and they also use it in treating fibromyalgia.

Research has shown that acupuncture can reduce pain as it stimulates our neural system and helps our body to release our own natural pain relief such as endorphins and serotonin (which promote feelings of wellbeing,) and melatonin (which aids sleep). By addressing and reducing pain, it can enable other treatment modalities being used such as core stability exercise and postural alignment.

Generally a session of acupuncture lasts approximately 30 minutes.  The needles are inserted into various points around the body (there’s over 500 points) although only a few are inserted at any given time.  During this time the needles may be stimulated to ensure that they remain ‘active’ and you may experience a tingling or achy sensation during the treatment.

How Effective is Acupuncture for People with Fibromyalgia?

A literature review conducted by Deare et al (2013) analysed 9 trials of 395 people regarding the use of acupuncture in treating fibromyalgia. Overall they found that there was low to moderate-level evidence to support the use of acupuncture in reducing pain and stiffness in people with fibromyalgia compared with no treatment and standard therapy. They found generally that the effects lasted for up to one month and there was an improvement of global well-being.  The review suggests that people with fibromyalgia may benefit from acupuncture and that this should be used with exercise and medication.

Research has shown that 1 in 5 patients with fibromyalgia have tried acupuncture within 2 years of being diagnosed. Physiotherapy aims at using a holistic approach and uses a variety of treatment modalities to find the best for you including postural realignment, core stability training, exercise training, hydrotherapy guidance, flexibility training as well as acupuncture.   If you have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia and are looking for a specialist physio to treat you at home or work, contact us on 0207 884 0374 or email us at