How Acupuncture Can Help With Fibromyalgia Pain

Many people living with fibromyalgia are turning to complementary therapies to help ease the symptoms of the condition. According to the Mayo Clinic, acupuncture may help those suffering from fibromyalgia with general pain relief, as well as targeting more specific areas of the body that need relief.

MORE: Six tips to prevent fibromyalgia flares.

Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese healing therapy where thin needles are inserted in strategic points around the body to improve energy flow (chi). It’s believed that illness occurs when chis become blocked — acupuncture helps to unblock the chi channel so energy can flow more easily.

According to Web MD, there are different types of acupuncture. Some use heated needles, others use pressure or a mild electrical current to help the chi flow.

The needles can be left in place for around 20 to 30 minutes. Most people report no pain when the needles enter the skin, but they do experience a tingling sensation. Acupuncture can be used as a standalone therapy for pain relief, but it’s often recommended as a complement to traditional medications. Most people usually need to have a few sessions before they see any changes.

MORE: Fibromyalgia patients found to have common viruses. 

Fibromyalgia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

17 comments

      • StevefromMA says:

        Sorry to be late getting back here, did not get notice. I had a disagreement with acupuncturist number one so am now with number two, different style and philosophy. She is also a trained Chinese herbalist;apparently my other one was not and was just guessing. Chinese medicine, like the one I took, has many herbs and is pretty complex I am told. I’m waiting to see what number two suggests. You can’t really do the herbs on your own, unfortunately.

  1. Najla says:

    Acupuncture has been a life saver for me. I first tried it when my fibro started in 2006, after having no luck with traditional medicine and drugs.
    How I know that acupuncture works for me? Well, I do not take pain medicines, first of all, the OTC ones do not work for me, and I am allergic to many prescription drugs. Besides that, these drugs also affect my digestive system.
    This last winter was the worst one of my life. I could barely walk to the bathroom, and climbing stairs was an effort that I only did once a day as my bedroom is upstairs. Somedays it even hurt to breath. I started having twice a week sessions in January. The pain diminished to a more “manageable” level, and in April, I traveled to Europe as a high school chaperone and I was able to walk 4 to 6 miles per day! I am back to the gym after a year off, and I can do my favorite, the spinning class.
    I see the acupuncturist twice a week when I am in a really bad pain , the type only an opioid would be able to take care of it. When I am better, with my usual pain that I got used to have, I have one session per week, or every other week.
    Of course it does not replace other therapies, as physical therapy, but I would recommend acupuncture to anyone in pain. It does not hurt, the needles are disposable and you probably will feel very relaxed during the session. The only con I see in acupuncture is the cost: it can become expensive if it is not covered by your insurance. Moreover, you need to find a good professional, and as the article says, you might need a few sessions to feel the results.

    • Laurie says:

      My husband has full blown fibromyalgia. He started with acupuncture and then found his way to Qigong as a way to help himself manage the pain and fatigue etc that was over 20 years ago, and he got so much benefit from Qigong that he went on to become an instructor himself. These days he uses acupuncture to complement his Qigong – more cost effective and empowering.

      • StevefromMA says:

        Laurie,

        That is fascinating. I took a brief Qi Gong course years ago but my fibro was not bad and didn’t continue. My fibro has gotten awful the last four years. I’ve been in acupuncture three months with some relief except during these awful humid days. Is there a particular style of Qi Gong I should try to find?

      • Katherine A Johnson says:

        That’s so awesome. I will look into it. I’m working on mindfulness and movement, so it sounds like a great thing to check out.

    • Catherine m florimont says:

      Thank you so much for your in depth discussion
      I developed fibro last year. Since then I have been on different meds incl. cymbalta
      Lyrica and they really don’t work
      I end up taking an opiod to
      Help with the pain
      This I know is not good
      So after reading your letter I I am definitely going to try acupuncture
      Thank you again for giving
      Me some hope for relief.

  2. Katherine A Johnson says:

    Any study support? Because every study I’ve read said that acupuncture is ineffective for Fibromyalgia.

  3. Jade Dibblee says:

    HI Katherine,

    Im away from my computer with the stockpile of studies,however a quick search has brought up several straight off:
    Acupuncture mechanisms in relation to Fibromyalgia
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28598785 (with explanation of NYP in Fibro here https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20074444)
    here RCT sham vs real acu
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28371571
    here https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16770975 and here https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20423209 and here https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24454493

    so I’m not sure what you are reading but there are certainly plenty of clinical studies that acupuncture works for fibromyalgia.
    In addition JAMA http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/2579926?widget=personalizedcontent&previousarticle=2627567 and here https://mobile.nytimes.com/blogs/well/2012/09/11/acupuncture-provides-true-pain-relief-in-study/?referrer and here http://www.healthcmi.com/Acupuncture-Continuing-Education-News/1366-acupuncture-boosts-energy-for-chronic-fatigue-patients.

    I think this just took about 5 mins but there are numerous articles available.

    Hope you find some relief

    • Katherine A Johnson says:

      Thanks. I’m certainly open to anything that might be helpful, I will check it out and see what happens.

      • Jade Dibblee says:

        You’re most welcome Katherine.
        Just be sure to see a Registered Acupuncturist (no weekend courses) and give it some time – chronic cases can often take a little while to see results.

        Best,
        Jade

  4. Kim O'Key says:

    I have had Fibromyalgia fo 27 years, I noticed that after Accupuncture treatments, I was in so much pain, I swear I could feel every single nerve in body for 3 days after. When I saw my reumatologist he said no more Accupuncture, as it over stimulates the nerves, exactly the opposite of what we are trying to achieve. FYI he trained at Mayo Clinic.

  5. StevefromMA says:

    We are just wired differently, sometimes even from each other. I try virtually every procedure, med, and supplement that makes it into PubMed and some that don’t. Nothing has worked for me but Tramadol, and only to a pretty limited extent, and now, hopefully, acupuncture and Chinese herbs.

  6. Annette Sivers says:

    I go to a Physiotherapist who combines acupuncture, cupping and myofascial release massage. My energy levels are noticeably better after the acupuncture. People react differently to acupuncture, regardless of the Fibromyalgia, but it is well worth giving it a try.

  7. Denise Bault says:

    I’m a believer! Had the largest knots in my neck and shoulder areas. Felt like boulders to me. Very painful! Was waiting to get trigger point injections and a friend suggested I go with her to acupuncture since I still had weeks to wait. What’s to lose except more money, right? Was AMAZED when I left! Those boulders no longer gave me the pain I went in with! Still feeling better 3 days later…

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