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5MinuteConsult Journal Club

Acupuncture Improves Pain and Well-Being in those with Fibromyalgia


J Pain Res. 2022; 15: 315–329

Study Summary

Acupuncture successfully lowers patient symptoms in Fibromyalgia.


This meta-analysis of 12 studies found acupuncture reduced short term pain scores (SMD: -0.42, 95% CI, -0.66, -0.17, P<0.001, I2=58%) and improved well-being (SMD: -0.86, 95% CI, -1.49, 0.24, P=0.007, I2=85%). Data showed more than 10 sessions provided long term benefit (compared to fewer than 10 sessions). Concerning long term outcomes, acupuncture continued to show a benefit on reducing pain (P=0.03) and improving well-being (P<0.001). Outcomes that did not improve with acupuncture include fatigue, sleep quality, physical function, or stiffness. No serious adverse events were detected.


For a patient with Fibromyalgia, referral for greater than 10 sessions of acupuncture may lower pain scores and improve quality of life.


Fibromyalgia is a challenging diagnosis and offers few proven treatments. Sleep hygiene and exercise are the mainstays of options; this meta-analysis shows acupuncture can help. It does not preclude the sleep and lifestyle changes needed to make the patient’s symptoms be best controlled but is an excellent addition (if they can afford it, or if it is covered by their insurance). With no adverse effects, except for cost, recommend it for patients.

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Contributed by Frank J. Domino, March 9, 2022