Fi­bromyal­gia suf­fer­ers might ben­e­fit from tai­lored acupunc­ture

Pakistan Observer - - KARACHI CITY -

FI­BROMYAL­GIA af­fects an es­ti­mated 5 mil­lion Amer­i­cans, 80-90% of whom are women. The dis­or­der is char­ac­ter­ized by wide­spread pain and dif­fuse ten­der­ness. Although there is no cure, tai­lored acupunc­ture might pro­vide some welcome respite, ac­cord­ing to a new study. Although dif­fi­cult to cat­e­go­rize, fi­bromyal­gia is con­sid­ered a rheumatic con­di­tion be­cause it im­pairs soft tis­sue and joints and causes pain.

Fi­bromyal­gia car­ries with it a num­ber of other lifedis­rupt­ing symp­toms that vary from in­di­vid­ual to in­di­vid­ual. Th­ese symp­toms can in­clude mus­cle stiff­ness, headaches, ir­ri­ta­ble bowel syn­drome (IBS) and sen­si­tiv­ity to tem­per­a­ture, sounds and bright lights. The ex­act causes of fi­bromyal­gia are not well un­der­stood; how­ever, hy­poth­e­sized cul­prits in­clude trau­matic or stress­ful life events and repet­i­tive in­juries.

There might also be links to other dis­eases such as lu­pus and rheuma­toid arthri­tis; some re­searchers be­lieve there is a ge­netic com­po­nent at work, too. Be­cause there are no known bi­o­log­i­cal mark­ers, di­ag­nos­ing fi­bromyal­gia can be prob­lem­atic. To reach a con­clu­sive de­ci­sion, other over­lap­ping dis­or­ders must first be ruled out. Be­cause of th­ese ques­tions sur­round­ing ge­n­e­sis and di­ag­no­sis, ef­fec­tive treat­ments for fi­bromyal­gia are not forth­com­ing.

A re­cent study con­ducted at Doòa Mercedes Pri­mary Health Cen­tre, in Seville, Spain, looked at the po­ten­tial use of acupunc- ture to ease fi­bromyal­gia’s symp­toms. Per­haps be­cause of the lack of med­i­cal treat­ments for fi­bromyal­gia, one study found that 91% of suf­fer­ers seek so­lace in com­ple­men­tary medicine such as hy­drother­apy, mas­sage and acupunc­ture. Acupunc­ture is used by 1 in 5 fi­bromyal­gia pa­tients within 2 years of di­ag­no­sis.

Pre­vi­ous clin­i­cal tri­als test­ing acupunc­ture’s ef­fi­cacy have been in­con­clu­sive, but th­ese stud­ies did not tai­lor the course of acupunc­ture to suit the in­di­vid­ual needs of each fi­bromyal­gia pa­tient. To in­ves­ti­gate whether this might make a dif­fer­ence, the re­search team, led by Dr. Teresa Leiva, com­pared tai­lored acupunc­ture against sham acupunc­ture in 153 pa­tients. Sham acupunc­ture in­volved us­ing the same guide tubes as the gen­uine acupunc­ture group, but with­out in­sert­ing nee­dles. The sham treat­ment solely fo­cused on the dor­sal and lum­bar re­gions. Each pa­tient (sham and tai­lored) re­ceived 20-minute-long treat­ments, ev­ery week for 9 weeks. Dur­ing the trial, the pa­tients con­tin­ued tak­ing any pre­scrip­tion drugs they were al­ready us­ing. The par­tic­i­pants com­pleted ques­tion­naires rat­ing var­i­ous pa­ram­e­ters such as lev­els of pain, de­pres­sion and the over­all im­pact of the dis­ease on their lives. Th­ese re­views were car­ried out before the trial, at 10 weeks, 6 months and 12 months. At the 10-week mark, the tai­lored acupunc­ture group re­ported a 41% drop in pain, whereas the sham acupunc­ture group re­ported a 27% re­duc­tion. Twelve months later, the ef­fect was still ap­par­ent.

Street chil­dren in a school run by Ocean Wel­fare study­ing at foot­path un­der Behria Town Clifton Bridge.

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