Health Wellness

Comparing the effectiveness of physical therapy modalities and acupuncture for the treatment of fibromyalgia

In this study, researchers from Baskent University in Turkey compared the effects of physical therapy modalities with those of acupuncture on pain, daily function and quality of life of patients with fibromyalgia syndrome. Their results were published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

  • Physical therapy (PT) modalities are used in the treatment of fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS). On the other hand, FMS patients usually seek acupuncture as a treatment option.
  • The researchers conducted a comparative effectiveness study involving 44 female patients between the ages of 18 and 70.
  • These patients presented a new diagnosis of FMS according to the American College of Rheumatology. They also manifested chronic widespread musculoskeletal pain symptoms, underwent routine blood tests and expressed a desire to receive PT or acupuncture therapy.
  • The researchers divided the participants into two groups. One group received 15 sessions of hot pack treatment, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) and ultrasound to the tender points of the cervical and upper back regions.
  • The other group received 10 sessions of formulated acupuncture designed to treat neck pain and upper and lower back pain.
  • The researchers used the Short Form McGill Pain Questionnaire (SF-MPQ) and the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ) to measure pain, functionality and quality of life before and after treatment.
  • The results suggested that both the PT and acupuncture groups experienced reductions in all SF-MPQ domains and FIQ scores. Pre-and post-treatment scores also didn’t differ between the two groups.

Based on these results, the researchers concluded that both PT modalities and acupuncture can be effectively used to treat FMS. They recommended longer post-treatment follow-up to determine which of the two is the superior treatment option.

Journal Reference:

Ozen S, Cosar SNS, Cabioglu MT, Cetin N. A COMPARISON OF PHYSICAL THERAPY MODALITIES VERSUS ACUPUNCTURE IN THE TREATMENT OF FIBROMYALGIA SYNDROME: A PILOT STUDY. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 16 March 2019;25(3):296–304. DOI: 10.1089/acm.2018.0330

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