Fibromyalgia patients who exhibit greater sensitivity to pain are more likely to respond to sham acupuncture, and more likely to experience a worsening of pain after verum acupuncture, report US researchers. A cohort of 114 fibromyalgia patients received baseline pressure pain testing and were then randomised to either verum or sham acupuncture. Verum acupuncture consisted of needling nine acupuncture points (Baihui DU-20, right ear Shenmen, left Quchi L.I.-11, right Hegu L.I.-4, left Yanglingquan GB-34, left Zusanli ST-36, left Sanyinjiao SP-6 and right Taichong LIV-3), while sham treatment involved needling at non-acupuncture points. Participants received one to three treatments a week week for a total of 18 treatments. Participants who had higher pressure pain thresholds at baseline demonstrated a greater reduction in clinical pain following verum acupuncture, while participants who had lower baseline pain pressure thresholds showed a better analgesic response to sham acupuncture. In addition, patients with lower pressure pain thresholds reported exacerbated pain following verum acupuncture.
Evoked Pressure Pain Sensitivity Is Associated with Differential Analgesic Response to Verum and Sham Acupuncture in Fibromyalgia. Pain Med. 2017 Mar 15. doi: 10.1093/pm/pnx001. [Epub ahead of print].