Search
Add Listing

List Your Practice Today! Call (877) 630-3600

New Evidence that Acupuncture Works for Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain

By: University of Michigan

Researchers at the University of Michigan Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center are first to provide evidence of acupuncture's effect on opoid receptors.

Acupuncture has been used in East-Asian medicine for thousands of years to treat pain, possibly by activating the body's natural painkillers. But how it works at the cellular level is largely unknown.

Using brain imaging, a University of Michigan study is the first to provide evidence that traditional Chinese acupuncture affects the brain's long-term ability to regulate pain. The results appear online ahead of publication in the September issue of Journal of NeuroImage.

In the study, researchers at the U-M Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center showed acupuncture increased the binding availability of mu-opoid receptors (MOR) in regions of the brain that process and dampen pain signals – specifically the cingulate, insula, caudate, thalamus and amygdala.

Opioid painkillers, such as morphine, codeine and other medications, are thought to work by binding to these opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord.

"The increased binding availability of these receptors was associated with reductions in pain," says Richard E. Harris, Ph.D., researcher at the U-M Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center and a research assistant professor of anesthesiology at the U-M Medical School.

One implication of this research is that patients with chronic pain treated with acupuncture might be more responsive to opioid medications since the receptors seem to have more binding availability, Harris says.

These findings could spur a new direction in the field of acupuncture research following recent controversy over large studies showing that sham acupuncture is as effective as real acupuncture in reducing chronic pain.

"Interestingly both acupuncture and sham acupuncture groups had similar reductions in clinical pain," Harris says. "But the mechanisms leading to pain relief are distinctly different."

The study participants included 20 women who had been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition, for at least a year, and experienced pain at least 50 percent of the time. During the study they agreed not to take any new medications for their fibromyalgia pain.

Patients had position emission tomography, or PET, scans of the brain during the first treatment and then repeated a month later after the eighth treatment.

Source: Harris RE, Zubieta JK, Scott DJ, Napadow V, Gracely RH, Clauw DJ. "Traditional Chinese acupuncture and placebo (sham) acupuncture are differentiated by their effects on mu-opioid receptors (MORs)." Neuroimage. 2009 Sep;47(3):1077-85. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2009.05.083. Epub 2009 Jun 6.

Search In Learning Center :

About Pain

Find Back Pain Relief with Oriental Medicine Study Recommends Acupuncture for Fibromyalgia Pain Study Finds Acupuncture Enhances Performance and Reduces Pain in Runners with Knee Problems Improve Flexibility and Strengthen Joints with Oriental Medicine The Right Nutrients Can Make a Difference in Pain Relief Acupuncture For Muscle Spasms and Strains in Athletes Self Acupressure for Pain Relief Meta Analysis Finds Acupuncture Beneficial for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Symptom Relief Get Relief from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Get Chronic Pain Syndrome Relief Meta Study Confirms Acupuncture Effective for Chronic Pain Study Finds Contralateral Needle Technique More Effective for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Study Finds Both Traditional and Electro-Acupuncture Effective for CTS Pain Relief Acupuncture Combined with Movement Therapy Reduces Pain Associated with Acute Lumbar Sprain FDA Recommends Acupuncture for Pain Management Acupuncture & Chronic Pain: A Success Story Acupuncture Effective for Systemic Lupus Pain Oriental Medicine for Injury Rehabilitation and Pain Relief Acupuncture for Tendonitis Relief and Recovery Acupuncture for Shin Splint Relief Healing a Ruptured or Herniated Disc with Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Treating Degenerative Disc Disease with Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Get Relief from Frozen Shoulder, Stiffness or Adhesive Capsulitis Acupuncture: A Viable Treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Exercises for Carpal Tunnel Relief Study Shows Acupuncture Effective for Osteoarthritis Relief Fibromyalgia: How to Use Self-Acupressure to Relieve Symptoms Plantar Fasciitis: Can Acupuncture Help? Find Relief from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Helps with Strains, Sprains and Pulled Muscles Shin Splint Relief with Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Want Less Pain and a Faster Recovery? Acupuncture: Pre and Post Surgery Get Relief from Repetitive Stress Injuries with Acupuncture Sufferers of Chronic Fatigue Find Relief With Oriental Medicine Acupuncture Shows Promise in Treatment for Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy Acupuncture For Dysmenorrhea Treating Back Pain with Acupuncture & TCM Study Shows Acupuncture Effective for TMJ Study Supports Acupuncture Effects in Pain Control New Evidence that Acupuncture Works for Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Acupuncture for Fibromyalgia Syndrome Study Shows that Acupuncture Effective in Treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Acupuncture for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Real and Simulated Acupuncture Appear Effective for Back Pain Acupuncture and Low Back Pain Sciatica Treatment with Acupuncture Scientists One Step Closer to Understanding The Analgesic Effects of Acupuncture Acupuncture Treats Neurological Pain Acupuncture Relieves Menstrual Pain, Study Finds Acupuncture, Pinpointing a Natural Pain Relief Option Acupuncture Assists Post-Operative Recovery, Studies Show Acupuncture Very Effective in Treating Post-Surgery Pain Acupuncture and Injury Rehabilitation Acupuncture Helps with Fibromyalgia Symptoms Acupuncture Helps Relieve Lower Back Pain Electroacupuncture, Laser Therapy Relieve Arthritis Pain Chinese Medicine - Opinions of Interstitial Cystitis Tai Chi Effective Addition to Immunity Against Shingles, New Study Finds Neck Pain Reduced by Acupuncture Acupuncture Relieves Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy Cupping: How Gwyneth Paltrow Got Her Spots Treating Peripheral Neuropathy with Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Acupuncture and Back Pain

Ask The Acupuncturist

Q: Since the birth of my third child, my hair has been dull and lifeless. I am also losing A LOT of hair. Can traditional Chinese medicine help with unhealthy hair and hair loss?

A: Many women will lose hair after the birth of a child. Estrogen levels fall during pregnancy, which causes the hair a woman would normally lo... Read More