Health Problem: Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition characterized by widespread pain, fatigue, mood changes, and sleep disturbances. Estimates suggest that nearly 3.7 million people in the United States have fibromyalgia.

Technology Description: The technique of acupuncture involves percutaneous insertion of very fine needles to a depth of approximately 10 to 15 millimeters at prescribed acupoints. In some cases, low-voltage current is applied to the needles; this is referred to as electroacupuncture.

Controversy: Concerns regarding the opioid epidemic have fueled considerable interest in nonpharmacological strategies, including acupuncture, for pain management in recent years. Numerous federal regulatory agencies have advised or mandated that nonpharmacologic options for pain be offered by healthcare systems and providers. Acupuncture is controversial in the United States because of lack of clear mechanisms for efficacy, inconsistent findings in studies in the peer-reviewed literature, and heterogeneity in techniques and treatment administration.

Key Questions:

  • Does acupuncture reduce pain and improve function or quality-of-life impairments associated with fibromyalgia?
  • Is acupuncture safe for treating fibromyalgia?
  • Have definitive patient selection criteria been established for acupuncture for the treatment of fibromyalgia?

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