Fibromyalgia (FM) is a syndrome that involves chronic pain, fatigue, sleep disturbance and impaired quality of life and daily functioning. In addition to medical and psychological therapies, other therapies including acupuncture and dry needling aim to reduce pain and disability in patients with FM. The aim of this study was to investigate the efficacy of dry needling and acupuncture in patients with FM regarding pain, function and disability in both the short and the long term. MEDLINE, PubMed, SCOPUS and Web of Science databases were systematically searched for randomized controlled trial studies evaluating efficacy data of dry needling or/and acupuncture treatments to improve pain, fatigue, sleep disturbance and impaired quality of life and/or daily function. A qualitative analysis including the methodological quality and a systematic data synthesis was performed. A total of 25 studies addressed the selection criteria. Most studies had an acceptable methodological quality. Four studies assessed the effect of dry needling, and twenty-one studies assessed the effect of acupuncture. In general, both interventions improved pain, anxiety, depression, fatigue, stiffness, quality of sleep and quality of life. However, both techniques were not compared in any study. Acupuncture and dry needling therapies seems to be effective in patients with FM, since both reduced pain pressure thresholds, anxiety, depression, fatigue, sleep disturbances and disability in the short term. It is still required to compare both techniques and their application in the long term.
Keywords: acupuncture; chronic diseases; dry needling; fibromyalgia; systematic review.