Fibromyalgia is a condition that not only takes over the body, but also the mind. The afflicted process pain differently than those that do not have the condition. Most patients are hypersensitive to pain that a healthier individual may brush off. The condition is more common in women than in men and its prevalence is 2% to 3% in the US.
The disease can affect people of all ages and this sadly includes children. However, fibromyalgia usually manifests in people during middle age so you have more chances of developing it as you get older.
The good news is that acupuncture has shown to be highly efficient in treating fibromyalgia symptoms compared to conventional medication. The traditional Chinese medical practice can be used to manage the pain of the condition that can otherwise bring down your quality of life.
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a chronic, long-term illness that can cause severe muscle and joint pain and fatigue all over the body. The pain may come and go depending on the severity of your condition. Plus, it makes patients hypersensitive to pain inasmuch that even the slightest caress can send them reeling in pain.
The causes of this chronic condition are still unclear and they may be different in different people. Fibromyalgia is not considered an autoimmune, joint or muscle disorder. It is often triggered by other underlying conditions such as arthritis, spinal issues and injuries. In some cases, emotional stress can also trigger the painful condition.
Fibromyalgia is thought to be the amalgamation of several physical, physiological and biological factors working together so pinpointing the exact cause is difficult if not impossible. Doing so can lead to inefficient and dangerous treatment decisions. Here are some of the symptoms that may point to the condition:
Widespread musculoskeletal pain
The main complaint that fibromyalgia patients report is widespread and deep seated musculoskeletal pain that manifests in the upper and lower body. The pain is usually localized in the neck and shoulders. While the pain seems muscular, many patients also complain of joint pain.
The consistent pain that is indicative of fibromyalgia causes stress which in turn causes fatigue that rarely alleviates. Most patients toss and turn at night and report stiffness in the morning. This is understandable as patients are hypersensitive to pain to the point that even minor activities may trigger it. Since their pain prevents them from getting a full night’s sleep, they are far from refreshed in the morning.
Known as ‘fibrofog’ patients who suffer from fibromyalgia often have difficulty concentrating and taking care of daily tasks that require multi-tasking. According to the results of a study, this condition is better characterized by a subjective rather than an objective cognitive impairment. Increased perceived cognitive difficulty was correlated with symptom severity, In other words, we can say that the stress caused by the pain disoriented patients. Understandably, some of the other symptoms that occur concurrently with this one include myalgia, pharyngeal pain, polyarthritis, headaches, restless sleep and prolonged fatigue.
Some of the other symptoms that fibromyalgia patients report include:
- Chronic headaches.
- Paresthesias in both arms and legs.
- Anxiety and depression.
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
- Dry eyes.
Acupuncture Benefits for Fibromyalgia
Acupuncture has been used to treat fibromyalgia for thousands of years. As per the meridian theory, the treatment works to promote qi or blood flow to regulate the balance of yin and yang. That is why a specialist will treat symptoms individually rather than focusing on only the pain that the condition is known for.
Acupuncture can relieve the pain that is preventing you from living a normal life. Increased blood flow has been associated with pain relief, so this is understandable. TCM states that nerve trunks, nerve branches and nerve plexuses in the walls of blood vessels are common acupoints and most of these are located along nerves. Acupuncture stimulates these points to trigger qi or blood flow that in turn can ease pain.
Acupuncture needling techniques triggers a mechanical signal is known to signal connective tissue deformation and mechanical signal transduction that can lead to a downstream healing effects. The deformation activates triggers nociceptors and mechanoreceptors when waves of the mechanical signal spread to different sites.
Acupuncture is a suitable treatment option to treat fibromyalgia symptoms that traditional medicine may exacerbate. However, you may be recommended a treatment plan that includes both treatment options depending on your specific condition. Fibromyalgia symptoms can differ from one person to the next.
At the American College of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine (ACAOM) Main Clinic, we offer treatments that are conducted by trained, experienced and licensed acupuncturists on staff. Book a consultation today by dialing 713-780-9786. The treatment is also available at all ACAOM at Houston Methodist Hospital locations at 713-441-5980. Get in touch with us for a consultation today!