Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine for Fibromyalgia
What would you do if you found out there was a safe and effective treatment that would help your ongoing fibromyalgia symptoms? Ironically this treatment has been around for centuries, but is only recently catching on in the United States. And it looks like it’s here to stay. Acupuncture has provided relief for millions of people who suffer from a myriad of illnesses and disorders, including fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) affects an estimated 2 percent of the population. It is diagnosed when there is a history of widespread pain in all four quadrants of the body for a minimum duration of three months, and pain when pressure is applied to at least 11 of 18 designated tender points on the body. In addition to musculoskeletal pain, patients with fibromyalgia can suffer fatigue, sleep disturbance, memory loss, mood swings and digestive problems.
What is Fibromyalgia Syndrome?
From the perspective of western medicine, fibromyalgia is a medically unexplained syndrome characterized by chronic widespread pain, a heightened and painful response to pressure, insomnia, fatigue and depression.
Fibromyalgia is a medically unexplained syndrome characterized by chronic widespread pain, a heightened and painful response to pressure, insomnia, fatigue, and depression. While not all affected persons experience all associated symptoms, the following symptoms commonly occur together:
- chronic pain
- debilitating fatigue
- difficulty sleeping
- anxiety and depression
- joint stiffness
- low back pain
- chronic headaches and jaw pain
- hypersensitivity to bright lights, odors, loud noises
- inability to concentrate (AKA “fibro fog”)
- irritable bowel syndrome
- numbness or tingling in the fingers and feet
On its own fibromyalgia does not result in any physical damage to the body or its tissues and there are no laboratory tests that can confirm this diagnosis. Symptoms often begin after a physical or emotional trauma, but in many cases there appears to be no triggering event. Women are more prone to develop the disorder than are men, and the risk of fibromyalgia increases with age.
Research shows that up to 90 percent of people with fibromyalgia have turned to complementary or alternative medicine to manage their symptoms. Acupuncture, in particular, has become a popular treatment choice and has been shown to be an effective treatment for FMS.
An Oriental Medicine Perspective
Oriental medicine does not recognize fibromyalgia as one particular disease pattern. Instead, it aims to treat the symptoms unique to each individual depending on their constitution, emotional state, the intensity and location of their pain, digestive health, sleeping patterns and an array of other signs and symptoms.
Since symptoms of fibromyalgia vary greatly from one person to another, a wide array of traditional and alternative treatments have been shown to be the most effective way of treating this difficult syndrome. Therefore, if 10 people are treated with Oriental medicine for fibromyalgia, each of these 10 people will receive a unique, customized treatment with different acupuncture points, different herbs and different lifestyle and dietary recommendations.
A treatment program may include a combination of psychological or behavioral therapies, medications, exercise, acupuncture, herbal medicine and bodywork.
If you have fibromyalgia, acupuncture and Oriental medicine may be what you’ve been looking for to ease your symptoms and reclaim your health and vitality. Please call (904) 448-0046 for a consultation today.
Tools for Fibromyalgia Symptom Relief
Although fibromyalgia is a disorder that can be disabling for many due to chronic widespread pain and fatigue there are some things you can do to alleviate the symptoms and improve your overall quality of life.
Acupuncture: as stated above acupuncture and Chinese herbal formulas can provide great relief of many of the symptoms associated with FMS, if not all.
Biopuncture: Acupuncture Point Injection Therapy (APIT, or Biopuncture) is a non-surgical non-pharmaceutical treatment for a variety of issues. It is the injection of a customized cocktail mixture of nutraceutical vitamins, homeopathics and mild analgesics into acupuncture points. Acupuncture Point Injection Therapy activates acupuncture points much in the same way as traditional acupuncture, but with the added benefits provided by the remedies used for the injection. When the cocktail is introduced to the point, the body easily absorbs the substance. Leaving a deposit of that custom cocktail at the injection site will stimulate the acupuncture point longer for further effect.
This technique can be very effective in treating chronic conditions including: allergies, chronic pain that even cortisone injections did not help, fibromyalgia, lower back pain, migraine headaches, and many other diseases. It is also effective in treating chronic auto immune diseases such as Rheumatoid Arthritis. To read more on this technique offered in my clinic click here.
Kinesiotherapy Taping: KT taping was designed specifically for the use with athletes to support injured or strained tissues, ligaments, tendons and joints during competition or as a recovery technique. Today it is widely used in clinics for a variety of pain management techniques and can also help alleviate some of the pain patterns experienced with FMS
Learn, and Practice Stress Reduction Techniques
Chronic stress can lead to fatigue, depression, a weakened immune system, and a host of serious physical and psychological ailments. When under stress your muscles contract and tense affecting nerves, blood vessels, organs, skin and bones. Chronically tense muscles can result in a variety of musculoskeletal conditions and disorders including muscle spasms and pain.
While it isn’t always possible to remove the external forces causing stress the ability to effectively deal with stress is a choice. Take time for yourself and cultivate the energy you need to handle your stress more effectively.
Eat a Well Balanced Diet
Managing your diet may seem time-consuming but the benefits it offers make it worthwhile. Many fibromyalgia sufferers find relief through a properly managed diet. A list of basic nutrients to combat nerve sensitivities, improve cognition, boost the immune system, and reduce swelling is included in this newsletter.
While even basic movements may be painful, exercise helps restore strength and endurance. Tai Chi, Qi Gong or Yoga are great for easy stretching, careful strengthening, deep breathing, along with relaxation techniques.
Gentle stretching will clear tension that builds when muscles tighten, and will improve overall circulation. Be sure to check with your doctor before starting any exercise program.
The practice of meditation is a proven stress reducer that helps the body create a sense of calm and a continuing sense of well being. While 15 minutes daily is recommended, even 5 or 10 minutes can have a powerful effect on your day.
Get at least eight hours of restorative sleep. Maintain a routine sleep schedule and make your bedroom a sanctuary from every day stress. Practicing good sleep hygiene will give your body an opportunity to get stronger and heal.
Fight Fibromyalgia with Nutrient Dense Foods
The National Fibromyalgia Association recommends a balanced diet containing nutrient dense foods free of artificial additives and sweeteners to help your body fight fibromyalgia syndrome. Some key nutrients to include are:
Found in whole grains, beans, nuts, chicken, fish and eggs; B complex vitamins directly influence the nervous system’s proper functioning and combat nerve problems such as tingling and tenderness.
Found in nuts, grains, beans, fish, meat and dark green vegetables magnesium is needed for muscle flexibility and bone, protein and fatty acid formation. Magnesium is also integral in making new cells, relaxing muscles, clotting blood, aiding in calcium absorption and activating B vitamins.
Directly affecting cellular function, this fatty acid found in fish minimizes nerve sensitivity and improves cognition.
Helps combat stress, builds the immune system and reduces swelling. Vitamin C is found in a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables including citrus fruits, green vegetables, tomatoes and berries.
Increases circulation of oxygen and nutrients throughout the body and helps to eliminate waste.