There are many studies out there showing that acupuncture benefits chronic pain sufferers and this group of people make up at least 80% of the patients I see. With Fibromyalgia, FMS, being one of the most common pain syndromes, it’s not surprising that the occurrence of this complaint is rising in my office. Western medicine has no single treatment for FMS due to the lack of identifying the underlying problem so treatment usually consists of managing one’s particular signs and symptoms. This usually results in taking antidepressants, NSAIDs’ or other pharmaceuticals to gain relief. For people who either do not tolerate these drugs well or who are looking for a more natural route of treatment, acupuncture may be the answer. An article from Medical New Today reports that 1 in 5 fibromyalgia patients seeks out acupuncture treatment within 2 years of diagnosis.
From a Chinese medical perspective, FMS at the core, is categorized as a muscle impediment. For a more detailed Chinese diagnosis, all the other complaints are taken into account. Clinically seen, the top disease pattern is a disharmony between the liver and spleen systems. In this case, in addition to the typical muscle and joint pain, main symptoms include: irritability, mental-emotional depression, fatigue, weak extremities, decrease desire for food, fullness after eating, cold hand and feet, easy bruising and dizziness upon standing.
Another disease pattern is of qi and yin deficiency with liver depression and heat. In this situation, the main secondary complaints are fatigue, lack of strength, low energy, low back pain with knee soreness, night time urination, dizziness, ringing in the ears, insomnia, night sweats, alternating sensations of cold and heat in palms and feet and loose stools.
When treating FMS, paying attention to and treating insomnia when present is one of my top priorities. If the sleep can be improved, much of the body pain will naturally disappear.
I believe that acupuncture combined with education, lifestyle recommendations, relaxation training, and some cognitive therapy can effectively treat fibromyalgia. Through a designed personal treatment plan, I not only see a reduction in the pain and stiffness of the body, but a reduction in secondary complaints as well. I typically advise supplementation of Vit. D3 and a kidney/adrenal tonic to help support the body along with a natural sleep aid if insomnia persists or Chinese herbal formulas.
Fibromyalgia can be a frustrating and debilitating illness for the millions of individuals who struggle with it each day. If you currently suffer from fibromyalgia, give my office a call for a complementary phone consultation so we can talk about how acupuncture can help you. I not only understand the effects that the disorder can have, but I also have the necessary experience to design your ideal treatment plan.