Fibromyalgia is a condition affecting an estimated 5.8 million Americans. Symptoms include but are not limited to chronic, widespread, and severe muscle pain; insomnia; fatigue; headaches; sensitivity to light, noise, and smells; dizziness; heart palpitations; skin rashes; and depression. It primarily affects women between the ages of 35-50.
There are no lab tests to confirm a fibromyalgia diagnosis, because it does not present evidence of damage to muscle and tissue. The generalized body pain and stiffness, along with severe fatigue, must last for at least three months for an official western diagnosis of fibromyalgia. Additionally, a test palpating 18 points is often used as a diagnostic tool. When at least 11 out of 18 points have pain or tenderness, it suggests fibromyalgia.
Western medicine often treats fibromyalgia with medications for depression and seep, and NSAIDs for pain.
Unfortunately, these medicines have adverse side effects, which can mimic fibromyalgia symptoms, when used for prolonged periods. These include headaches, nervousness, dizziness, fatigue, and sleeplessness. Additionally, the medications treat the symptoms as opposed to the underlying causes of fibromyalgia.
At Affinity Acupuncture, we have had many clients respond well to acupuncture treatments for fibromyalgia.
The insertion of very fine, sterile needles into specific points on the body promotes the body’s response to heal itself.
Increased and redirected blood flow loosens tight muscles, relieves pain and tension, and flushes out inflammation.
It also triggers certain hormones which promote sleep and relaxation, calm the mind and relieve stress.
While acupuncture can be effective, it is not an immediate cure. Most people see improvement after two or three weekly treatments, including increased energy and reduction of pain, insomnia, and depression.
Because every fibromyalgia sufferer experiences different symptoms, treatments are customized to the individual’s needs. Typically, three to 10 treatments are required depending on the severity of the condition, and the individual’s personal response to treatment. Over time, treatments are extended into a maintenance schedule. Specific diets and herbal formulas may also be recommended.