What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes pain in multiple different areas of your body, called regions of pain. While most people who are diagnosed with fibromyalgia are female, the condition can affect males as well. Although the main symptom of fibromyalgia is musculoskeletal pain, it can also cause emotional symptoms, fatigue, and mental fogginess. Keep reading to learn more about fibromyalgia and how acupuncture can help you treat it.
If you have fibromyalgia, you may experience symptoms such as:
- Musculoskeletal pain (pain in your bones or muscles)
- Dry eyes
- Rash or itchy skin
- Anxiety or depression
- Brain fog, difficulty focusing or concentrating, or memory problems
- Sleep issues, like non-restorative sleep
- Pain or achiness in your lower abdomen
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition, which means it can affect you for extended periods of time. To diagnose fibromyalgia, your doctor may assess whether you experience pain in four out of the five designated regions of pain for fibromyalgia patients.
What Causes Fibromyalgia?
While professionals are not yet certain what the exact causes of fibromyalgia are, they believe it may be linked to genetics and certain triggers. Researchers have found that some gene mutations may be responsible for changes in the chemical signalling of pain sensations in the body, which may influence fibromyalgia symptoms. Practically speaking, if someone in your family has had fibromyalgia, you are at a higher risk of developing the condition too. Triggers including stress, trauma, and infections may also contribute to causing fibromyalgia.
Common treatment for fibromyalgia involves medications, natural remedies, and lifestyle habits. Medications are available over the counter and by prescription, to treat symptoms such as pain, sleep issues, and depression. However, all medications come with the risk of side effects. The main types of medications used for fibromyalgia are pain relievers (like ibuprofen), antidepressants (like duloxetine), and anti-seizure medications (such as pregabalin, which prevents nerve cells from sending pain messages).
Natural remedies are a great way to treat fibromyalgia, either combined with medications or on their own. These can help to reduce your pain levels while nourishing your physical and mental health simultaneously. You might like to try meditation techniques, breathing exercises, yoga, tai chi, or physical therapy to help improve your quality of life.
Your lifestyle is also an important factor in how your body responds to fibromyalgia. Incorporating healthy habits into your daily life can have a huge impact on how your condition affects you. It’s important to exercise regularly, and maintain a nutritious diet full of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Eating more plant-based foods compared to meats is also an important factor.
How Can Acupuncture Help with Fibromyalgia?
Acupuncture is a precise treatment technique used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. A qualified acupuncturist can help to reduce the pain from conditions like fibromyalgia by adjusting the flow of energy through your body. This is done by inserting very fine needles into specifically selected points on your body that link to certain energy meridians.
Several scientific studies have shown that acupuncture is an effective therapy for treating fibromyalgia. A recent review of these studies confirmed that, “Acupuncture therapy is an effective and safe treatment for patients with FM [fibromyalgia], and this treatment can be recommended for the management of FM.” All in all, acupuncture may be the perfect way for you to address your condition.
Overall, fibromyalgia is a condition where you experience several regions of pain throughout your body. Fibromyalgia may be linked to genetic factors or triggers like stress, trauma, or infection. To treat fibromyalgia, you could try medications, but be aware that all medications come with the risk of side effects. Natural remedies, and acupuncture are both great ways to treat fibromyalgia safely and effectively.
Cherney, K., Holland, K. & Watson, S. (2022, February 28). Everything You Need to Know About Fibromyalgia. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/fibromyalgia
Zhang, X. C., Chen, H., Xu, W. T., Song, Y. Y., Gu, Y. H., & Ni, G. X. (2019). Acupuncture therapy for fibromyalgia: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Journal of Pain Research, 12, 527–542. https://doi.org/10.2147/JPR.S186227