Fibromyalgia is a syndrome that may not be very well known by most of the people, but it is as real as any other disease or syndrome out there. Its main symptom is experiencing pain all over the body and apparently without any clear reason, which is why some people may be pushed into thinking that Fibromyalgia is just a state of mind or even worse, a mental illness.
As a matter of fact, this syndrome has been considered by many to be a mental disorder. However, recent investigation says that this is more of a neurobiological disorder or a functional somatic one.
Basically, the development of Fibromyalgia is related to certain imbalances that appear in the brain and lead to abnormalities in the way the brain processes pain. In their own turn, these imbalances can be caused by a lot of factors which can vary from one patient to another.
The most common causes that lead to developing imbalances at the level of the brain neuro-chemical processes include stress, anxiety, depression, repetitive injuries, arthritis, Central Nervous System disorders, trauma to the spinal cord (or to the brain), genetics and gender (usually, females tend to develop this syndrome more than men, and they most commonly develop it around the menopause age).
The status in the case of some of these causes (such as depression or arthritis) is quite uncertain and some professionals consider them to be effects, symptoms and disorders that are simply connected to Fibromyalgia and not causing it in the proper sense of the term.
One thing is clear though the signs and the symptoms of Fibromyalgia can differ a lot from one patient to another and that can make the diagnosis quite difficult under these circumstances. When someone is suspect to suffer from this syndrome, a series of medical examinations and inquiries will be necessary.
One of the most common examinations is that of 18 tender points of the patient’s body. When more than 11 of them are painful, the chances are quite high that the person is suffering from Fibromyalgia.
The most encountered symptoms in patients suffering from Fibromyalgia include pain (chronic, for more than 3 months and in different areas of the body), sleep disorders (such as bad sleeping patterns or the Restless Leg Syndrome), stiffness (especially in the area of the joints), numbness (especially in the fingers), fatigue, headaches, the Irritable Bowel Syndrome, painful menstruation and even cognitive and memory issues.
Most often, the medical professionals will recommend patients with Fibromyalgia a series of medications that should be combined with some alternative methods of relieving pain and stress. Among these, acupuncture has been proved to be both popular and effective.
How can acupuncture help patients with Fibromyalgia?
To understand better whether or not this alternative remedy is good or not for you or for someone you know who is suffering from this syndrome, you should first understand the basic principles that stand at the basis of acupuncture.
This Chinese alternative medicine method has been known “back home” for thousands and thousands of years and it has helped many people ameliorate various medical conditions they had. In the Western countries, it only started to become popular in the 1970s, when a wave of information related to alternative therapy hit the world.
This was the time when America, as well as the rest of the Western world found out about yoga, meditation, acupuncture and about other such relaxation methods and healing natural remedies.
With the increasing popularity in these kinds of practices, nowadays many insurance agencies include them in their policies, and acupuncture does have a special place among them. Why is it so popular and how is it that it works though?
Studies have shown that acupuncture can help sending certain signals to the brain and the Central Nervous System. In the case of Fibromyalgia patients therefore, this alternative remedy can be very helpful in ameliorating their condition because it can help them with the way their brain perceives pain (which, as mentioned before, is what actually causes the development of this syndrome).
Pain is not the only thing that can be ameliorated by the use of acupuncture though. In the end, the patient may regain his/her good state of mind and he/she can start developing better habits (including better sleeping habits) as well.
The fact that acupuncture helps with relieving stress is also helpful in the case of those who suffer from the Fibromyalgia syndrome, especially since stress is tightly connected to its development.
Acupuncture is a safe practice, as long as it is performed by well trained staff. It will not interact in a negative way with other treatments that your doctor may have prescribed you (including drugs such as pain killers, antidepressants or that have an anti-inflammatory effect). However, you should bear in mind that there is a low level of risk when it comes to this alternative therapy as well.
These risks are very rarely encountered, and as long as you call for the services of someone who is licensed to practice this method, you are safe. Most of the times, the bad effects of undergoing acupuncture are related to the bad usage of non-sterile needles. Bruises, dizziness and nausea also have a low occurrence in the case of patients with Fibromyalgia who use acupuncture as an adjutant method of relieving pain.
A licensed acupuncturist will not simply stick needles into the patient’s body without examining him/her first (according to the rules of the acupuncture, of course). The color of the tongue can be a sign for these practitioners and so can other symptoms that the patient may show.
The short-term effects of the first sessions of acupuncture may include pain and sleepiness, but according to the specialists, this is an actual sign that the treatment works and that it has been applied correctly.
As a conclusion, yes, acupuncture can help you with ameliorating the symptoms of Fibromyalgia. Make sure that the practitioner you go to is licensed and that your doctor knows about it and this alternative Chinese method can help you.
However, if you feel that needles will not help you, you can choose another alternative remedy as well (meditation, yoga, etc.) and see if it works for you.