At first glance, acupuncture and fibromyalgia may seem like an unusual combination. After all, many people find it counterintuitive that being stuck with multiple needles could provide pain relief. Although it may seem odd in theory, the reality is that acupuncture is widely recognized for its ability to combat a wide array of discomforts and ailments, including fibromyalgia. In fact, many fibromyalgia sufferers find this time-tested treatment incredibly helpful in managing their condition.
Acupuncture and Fibromyalgia
According to Medical News Today, an estimated five million Americans are living with fibromyalgia. Why do so many of them turn to acupuncture when seeking relief? When searching for the answer to that question, it is useful to learn more about acupuncture and fibromyalgia and to explore how fibromyalgia patients might benefit from this alternative medicine.
A form of complementary medicine, acupuncture has been practiced for thousands of years. According to the teachings of traditional Chinese medicine, vital energy referred to as “qi” flows throughout the body via energy channels called meridians. When the path of this energy is blocked or obstructed, dysfunction and ill health result. Acupuncture targets these blockages by placing extremely thin needles in specific points, clearing away the obstructions so that qi can move freely and provide the necessary nourishment to the body’s organs and tissues. Western medicine offers a different explanation for acupuncture’s effectiveness. Researchers believe that stimulating specific points on the body with acupuncture needles prompts the body’s own healing resources by triggering the release of neurotransmitters, hormones, and other natural chemicals.
Acupuncture is utilized independently and in conjunction with other forms of treatment to address a variety of health concerns, including all of the following:
- Chronic pain disorders like fibromyalgia
- Migraine headaches
- Digestive issues
- Depression and anxiety
- Infertility and hormone imbalances
- Respiratory illness and allergies
Fibromyalgia is a medical condition that can make simply getting through the day difficult. This disorder is characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, intense fatigue, and concentration issues often dubbed “fibro fog.” While the condition is still poorly understood, doctors theorize that it affects the way that the brain processes pain signals, leaving sufferers more sensitive to pain and amplifying their sensations of discomfort. To make matters even more challenging, fibromyalgia often coexists with other painful conditions like tension headaches, migraines, temporomandibular joint disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, and painful bladder syndrome. Anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders are also common among sufferers of fibromyalgia.
While lab work may be done to rule out other issues, there is currently no lab test that can confirm the presence of fibromyalgia. Instead, the disorder is diagnosed when a person has suffered from unexplained widespread pain for more than three months. In addition, there is no cure for fibromyalgia, but there are treatments available that can minimize symptoms and improve quality of life. Most patients rely on a combination of medications, therapies, self-care remedies, and treatments from complementary medicines like acupuncture.
Treating Fibromyalgia with Acupuncture
Why is acupuncture a useful ally for people battling fibromyalgia? It is a drug-free, noninvasive method of addressing many of the disruptive symptoms that make fibromyalgia so challenging to live with. When it comes to acupuncture and fibromyalgia, this unique form of complementary medicine can help with all of the following:
- Pain: Many people are understandably wary of pain-management medications because unpleasant side effects often accompany their use. Acupuncture is different. An effective, drug-free form of natural pain relief, it often allows individuals struggling with chronic pain to reduce or eliminate their reliance on medications.
- Poor Sleep: The majority of people who undergo acupuncture report sleeping better during the nights following their treatment. In fact, some patients even doze off during their treatment session.
- Constipation: By supporting the body’s ability to regulate itself properly, acupuncture can combat constipation. Reducing constipation can provide welcome relief to fibromyalgia sufferers struggling with digestive upsets and irritable bowel syndrome.
- Stress: Stress is considered a culprit in many modern health concerns, and it is known to aggravate fibromyalgia. Acupuncture has the potential to aid in the management of stress in several ways. First, it promotes relaxation. It also helps by reducing pain and improving sleep, two things that can improve an individual’s ability to cope with stressors effectively. Less pain also makes it easier for individuals living with fibromyalgia to be active, and exercise is both an important part of a healthy lifestyle and a great tool for managing stress.
Acupuncture can be utilized to treat specific concerns and to improve general wellness. Could this time-tested form of complementary medicine help you manage your fibromyalgia symptoms effectively? To learn more about acupuncture and how it can be used to treat fibromyalgia, contact us today to schedule an appointment. At Loehr Chiropractic and Acupuncture, we take a holistic approach to chiropractic care to promote healing and enhance the overall well-being of our clients. If you’re interested in acupuncture, we would love to help create an acupuncture treatment plan based on your individual needs. If you have any questions or would like to find out more about acupuncture treatments, call 417-887-8075 or leave us a message.