Acupuncture and Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is really a very painful condition whose root cause is unknown to allopathic medical practitioners.  Some doctors and alternative medical specialists believe that there are several causes of fibromyalgia that necessitate a number of various treatments. For them, not just a single reason can be attributed for this condition but rather factors that can be nutritional, constitutional and emotional in nature all combined that cause the development and prolonging of this condition.

There is little that allopathic medicine can offer to sufferers of fibromyalgia although alternative and holistic practitioners may also find it quite a challenge to treat. Medical experts who have successfully treated fibromyalgia recommend a comprehensive therapy that involves a combination of therapeutic exercises such as yoga, as well as nutritional supplements, herbs and acupuncture.  The reason for such varied modalities is that the condition is caused by a number of factors.

Emotional Considerations

Medical research has demonstrated that there is a high correlation of fibromyalgia cases to people with a history having been verbally, emotionally or sexually abused.  The destruction of trust and betrayal that happen in abusive situations can impact their victims in an emotional and physical way.  From the viewpoint of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), this betrayal gives rise profound imbalances between the earth and fire elements. Earth is associated with the health of our muscles as well as nourishment, obsession and worry. Fire, on the other hand, relates to the pericardium and the heart. Earth relates to the stomach and spleen. Fire is associated with connection, trust and intimacy. TCM sees fibromyalgia symptoms in terms of too much heat created in the heart brought about by abuse and betrayal.  This heat goes to the stomach and spleen, organ systems that govern our muscles.  This generates symptoms such as sleep problems (fire), fatigue and anxiety (earth), pain and inflammation. The victim of abuse thus ends up in a state of shock with all the major organ systems in the body shutting down followed by the onset of anxiety, pain and fatigue. The shock can last for a long time unless it is treated accordingly. Fortunately, there are very potent herbal and acupuncture protocols to overcome shock, which more often than not is the most important thing to address in fibromyalgia.  Western doctors and TCM practitioners find it a challenge to treat patients with fibromyalgia because these patients often identify themselves with their condition.  They associate their own selves with their suffering justifying the pity they feel for themselves. What makes the emotional attachment to their pain understandable is their experience of abuse.  So, the plan of treatment now often includes the overcoming of the “victimhood” mindset of these patients.

Therapeutic Considerations

One of the best therapies in overcoming fibromyalgia is meditation. This activity helps the person regain awareness to his/her life as well as to restore his/her balance and health.

Over-the-counter analgesics like ibuprofen, acetaminophen and aspirin are oftentimes useless in relieving pain caused by fibromyalgia. Other therapies like nutritional supplementation, exercise, dietary guidance, herbal medicine and acupuncture can be of much benefit. Various kinds of disorders can lead to symptoms that mimic fibromyalgia symptoms. They include Lyme disease, hepatitis, depression and anemia among others.  People whose fatigue and/or muscle pain persists for one week to two weeks need to consult with their health care provider. Chances are that there are certain underlying conditions that may need prompt treatment.

Acupuncture

One of the best medical treatments allopathic or otherwise, for relieving inflammation and pain is acupuncture. Acupuncture also helps harmonize emotional imbalances and increases energy. Patients with fibromyalgia usually are treated once a week for six to eight weeks. Skilled acupuncturists can greatly reduce the painful and debilitating symptoms of fibromyalgia.

Herbs

Herbal formulas are given to patients based on their own unique constitution. One herbal remedy called shen tong zhu yu tang helps to lessen inflammation, improves blood circulation and is effective for systemic pain.

Nutritional Considerations

Fibromyalgia patients often suffer from malabsorption and so more than normal amounts of nutrients are needed for them to function well.  One good way to help the body is to cleanse the colon to remove mucus and other debris in the gastrointestinal tract. Food allergies only make the symptoms worse. So knowing what foods causes hypersensitivity can prevent unnecessary pain and discomfort. A lot of sufferers of fibromyalgia are also burdened with irritable bowel syndrome and so it may good to undergo a thorough stool and digestive analysis to scout for the existence of parasites.

Fibromyalgia patients can consume a daily diet of unrefined flaxseed oil that contains high amounts of omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid.  This fatty acid is converted into hormone-like chemicals known as prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are very helpful in reducing fibromyalgia inflammation. High amounts of omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid are found in foods like salmon, mackerel, halibut, cod and trout.

Consuming a high-fiber diet such as steamed and raw vegetables as well eating smaller portions than larger ones during meals can help guarantee a steady stream of nutrients in the body and normalize muscle function.

If possible, never eat any foods high in hydrogenated or saturated fats like margarine, meat and dairy products since they weaken circulation and cause more pain and inflammation.

Stop drinking or taking in sugar, alcohol or caffeine – they worsen your fatigue, disrupt your sleep patterns and increase your muscle pain. Drink as many as eight glasses of clean, fluoride-free water each day. Herbal teas and fresh juices are highly recommended drinks. Copious amounts of fluids are necessary to treat your condition and filter out toxins.

Determine if your body’s sensitivity or food allergies may be contributing to your fibromyalgia.

Nutritional Supplements

Resolving fibromyalgia using nutritional supplements should be recommended only by your physician. Some of the supplements one should consider may include:

Calcium and Magnesuim

Sufferers of chronic pain particularly those with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia are almost always low in magnesium. Magnesium supplements have lead to very good outcomes in the treatment of fibromyalgia. Malic acid combined with magnesium supplements helps boost the energy level in the body.

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