Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has long known about the potential effectiveness of acupuncture in the management of fibromyalgia. In fact, the very basis for this type of treatment is based on Chinese beliefs and principles: acupuncture promotes healing through restoring the natural flow of energy through the body, preventing blockages from “shifting” or “contaminating” the normal flow of qi through the body.
Acupuncture works by stimulating the nerves and promoting blood circulation to specific areas of the body. TCM also teaches that stress, improper diet, and sleep loss, among other things, contribute to fibromyalgia, and that these can be effectively addressed through acupuncture. Since the early 1990s, there have been a number of case studies and clinical investigations showing that acupuncture does indeed offer relief from both widespread pain and other chronic health complaints, including fibromyalgia.
One of the first symptoms typical of fibromyalgia is widespread pain, particularly on the sides of the body. Most patients often feel pain on their hands and the arms. Fibromyalgia pain is often characterized by a dull ache rather than a sharp, stabbing sensation. Because pain is widespread, many patients feel lost and confused, having difficulty sleeping or concentrating. Fatigue and depression can also become a problem, and patients often feel sluggish and tired.
Many patients also report having problems with digestive function. They may experience nausea, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea. Fibromyalgia often causes changes in bowel habits and the quality of life can be reduced as a result. In the United States, there are relatively few healthcare practitioners trained in traditional Chinese medicine. This has resulted in a lack of research studies comparing Chinese medicine to Western healthcare practices and treatment methods.
For this reason, most healthcare practitioners don’t advocate the use of acupuncture and Chinese medicine. Instead, they advise patients to take medications for chronic pain and to exercise. Unfortunately, because Chinese medicine doesn’t have the same background as western medical practice, it may not provide the same reliability when it comes to providing consistent pain relief. If you do choose to try Chinese medicine or other alternative treatments, make sure that your healthcare practitioners are trained and licensed in order to provide these treatments.
Another alternative option to managing fibromyalgia is dry needling. This treatment involves the use of tiny needles pressed into the skin at certain key points along the meridian points. If done properly, the needle will only puncture the skin and not actually go through it. However, because needles are used in this treatment, some patients have reported receiving an intense sensation in their skin that is often described as a tingling sensation or numbing pain. Because this sensation can be quite uncomfortable, patients should be prepared to take it seriously.
Because acupuncture and dry needling are both pain relievers, many patients turn to these methods as a part of their fibromyalgia treatment. However, Chinese medicine and other alternative practices don’t focus merely on the pain; they focus on maintaining the general health of the body. That is why many Chinese herbal remedies, like those found in traditional Chinese medicine, include things like the herb ba Gua to help maintain a healthy nervous system. Because of this, Chinese medicine and other alternative healthcare practitioners have begun using Valerian to help relieve chronic pain and prevent further fibromyalgia flare-ups.
In addition to Chinese medicines and alternative healthcare practitioners, many sufferers of fibromyalgia also turn to natural remedies. Some of these herbal remedies include herbal teas, especially those with Valerian, and vitamin C supplements. In addition, sufferers can also benefit from using cold compression packs to reduce inflammation. Although pain relievers can work wonders on some symptoms typical of fibromyalgia, there are some conditions where they simply don’t work. For example, taking too much Vitamin C can cause the skin to break out, so it is important to follow the recommended daily dosage for Vitamin C, rather than go beyond it.
Many alternative healthcare practitioners also work with individuals who suffer from a number of symptoms typical of fibromyalgia. These alternative treatment options allow sufferers to explore different treatments and often find relief from pain and other symptoms. However, it is important for anyone suffering from fibromyalgia to consult with their primary care provider before trying any alternative therapies or medications. It is also wise to seek a second opinion from a professional who specializes in treating pain and other symptoms of fibromyalgia.