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Acupuncture for Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a muscle pain condition that can cause pain all over the body, sleep issues, fatigue, and emotional and mental distress. With fibromyalgia, chronic muscle tension squeezes the water, blood, and nutrients out of the muscles, causing them to become more dry, fibrous, and stiff. The tight muscles cause your nervous system to produce pain signals, and your over-stimulated neurological system sends messages back to the muscles to stay contracted and tense. This “tension-pain cycle” may explain why people with fibromyalgia are often more sensitive to pain than people without fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia affects about 4 million US adults. Most people are diagnosed during middle age, and women are twice as likely to develop fibromyalgia as are men. The causes of fibromyalgia are not known, but the disorder can be effectively treated and managed with natural treatments such as acupuncture.


What are the main symptoms of Fibromyalgia?

People with fibromyalgia typically experience muscle pain, fatigue, brain fog, trouble sleeping, and wake up stiff and achy. Headaches, depression, and anxiety can follow. Fibromyalgia symptoms vary, ranging from annoying to severely debilitating.


How is fibromyalgia diagnosed?

Fibromyalgia is diagnosed using your medical history, along with a physical exam including the Fibromyalgia Tender Point Test. There are 18 specific points (9 on each side) on the body that are especially likely to be tender when someone has fibromyalgia. If at least 11 of these 18 points are tender to palpation, that confirms the diagnosis. If you want to test yourself, the locations of the nine bilateral tender points to press are:

  1. Base of skull
  2. Between neck and shoulder
  3. Lower part of the neck (in front)
  4. Edge of upper breast just below the collarbone
  5. Midpoint of the upper part of both shoulders
  6. Upper and outer part of buttocks
  7. Hip bone
  8. Inner corner of elbow
  9. Slightly above the inner part of the knee


How can acupuncture help fibromyalgia?

Acupuncture treatment provides the most effective and safe solution for fibromyalgia. Trigger point acupuncture can pinpoint and release the areas of muscle tension and pain. Worsley Five Element acupuncture can treat the underlying cause of this condition by balancing the vital (Qi) energy that nourishes your body, mind, and spirit. Balancing you as a whole approach with acupuncture can reduce pain, improve sleep, and harmonize your emotions. Combining the Five Element acupuncture with the trigger point acupuncture yields a comprehensive benefit.

Everyone is unique in how they respond to acupuncture treatment. A typical course of acupuncture treatment for Fibromyalgia consists of 10 to 20 treatments. Treatment begins twice weekly for 2 or 3 weeks, followed by weekly treatment until symptoms are significantly reduced. Treatment frequency is then gradually spread out to allow the treatments to last longer over time. Following the initial course of acupuncture, a monthly maintenance treatment plan is recommended, to maintain the benefits from your treatment.


What other therapies can help fibromyalgia?

To provide the best results, acupuncture can be safely combined with these other therapies:

  • Therapeutic massage therapy helps relieve muscle tension
  • Staying active daily with low-impact aerobic exercise and muscle strengthening exercise is vital to keep the muscles moving
  • Yoga and stretching helps keep the muscles flexible
  • Stress management techniques such as meditation and breathing techniques
  • Good sleep habits to improve the quality of sleep
  • Medications, including anti-depressant drugs and over-the-counter pain relievers are often prescribed by medical doctors. These drugs can be effective to reduce fibromyalgia pain, but may have undesired side effects.

At the Acupuncture & Holistic Health Center in Jacksonville, Florida, we specialize in natural treatments for fibromyalgia. We offer a comprehensive program for our fibromyalgia patients including acupuncture, massage therapy, homeopathy, and nutritional support. If you or someone you know has fibromyalgia, get started on your path to a better quality of life today by contacting us at the Acupuncture & Holistic Health Center at (904) 296-9545. Your muscles will thank you!


By Michael Kowalski A.P., Dipl. Ac. (NCCAOM)
Acupuncture Physician @ Acupuncture & Holistic Health Center, Jacksonville, FL

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