It’s not just pain. It’s not just fatigue. And it’s certainly not all in your head.
Managing your constant pain, plummeting energy, and unpredictable mood swings is complicated and downright debilitating at times. Despite your best efforts to get on top of your health, the struggle sometimes feels impossible.
The good news is that you don’t have to live under the cloud of fibromyalgia forever.
Acupuncture and Chinese medicine provide natural relief for fibromyalgia, helping to reduce your pain and fatigue so you can get back to living a life you love.
Here we’ll learn more about how acupuncture can help relieve the symptoms of fibromyalgia and share some essential tips for creating a pain-free life, right from the comfort of home.
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that can affect the entire body. The main symptom of fibromyalgia is musculoskeletal pain (pain in the muscles and bones) in specific areas of tenderness, or trigger points.
But pain is not the only symptom of fibromyalgia. People who suffer from this condition also experience fatigue, brain fog, sleep disturbances, headaches, bladder issues, TMJ, digestive disorders, and dry eyes. Like other chronic conditions, fibromyalgia also affects mental health and many people also report depression and anxiety.
Fibromyalgia is relatively common, affecting between 2% to 8% of the population. Interestingly, fibromyalgia is more common in women, and symptoms in women are more severe than in men.
What Causes Fibromyalgia?
Despite several studies on fibromyalgia, we still don’t know exactly what causes it. Results suggest that it is caused by changes to our response to nerve stimulation. The brain and spinal cord over-react to certain stimuli (this could be either “real” pain or harmless sensations), which leads to increased levels of the chemical messengers that signal pain. As a result, someone with fibromyalgia experiences pain more frequently or severely than others.
While we don’t know why fibromyalgia occurs, there are some potential factors that could be linked to developing the condition:
- Neurotransmitter imbalances: Those with fibromyalgia show lower levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline – all of which are required to reduce pain and improve energy and mood.
- Genetics: Fibromyalgia tends to run in families, which suggests genetics might be at play.
- Infections: Studies show that there is a correlation between past illness or infections and the development of fibromyalgia.
- Trauma: Fibromyalgia can be triggered by physical trauma, such as a car accident, major life change, or prolonged psychological stress.
Chinese Medicine and Fibromyalgia
Chinese medicine views fibromyalgia slightly differently from Western medicine. In Chinese medicine, pain, stress, and fatigue are often signs that the body is imbalanced and energy isn’t flowing properly. You can overcome this condition by using therapies (like acupuncture) and habits that return your body to a state of balance and healthy, pain-free flow.
While no two people with fibromyalgia are the same, there are some similarities. Here are the three most common patterns of fibromyalgia we see at Wellnest Denver:
The Stuck Type
This type of pattern is most common with those who have high stress levels and a history of depression, anger, frustration, repressed emotions, or headaches. Pain may be strong and debilitating, especially when under stress.
The Drained Type
Those who are chronically exhausted, no matter how much sleep they get, may fall into the drained pattern. They may also show signs of poor digestion, weakened immunity. Their fibromyalgia pain is more dull, aching, and dispersed.
The Stuck and Drained Type
Unfortunately, many people with fibromyalgia have aspects of both the above patterns, since these issues tend to occur together. We can use Chinese medicine to bring harmony, improve the flow of qi and blood, and restore the body’s natural energy and vitality.
3 Ways Acupuncture Relieves Fibromyalgia Symptoms
Acupuncture is widely used for pain management and has been an effective pain relief treatment for thousands of years. More recently, however, several clinical trials confirmed that acupuncture is an effective treatment option for pain conditions, including fibromyalgia.
Here’s what the studies showed:
- Acupuncture alters the chemical messengers in the brain to moderate pain levels and lift depression. Stimulating specific acupuncture points can increase pain-relieving endorphins and while decreasing stress hormones. This helps to lower our overall pain sensitivity.
- Acupuncture improves muscle stiffness and joint mobility. Acupuncture helps to relieve the classic fibromyalgia muscular pain and stiffness by stimulating blood flow and to increase blood flow through areas of pain.
- Acupuncture reduces pain-inducing inflammation. Acupuncture promotes the release of immunomodulatory factors which decrease inflammation levels. Inflammation is closely linked to pain, discomfort and fatigue.
In addition to acupuncture, Chinese medicine offers several other natural approaches for fibromyalgia relief, like cupping, Chinese herbal medicine, and dietary counseling.
If you’re not already getting acupuncture to relieve the pain, fatigue, and mood swings of fibromyalgia, now is the time to start. Regular acupuncture treatments help you overcome your fibromyalgia symptoms and help the body recover faster. And if you are currently receiving acupuncture, be sure to stay on top of your recommended treatment schedule. Acupuncture works a bit like exercise or diet – it delivers the best results with regular visits.
Free Yourself from Fibromyalgia with Chinese Medicine and a Healthy Lifestyle Habits
Chinese medicine is not just about needles and herbs; it’s also about how you live between treatments, outside the calm and comfort of our Wellnest Denver acupuncture clinic.
Little changes in your everyday life can make a huge difference, and a healthy lifestyle can be your best ally in treating your chronic condition. Let’s explore some things you can introduce in your daily life to tackle both the physical and the psychological manifestations of fibromyalgia.
- Eat anti-inflammatory foods.
Research studies show that inflammatory foods can cause tiny “leaks” in the lining of your gut. These leaks allow bacteria, chemicals, and toxins from the digestive tract to travel into the bloodstream and cause widespread inflammation. This process is known as “leaky gut syndrome” and could be a significant contributing factor to fibromyalgia.
Reducing inflammation is a critical step in both reducing pain and healing holistically from fibromyalgia. Therefore, try to avoid overly processed, sugary foods. Instead, eat foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Or, get a customized nutrition plan based on your body’s specific needs.
- Exercise easy and often.
If you suffer from fibromyalgia, you should move often (daily if possible) but gently. Keep your intensity low, your duration short, and stop before you feel exhausted. If you exercise too much or at too high an intensity, you risk exacerbating your pain and fatigue. Similarly, if you don’t exercise regularly enough, you won’t benefit from the pain-relieving, fatigue-busting, mood-boosting effects of regular movement. Good exercises for fibromyalgia include gentle walking, stretching, water-based activities, yin yoga, and Tai Chi.
- Meditation and visualization
Studies show that there is a link between chronic stress, stress hormones, and the prevalence of fibromyalgia. The two are clearly linked, and that means that stress management is a high priority for anyone suffering from fibromyalgia. Meditation and visualization exercises are some of the most accessible stress management tools around. Try a pain management meditation from a free app like Insight Timer or simply spend a few minutes each day practicing mindfulness.
Overcome Fibromyalgia at Wellnest Denver
No one should have to live in pain everyday. While fibromyalgia may be a complex condition to manage, there is hope. Natural therapies like acupuncture Chinese herbal medicine, paired with healthy daily habits, can help you release pain and stress and step into a more vibrant, active life.
At Wellnest Denver, we help people with fibromyalgia harness the power of acupuncture and herbal medicine and create a healthy, pain-free lifestyle. Schedule your Denver acupuncture consultation today to get started!