Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that causes fatigue, as well as widespread pain and tenderness in the muscles, ligaments and tendons. People with fibromyalgia have specific tender points on their bodies that are particularly sensitive when pressure is applied. Fibromyalgia is also associated with sleep problems, headaches and trouble concentrating. While there is no definitive treatment for fibromyalgia, traditional treatment usually involves a combination of medications to reduce pain and improve sleep. Acupuncture is also considered an effective treatment option for fibromyalgia. Without the side-effects of medication, acupuncture treatments may help to block pain impulses from reaching the brain, and increase the level of endorphins in the body, thereby minimizing the painful symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Benefits of Acupuncture
Research suggests that acupuncture may produce complex changes in the brain and body, by stimulating the nerve fibers that send signals to the brain and spinal cord, to release certain hormones that block pain. Acupuncture is a safer alternative to medication, as there are no side effects and no negative interactions with other treatments. Benefits of acupuncture treatments for fibromyalgia include:
- Decreased pain
- Improved sleep
Acupuncture may also help to boost the immune system, reducing the swelling and inflammation that may be associated with fibromyalgia.
The Acupuncture Method
Acupuncture involves the insertion of very fine needles to various depths into strategic points on the body. Depending on the individual, the location of the acupuncture points may vary, and the needles may be manipulated manually or by electrical stimulation. The needles help to increase blood flow in fibromyalgia patients and increased blood circulation can help to reduce the number of tender points throughout the body and increase muscle strength. Heat, pressure and lasers may also be used as part of the acupuncture treatment for fibromyalgia patients. Typical treatments last from 15 to 30 minutes and frequency of treatments will vary based on the individual.