Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) affects an estimated 2 percent of the population. It is diagnosed when there is a history of widespread pain in all four quadrants of the body for at least three months, and pain in at least 11 of 18 designated tender points on the body.
What is Fibromyalgia Syndrome?
From the perspective of western medicine, Fibromyalgia is an enigma since there’s no medically explained syndrome. There are no laboratory tests that can confirm this diagnosis either.
While not all affected persons experience all associated symptoms, the following symptoms commonly occur together:
- Chronic pain
- Debilitating fatigue
- Difficulty sleeping
- Joint stiffness
- Chronic headaches
- Inability to concentrate (called “fibro fog”)
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Tingling or poor circulation in the hands and feet
- Painful menstrual cramps
- Restless legs syndrome
Symptoms often begin after a physical or emotional trauma, but in many cases there appears to be no triggering event. Women are more prone to develop the disorder than are men, and the risk of Fibromyalgia increases with age.
Research shows that up to 90 percent of people with Fibromyalgia have turned to complementary or alternative medicine to manage their symptoms. Acupuncture, in particular, has become a popular treatment choice and has been shown to be an effective treatment for FMS.
From A Chinese Medical Perspective
Chinese medicine does not recognize Fibromyalgia as one particular disease pattern. Instead, it aims to treat the symptoms unique to each individual depending on their constitution, emotional state, the intensity and location of their pain, digestive health, sleeping patterns and an array of other signs and symptoms.
Since symptoms of Fibromyalgia vary greatly from one person to another, a wide array of traditional and alternative treatments have been shown to be the most effective way of treating this difficult syndrome.
From a Chinese medical perspective, Fibromyalgia is viewed as a classical case of “Severe Stagnation of Qi and Blood.”
The theory of pain is expressed in this famous Chinese saying: “Bu tong ze tong, tong ze bu tong” which means “free flow: no pain, no free flow: pain.”—which means when the Qi (vital energy force) and blood flow smoothly, there can’t be any pain. The disruption of Qi that results in Fibromyalgia is usually associated with disharmonies of the Liver, Spleen, Kidney, and Heart systems.
Since pain is a hallmark symptom of Fibromyalgia, our treatment protocols focus on pain reduction primarily, along with stimulating the flow of Qi and blood in patients’ bodies. We also look into emotional/psychological components very seriously in treating Fibromyalgia.
If you have Fibromyalgia, acupuncture and Chinese medicine may be what you’ve been looking for to ease your symptoms and reclaim your health and vitality.