Over 3.7 million Americans suffer with diagnosed fibromyalgia. It’s a common and chronic condition that causes pain and tenderness in joints, muscles and tendons. Acupuncture may help. Susan Kim, DC, FIAMA, CCN, CSCS, explains how:
How can acupuncture help fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that causes pain and tenderness in joints, muscles and tendons. The pain usually affects the neck, shoulders, chest, legs and lower back, and the condition is generally accompanied by sleep disorders, fatigue, gastrointestinal disorders and depression.
In a 2005 study by the Mayo Clinic, fibromyalgia patients who were treated with acupuncture had more significant improvement than those who were not.
Acupuncture needling decreases tender and painful spots and pain levels by increasing blood flow. In addition, a 1998 study in Rheumatology International suggested that acupuncture increases serotonin and pain-modulating substances released into the blood, which is another way acupuncture helps with fibromyalgia.
Acupuncture is a non-invasive and safe treatment for symptomatic relief of fibromyalgia and many other conditions. The needles are very thin, made of stainless steel, one-time use only and virtually painless. After the initial consultation and examination, the patient takes a comfortable position in a private room. Treatments typically take 30-60 minutes.
Chinese cupping is another procedure that can be used. Vacuum cupping separates different layers in muscle tissue to increase blood flow and move qi (pronounced “chee”).
Due to the chronic nature of fibromyalgia, several courses of acupuncture treatments are recommended: 6-12 visits, usually 1-2 times a week for 6-8 weeks.