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  • Writer's pictureChristopher Johnson

Fibromyalgia: Just the Facts

Acupuncture is widely-recognized for the unique therapeutic effect it has on a variety of diseases and conditions as a non-pharmacological treatment in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Patients experiencing all sorts of pain--arthritis, migraines, menstrual cramps, back pain, and even fibromyalgia--continue to seek relief and find results through acupuncture.

What Is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a fairly common chronic disorder of central pain processing that can cause widespread pain and tenderness throughout the body and seriously affect the quality of an individual's life. Patients have also reported feeling intense fatigue, as well as having disruptive sleep, mood swings, headaches, depression, and memory problems. People of all ages are affected by fibromyalgia, but it typically affects women over the age of forty.

Although it is common, fibromyalgia seems to be shrouded in mystery. Experts don’t quite know what causes it. Certain genes you inherit from your biological parents might make you more likely to develop fibromyalgia. Studies have found a link between biological parents who have fibromyalgia and their children — this might mean it’s passed down through families. People with fibromyalgia are usually more sensitive to pain than most people. Experts haven’t found the direct link yet, but they think genetic mutations in the genes responsible for forming the neurotransmitters in your brain that broadcast and receive pain signals to your body might cause fibromyalgia.

In order to receive a diagnosis, a medical provider will conduct a physical exam and have a discussion with a patient about their health history. They’ll ask about your symptoms and when you first noticed them.

There’s no single test that can diagnose fibromyalgia. Usually, diagnosing it is part of a differential diagnosis — which is a medical process of elimination. Your provider will make a diagnosis by comparing several conditions with related symptoms. This process leads to your final diagnosis. Your provider might use blood tests to rule out other common causes of fatigue like anemia or issues with your thyroid gland.

Fibromyalgia is a disorder that is referred to as a "dynamic" condition. This means that a patient won't go through symptoms in any sort of predetermined order.

Using a holistic approach, like the one I use in my practice, is well-situated for patients living with fibromyalgia: every person is different, so the way fibromyalgia affects each patient will differ. At some point in their journey with fibromyalgia, a patient will typically be treated with one or several of the following modalities:

  • Non-pharmacological treatments: Traditional Chinese Medicine (acupuncture, acupressure, herbal treatments), yoga, and dynamic movement exercises

  • Psychological treatments: A mental health professional will suggest strategies to manage symptoms that affect your mental and emotional health.

  • Pharmacological treatment: Taking medication to manage your symptoms.

  • Daily functioning: A practitioner, including a Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine, can help you navigate your daily routine if you’re experiencing severe symptoms that make it hard to participate in your regular activities.

Here For You

Fibromyalgia causes pain--sometimes a dull ache, sometimes a shooting pain-- all throughout your body. It can also make you feel fatigued, depressed, and like your mind is clouded by a fog. Even though experts don’t know what causes fibromyalgia, it is absolutely real—and so are your feelings and your symptoms. They might come and go or be hard to describe, but how you feel is valid and important.

If you are living with the pain and frustration that life with fibromyalgia can bring about, consider Traditional Chinese Medicine. By using a holistic approach, I am able to help patients relieve many of the symptoms associated with fibromyalgia.

Contact Everybody Healing Center today to begin living life fully again!

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