Living with constant generalized pain, insomnia and affectation of mood is a reality for 5% of the population that is affected by fibromyalgia, the majority of whom are women between 40 and 50 years of age. In many cases, these women feel misunderstood and the pain and lack of empathy usually lead to frustration.
This condition, which is often disabling, can also be accompanied by frequent headaches, IBS, Bladder Pain Syndrome, anxiety and depression. However the worst part is how this disease considerably alters the quality of life.
We don’t really know how fibromyalgia starts however it is believed that people with fibromyalgia notice pain in an amplified way because of the way their brain processes these signals through an increase in certain neurotransmitters. Sometimes it all starts after a medical event, such as a physical trauma, surgery or infection, or even after an intense emotional situation. In other cases, it develops cumulatively without a sudden triggering situation. However there is NO a genetic factor involved.
It is diagnosed when there is widespread pain for over 3 months and there is no other disease that could cause the pain. Then the doctor will carry out tests to rule out other pathologies, if the patient suffers from “18 painful points” and they are accompanied by other symptoms (fatigue, stiffness, insomnia…), the specialist will confirm the diagnosis of fibromyalgia.
For this reason, treatments for fibromyalgia rely on palliative drugs and pain relievers. Most start treatment with analgesics or NSAIDs, but a large part eventually develop emotional disorders due to pain, fatigue and insomnia and start treatment with antidepressants and/or anticonvulsants.
In Chinese Medicine, treatments are personalized. However there is usually a common pattern between people with fibromyalgia: they have a water nature.
In cases of fibromyalgia, a global treatment is especially important, which includes not only the treatments that will be applied in the consultation but also CHANGES IN LIFE HABITS, on which the success and durability of the results will largely depend.
When someone with fibromyalgia comes to our clinic, we usually start the treatment with a MASSAGE AND THEN ACUPUNCTURE, the combination of both techniques makes an improvement in symptoms, especially in pain and mood after the first session. Then we will recommend some herbal medicine for the first 1-3 months, aimed at strengthening the body, toning up, and thus relieving fatigue.
Each person reacts differently but the goal is the same. We usually also recommend DIET CHANGES and as soon as fatigue improves, DO PHYSICAL ACTIVITY. Another frequent recommendation will be to do meditation, Qi Gong or yoga, to regulate stress as it makes particularly worse the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia is a very frequent reason for consultation in our clinic, with really positive results as their quality of life improves significantly leading some cases to a free-pain new person. However to keep the results of the treatment, we usually insist on the need to change habits giving them the source to manage the symptoms on their own so symptoms do not return.
Photo by Anthony Tran