Fibromyalgia affects three to six million Americans, or about 2% of the population. It’s most common in women 34 to 56 years old, 10-20% of which are severely debilitated. Fibromyalgia is a pain condition and is often spread throughout the muscles and soft tissue, including the head, neck, shoulders, back, and thighs. Its cause is unknown but does often occur in patients who’ve had emotional or physical trauma. It can also be preceded by a viral infection or show up in patients with autoimmune conditions like arthritis. Conventional treatment includes drugs to relieve symptoms or improve sleep but they also come with side effects. Chinese medicine employs natural therapies that are well tolerated like acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, nutritional therapy, and mind body exercise to balance the many systems of the body so that fibromyalgia is improved or reversed.
How We Successfully Treat Fibromyalgia
Widespread stiffness, aches, and pains are the usual symptoms. When coupled with the finding of 11 to 18 specific tender points on the body, a diagnosis of fibromyalgia is made. Many sufferers also have sleep issues, anxiety, headaches, digestive issues and reduced stress management abilities. X-rays, blood tests, and muscle biopsies often appear normal, and thus the symptoms are unexplained.
Common treatments are geared toward addressing sleep problems and pain. Deep sleep is so crucial to body tissue repair, antibody production, immune function and the regulation of neurotransmitters and hormones. Low doses of antidepressants at bedtime may promote deeper sleep which can be helpful in some patients’ recovery from this condition. Medicines that boost the body’s level of serotonin and norepinephrine (neurotransmitters that modulate sleep, pain, and immune function) are commonly prescribed as well. While some patients respond well to these drugs, relief varies. Plus, these medications may have side effects such as drowsiness, constipation, dry mouth, rash, headache, nervousness, tremors, dizziness, and increased appetite. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen may also be beneficial, though they should not be taken for long periods of time due to potential kidney toxicity.
At Tao of Wellness we believe fibromyalgia is a condition where our body is “out of sync.” It most likely started with the combination of a weakened constitution and a stress trigger. A weakened constitution can be caused by chronic stress, environmental factors, poor sleep, or poor nutrition. The disease trigger can be an infection like a cold or virus, or a traumatic event. We look at each patient to assess what imbalances are present. There are a number of different Chinese medical patterns that we see frequently with fibromyalgia, and treatments are tailored to each patient’s condition and constitution. We look at a patient’s living, working, and relationship situations since they can play a major role in sustaining recovery. Relief can be found through acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, stretching exercises, mind body exercise, sleep management, tuina bodywork, and far-infrared heat therapy.
Our Customized Therapies for Overcoming Fibromyalgia
Acupuncture is very helpful for fibromyalgia as it regulates neurotransmitters and brings them into balance, improving both mood and pain. Learn more about acupuncture.
Herbal medicine is prescribed to help the many systems that make up the body. The chronic pain is addressed, as well as the concurrent symptoms of fatigue, depression, and insomnia. Chinese herbal medicine is designed to reduce symptoms but also to deal with the immune and hormonal imbalances that are part of the underlying problem. Learn more about Chinese herbal medicine
Mind Body Exercise
Regular exercises that are stretching-oriented such as yoga, tai chi & qi gong can be very helpful. Meditation on a regular daily basis, even if just ten minutes, especially before bedtime, can help the body recover. Learn more about tai chi and qi gong.
Regular, gentle acupressure is one of the most popular forms of tuina and can be helpful in relieving the muscular tension and pain of fibromyalgia. There are several other tuina techniques used by our doctors that allow for a wide range of healing possibilities. Learn more about tuina.
Far-Infrared Heat Therapy
Our far-infrared sauna warms up the body from the inside out and provides an ideal environment to reduce inflammation, relax the muscles, and facilitate tissue repair. Additionally, toxins and inflammatory waste products are carried out of the body from the skin, bowels, and bladder. Learn more about far-infrared heat therapy.
When you meet with one of our doctors certified in traditional Chinese nutrition you’ll receive recommendations such as eating lighter meals, especially at dinner. Preferred foods to heal fibromyalgia include vegetables, grains, and moderate amounts of proteins. Avoiding caffeine, sweets, and alcohol is also helpful. Reduce tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers as they may cause an acidic reaction in the body. Every patient receives nutritional guidance but during a nutritional consultation we evaluate your current eating habits and a custom plan, complete with meals and snacks, will be devised for your specific fibromyalgia experience.
Tao of Wellness utilizes a host of supplements to combat fibromyalgia as well as many other autoimmune and pain disorders. Fish oil, carnitine, bromelain, papain, and turmeric all have their place to reduce pain and rebuild muscle. Learn more about nutritional therapy.
Natural Healthcare for Fibromyalgia
Tao of Wellness was established in 1976 as a resource to address fibromyalgia. We strive to support you in mind and body, and invite you to make an appointment for your health and wellbeing. It would be our pleasure to serve you.