Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medical practice, in which small needles are inserted at specific points in the skin. The traditional belief was that these needles would balance a person's chi or energy, curing many diseases. While this practice is becoming more prevalent in Western medicine, the basic philosophy is much different. Modern medicine contributes the health benefits to stimulation of the nervous system and an increase of blood flow, both of which stimulate the body's production of natural painkillers. Acupuncture has been used for the treatment of nausea / vomiting related to chemotherapy, headaches and migraines, back pain and a multitude of other disorders. There is now some evidence that it may be beneficial in the treatment of fibromyalgia and anxiety.
Benefits of Acupuncture in the Treatment of Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia and its causes are still not fully understood. It is a disorder characterized by generalized muscle pain and achiness. It often occurs in conjunction with depression and anxiety and is more prevalent in women. Other common complaints of fibromyalgia sufferers include extreme fatigue and problems with memory. The cause is unknown but believed to be connected with an overreaction to pain signals from the nervous system. Patients are oftentimes made to feel like their symptoms are all in their head.
Only now, are we really starting to see it as an actual disease process that requires treatment. Fibromyalgia is typically treated with anti-depressants or anti-seizure medication. Alternative treatments are being researched and there appears to be a positive response from acupuncture.
A controlled study to determine the effectiveness of acupuncture in fibromyalgia patients was conducted by the Mayo Clinic in 2002. The symptoms of those who received the acupuncture showed great improvement in comparison with those in the control group. The symptoms that showed the most improvement included fatigue and anxiety. Patients were observed at one month and at seven months after the procedure; the most improvement in pain and other symptoms occurred at the one month marker. With very minimal risk, acupuncture may be a valid alternative to prescription medications that have many serious side effects.
What to Expect
The thought of being stuck with many, tiny needles can be a little intimidating to those new to acupuncture. However, the needles are very small, and the insertion is not painful. You may expect an aching feeling once the needle is fully inserted. If you are suffering from fibromyalgia, this is mild compared to the discomfort you have been living with. Most treatments use anywhere from five to twenty needles, which will remain intact for approximately ten minutes. During this time you may lay there and relax. The removal of the needles should not cause any discomfort. Serious side effects are rare; you may experience some mild tenderness and bruising at the injection site. Acupuncture may not be indicated for those with bleeding disorders or who are currently taking blood thinners, as this could lead to excessive bleeding. Acupuncture has been shown to be quite successful for many who suffer from fibromyalgia. If modern medicine has not worked well for you or is causing adverse effects, you may want to consider acupuncture as an alternative treatment.
For more information, contact a business such as West Omaha Chiropractic & Sports Injury Clinic.