By Matthew Enright, AP DOM (AP1711) – Palm Beach Gardens, Florida – Fibromyalgia is a common neurologic health problem that causes widespread pain and tenderness (sensitivity to touch). The pain and tenderness tend to come and go, and move about the body. Most often, people with this chronic illness are very tired and have sleep problems. The diagnosis can be made with a careful examination.
Fibromyalgia is most common in women, though it can occur in men. It most often starts in middle adulthood, but can occur in the teen years and in old age.
Experts indicate that fibromyalgia takes a toll on ligaments, tendons and muscles in the joint areas of the body. It manifests in the form of a lowered threshold of pain as well as pain in muscles all around the body. Other symptoms include sleep interference, memory issues, fatigue, restless leg syndrome, bowel/bladder issues, increased sensitivity to stimuli (lights, noise, temperatures) as well as numbness.
Varieties of pain
The most popular view of fibromyalgia is that it manifests in the form of a pain felt all over the body. Scientists say that there are 3 pains responsible for this; hyperalgesia, paresthesia and allodynia. Two out of the three will course through the body simultaneously, but in some situations, all three will affect upon the patient. Generally, pain can be so mild that it allows the patient to live normally or so severe that it renders them disabled.
- Hyperalgesia – Hyperalgesia has been studied for a very long time. Its effect on the body is that it tends to amplify the sensation of pain such that a pin prick feels more like a machete slash.
- Allodynia – Allodynia is the kind of pain that you feel when the act or contact involved is not meant to hurt and does not hurt, such as a pat on the back or a handshake. A victim of this pain will also misinterpret sound signals, and regular sound volumes will be massively amplified. Allodynia can be mechanical(contact), tactile(touch) or thermal (response to heat /cold).
- Paresthesia – This pain is centered around the nerves. The patient experiences burning, numbness and tingling sensations. If you experience some ‘pins-and-needles’ feelings, you could also be a victim of fibromyalgia.
Causes of Fibromyalgia
Up until today, medical researchers and practitioners are at odds to explain what exactly causes this condition. The general consensus is that there isn’t a single causative agent out there. The current contention ,however, is that there are a number of situations that could escalate the probability of getting the disease. Genetics is believed to be one of those factors, seeing as fibromyalgia has been found to run in families. Some infections could also lead to the condition. Finally, if you are a victim of physical or emotional trauma, you could also be susceptible because there is a direct link between post-trauma stress and fibromyalgia.
Treatment for Fibromyalgia
Typically doctors will advise the patient to use conventional medication and/or alternative treatments. Painkillers lower pain levels. Anti-depressants on the other hand curb depression, fatigue and anxiety. Some lifestyle modifications that help people deal with the pain and increase sleep are also encouraged.
Lack of sleep is a big contributor to the escalation of fibromyalgia. When you get enough sleep, your body gets to repair its tissues and produce anti-bodies for defense. Always be sure you get enough sleep as this will help curb some of the more pronounced symptoms of the disease.
Acupuncture as a remedy for Fibromyalgia
Acupuncture is a form of Chinese medicine that uses fine sterile needles to stimulate certain areas of the body, called acupuncture points. Acupuncture is commonly used by people to reduce various forms of pain. It works by reducing inflammation, stimulating the release of your body’s own pain killer, that is endorphins, and calming your brain. It is safe with few, short-lasting side effects. It is supported by a wide body of clinical research and evidence that acupuncture can offer much needed effective symptom relief for fibromyalgia.
At our Palm Beach Gardens Acupuncture practice, we have helped scores of patients find relief from fibromyalgia. Contact our team of licensed physicians today and step on the path toward healing.