Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that is affecting more and more people. Although traditional treatments are available, including medication, physical therapy and massage, many people are now turning to acupuncture to relieve their symptoms. What are acupuncture’s benefits and is it useful in treating fibromyalgia sufferers?
How to Find an Acupuncturist
Finding an acupuncturist is rather easy. Seek referrals from other health care practitioners, such as those who practice holistic or alternative medicine. You can also contact your state’s certifying board to ensure that the acupuncturist is licensed and reputable. In addition, a physical therapist is often a good referral source for an acupuncture practitioner.
The Fibromyalgia Acupuncture Exam
An acupuncturist’s exam is different than a traditional doctor’s exam. Your medical history will be taken and your history of fibromyalgia will be investigated to discover triggers, the severity of your pain, and the location of your pain. The practitioner will then listen to your heart and lungs. He will also look inside your mouth and check your tongue to determine which 15 pressure points on the body will need to be treated. These 15 pressure points are not to be confused with the distinct 18 points used to diagnose fibromyalgia. Plan on spending an hour and a half at your first appointment which includes your medical history, exam, and the treatment itself. Follow-up appointments primarily consist of medical updates and an acupuncture treatment.
Pain Level of Acupuncture
People may wonder whether an acupuncture treatment is painful. The needles that are inserted into the skin are very thin and most patients report that they hardly feel them. Rather than pain, an aching or a tingling sensation is felt. Patients admit that the worst part of the treatment is having to lie still for up to an hour, although most treatments usually last 45 minutes.
Study on Fibromyalgia and Acupuncture
Many patients report that acupuncture does improve the various problems associated with their fibromyalgia. A WebMD study looked at 50 people who had been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. They were given a questionnaire at the beginning of treatment rating different aspects of their illness. Half of the patients received acupuncture, and the other half received “fake” acupuncture, although they thought it was authentic. After treatment, patients were given a questionnaire regarding their symptoms. More people in the real acupuncture group reported improvement, such as less pain and fatigue, better sleep, and improved mood.