What is Fibromyalgia (FM)?

It is a common extremely common pain phenomenon occurring in a defined pattern. Patients with fibromyalgia usually ache all over, sleep poorly, are stiff on waking, and are tired all day. They are prone to headaches, memory and concentration problems, dizziness, numbness and tingling, itching, fluid retention, abdominal or pelvic cramps and diarrhea, and several other symptoms.
To qualify for a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, patients must ache all over and have tenderness in at least 11 of 18 spots when 4 kg of pressure are applied. You can find the standard 18-point chart at the cover of this brochure.
Fibromyalgia often runs in families, suggesting an inherited predisposition. It may lie dormant until triggered by an injury, stress, or sleep disturbance. It is closely related to the chronic fatigue and irritable bowel syndromes. Some have suggested that these are all just different facets of the same underlying disorder.

What causes fibromyalgia?

What causes fibromyalgia? No one really seems to know. It has once mistakenly been thought to be either an inflammatory or a psychiatric condition. Right now, we do know what may trigger or aggravate it. Stress, a viral or bacterial infection, depression, weather changes, traumas such as a death in the family or an automobile accident or abnormality of deep sleep, so called “loss of non-REM stage IV” sleep. Why these events trigger fibromyalgia in some people but not in others is not yet fully understood. One theory is that we are genetically predisposed to develop it, because of some other physical abnormality. In traditional Chinese medicine, we see FM a systemic problem happens to manifest its symptoms in over-all muscle pain. Other than muscle pain, there are other symptoms, vary from individual to individual, indicating the different types of FM from different underlying causes. Qi/energy deficiency is the most common type of FM. Qi/energy deficiency are commonly related to digestive system problems. It is interesting that in western medicine, FM has strong links with Chronic Fatigue & Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Someone says “there is no cure for it”, Is it true?

Cure is a big term. We know for sure that there is no single easy cure for fibromyalgia. Some doctors found FM symptoms may resolve totally on some patients. The symptoms of FM can vary in severity and often wax and wane, but most patients do tend to improve over time if they make fundamental change with their life style and working hard to keep an optimistic attitude, the FM sufferer can become the FM survivor.

Self-Management for fibromyalgia

1) Improve deep sleep.
2) Daily gentle aerobic exercise.
3) Avoidance of undue physical and emotional stress.
4) Avoid prescription tranquilizers and sleeping medications of the benzodiazepine group.
5) Avoid taking alcohol and narcotic pain medications in the evenings.
6) A diet low in fats and simple sugars.
7) Give up caffeine completely.
8) Seeking professional help.

Researches on acupuncture treating fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia & chronic pain has been the most common reason patients visiting acupuncture clinics. There is numerous researches show the efficacy. However, due to the unknown mechanism of fibromyalgia, it is difficult to take one single research in account.
”…According to research presented on November 12, 2001 at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology in San Francisco, acupuncture helped relieve symptoms such as pain and depression in women with fibromyalgia…” says ImmuneSupport.com.
According to the National Institutes of Health Consensus Development Statement November 3-5, 1997, “…There is evidence of efficacy for postoperative dental pain. There are reasonable studies (although sometimes only single studies) showing relief of pain with acupuncture on diverse pain conditions such as menstrual cramps, tennis elbow, and fibromyalgia.…”
Through different researches, acupuncture relief pain by increasing microcirculation, endorphin secretion, nervous desensitization, reduce inflammation …,
Other than symptom relief, acupuncture works also on the root treatment in FM condition. World Health Organization (WHO) also recognize the efficacy of acupuncture treating sleep disorder, stress, anxiety, depression & general fatigue, which are strongly connected to the underlying complex of FM syndrome. It is one of the best avenues treating FM systematically without side effects.

Does it work for me?

There are a lot of FM sufferers benefited by acupuncture treatment. It is certainly a reasonable natural modality that has its potential to help. However, “It works for many” doesn’t equal to “it works for you”. As for you, there is only one way to find out…

Does acupuncture hurt?

Most of the acupuncture points don’t hurt because the needles used in acupuncture are hair-fine needles. Patients will have a mosquito bite feelings instead. There are some points tend to be more sensitive than the others. We would do it carefully to avoid any discomforts.

How much does it cost?

We charge $85 per acupuncture session. There is a $45 initial consultation fee in addition to the treatment fee. All fees above are subject to change without notice. Please call 403-233-0498 for current rate.

Does Alberta Health Care Cover It?

Alberta Health Care does not cover acupuncture. However, most company benefits cover acupuncture when treatment is provided through a Registered Acupuncturist. You may contact human resources department or the insurance company for the details, including the coverage amount for each session, and a year, what the cut off day of the year is, if a medical referral is required etc..