Managing Fibromyalgia Pain with Massage and Acupuncture
Fibromyalgia is a debilitating chronic health condition, of which very little is understood. Despite as many as one in twenty Australians suffering from fibromyalgia, it wasn’t considered an actual physical condition until very recently.
As fibromyalgia can take so long to be diagnosed and traditional medical options for treatment are limited (there is currently no specific medication for fibromyalgia in Australia), many sufferers turn to alternative and complementary therapies including massage and acupuncture for relief.
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder affecting the bones and muscles. Sufferers experience almost constant muscle and joint pain, along with muscle twitches, fatigue, sensitivity to hot and cold, trouble concentrating, and sleeping difficulties.
The pain and stiffness are typically throughout the whole body and may range from a mild ache to a stabbing or burning sensation.
Fibromyalgia does not damage any of the organs in the body but it is a progressive condition, meaning aches and pains tend to increase over time.
Very little is known about the condition but medical researchers now believe that it’s linked to a chemical in the brain that processes pain. It’s thought that in fibromyalgia sufferers this pain response is amplified throughout the central nervous system.
Who is Most at Risk of Developing Fibromyalgia?
It’s not known what causes fibromyalgia, although it sometimes seems to be triggered by a physically or psychologically traumatic event such as an accident, childbirth, surgery, or death of a loved one. In general, high levels of stress are thought to make the risk of developing fibromyalgia higher and to worsen symptoms.
Women are more likely to suffer from the condition, with approximately 11 times more female sufferers than males. The most affected age group ranges from 35 to 55 years old.
There also seems to be a link between body weight and developing fibromyalgia, as sufferers are more likely to be overweight or obese.
How to Manage Fibromyalgia
There is no screening test for easy diagnosis of fibromyalgia and it can sometimes take years to be diagnosed. Other causes of muscle pain must be eliminated before the diagnosis can be made.
As there is currently no medication available in Australia to treat fibromyalgia, the recommended treatment plan usually consists of lifestyle changes to help relieve the symptoms and cope better with the condition (as fibromyalgia sufferers often develop depression or anxiety).
Fibromyalgia is often linked to stress, so stress-reduction techniques such as meditation can be helpful for relaxation and pain management. If you have a very stressful job or other sources of stress in your life, take steps to reduce them if possible.
Regular exercise is also very important as the endorphins that it stimulates the body to produce can help to relieve pain. Exercise also improves sleep and helps to reduce fatigue. It can be difficult to get the motivation to exercise when your whole body is aching, but it really does help.
Diet changes can also make a big difference – avoid foods which are high in gluten and sugar as they increase a protein called fibrin in the body. Excess fibrin is thought to be one of the causes of the pain of fibromyalgia. Instead, eat lots of Glutathione-containing fruits and vegetables – it’s an antioxidant that has been found to reduce fibromyalgia symptoms.
Remedial massage or acupressure is wonderful for relieving sore muscles, so naturally, it’s an effective way to reduce the pain of fibromyalgia. Massage is a great stress reliever and also helps to loosen and relax muscles.
Acupuncture can be helpful in relieving stress in general and several studies have suggested it is an effective treatment for fibromyalgia. It can help to reduce muscle stiffness, pain, and inflammation in all areas of the body.
Find out more and book an appointment to treat sore muscles from Fibromyalgia. Contact us today.