Home » Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture for Fibromyalgia Pain
Fibromyalgia is a relatively common condition, affecting a significant number of people worldwide. Fibromyalgia is more commonly diagnosed in women compared to men, with a female-to-male ratio of about 3:1. It tends to be most commonly diagnosed in middle-aged individuals. However, fibromyalgia can affect people of all ages, including children and older adults. Kampo Health Toronto Clinic has helped many patients with fibromyalgia to relieve their pain and improve the quality of their lives. This post was intended to provide some helpful information and guidance about fibromyalgia management and how Chinese medicine may help you to manage this challenging condition.
What you will read in this post:
Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, tenderness, and fatigue. It is considered a rheumatic condition, but it does not cause joint inflammation like arthritis. Fibromyalgia affects about 2-8% of the population, predominantly women. The exact cause of fibromyalgia is unknown by conventional medicine, but it is believed to involve a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. It is thought that people with fibromyalgia have an amplified response to pain signals, where normal sensations are perceived as painful. This heightened pain sensitivity is called central sensitization. There are many factors such as inflammation, hormonal imbalances, and autonomic nervous system imbalance, that may influence the pain sensitivity level as well as mood and sleep. Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture may provide an alternative solution for fibromyalgia patients to manage these underlying factors.
Common symptoms of fibromyalgia include:
Other symptoms: Headaches, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), stiffness, numbness or tingling in the extremities, sensitivity to noise, light, or temperature, and mood disorders such as depression and anxiety may also occur.
According to Western medicine, there is no cure for fibromyalgia. It is considered difficult to treat due to several reasons:
Medications for fibromyalgia:
Common choices include:
If you are hesitant to use medications due to the concerns of efficacy and side effects in long term, the good news is, the difficulties of Western medicine are the features Traditional Chinese Medicine(TCM) offers: Treating fibromyalgia requires a holistic view and multidimensional approach that addresses both the physical and psychological aspects.
Find a Chinese Medicine practitioner for Fibromyalgia in Toronto
Treating fibromyalgia effectively involves pain management, inflammation control, and stress management. Kampo Health Chinese medicine and acupuncture clinic offers holistic acupuncture and Chinese herbal formula by licensed professionals to manage your fibromyalgia condition and improve overall well-being and quality of life. Book an appointment to start your healing journey. If you have any questions, feel free to reach us by phone, email, or online request. Continue to read more information about how we can utilize Chinese medicine and acupuncture to help your fibromyalgia.
Everybody knows herbs are good for us, but whether they can treat complicated conditions such as fibromyalgia is a different story. People are trying to use herbs to treat fibromyalgia and many other pain and inflammatory conditions. I also use Chinese herbal medicine to treat patients with fibromyalgia. However, most people are unclear about the differences between Modern botanical medicine and Chinese herbal medicine. They think these two medical systems are mostly the same, just use different sets of herbs. That is far from the truth. What makes Chinese herbal medicine different from any other natural medicine is not the herbs TCM use, it is the compound effects of using formulas and their indications as well as the whole process of treatment from assessment, feedback collection, and the principle behind the reiteration/finetuning of the herbal formula(s).
I researched some botanical herbs from the internet that may help fibromyalgia, and I will also make a case of how Chinese herbal medicine treat it differently with examples of Kmapo/TCM formulas.
Five Herbs that may help fibromyalgia
Herbal medicine, also known as botanical medicine or herbalism, involves using plant-based remedies to promote health and address various health conditions. While herbal medicine is not a definitive treatment for fibromyalgia, some herbs may offer potential benefits for symptom management. It’s important to note that scientific evidence for the effectiveness of herbal remedies in treating fibromyalgia is limited, and individual responses may vary.
Here are some herbs that are sometimes used for fibromyalgia:
Chinese medicine uses ginger often but mainly for digestive problems, not for pain because there are many better choices than ginger to treat pain conditions such as Shao Yao(Peony) and Gui Zhi(cinnamon). More importantly, we rarely use one herb in the treatment, Chinese medicine uses FORMULAS which is composed of multiple ingredients in a complex structure to treat the human body. Just like there no carpenter can use one tool to make a piece of furniture, no matter how good the carpenter is or how fancy that tool is. A complicated system like the human body requires a complex treatment to address all aspects and produce great outcomes.
I practice Kampo-style Chinese herbal medicine, here I listed a few Kampo formulas and why they can help fibromyalgia.
Kampo is a traditional Japanese herbal medicine system that originated from Chinese medicine. It incorporates a combination of herbs to create individualized formulas to address specific health conditions.
However, the chief indication of this formula is “cold” syndrome in TCM, including signs and symptoms like cold limbs, weak pulse, pale tongue, no desire to drink water, etc.
Kampo/Chinese medicine can provide flexibility and a wide range of choices of herbs that can accomplish this task through detailed assessment and personalized formulas. It’s worth noting that Kampo medicine should be prescribed and supervised by qualified practitioners who are knowledgeable in Kampo formulations and their applications. They can assess your specific symptoms, medical history, and individual constitution to create a personalized Kampo formula that suits your needs.
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine practice that involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body. While the exact mechanism of how acupuncture works is not fully understood, it is believed to stimulate various physiological processes, promote the flow of energy (called Qi), and trigger the release of endorphins and other natural pain-relieving substances.
Acupuncture may offer several potential benefits for individuals with fibromyalgia:
Acupuncture for Fibromyalgia in Toronto
It’s important to note that while acupuncture may provide relief for some individuals with fibromyalgia, it may not be effective for everyone. Results can vary from person to person, and a personalized approach is essential. It’s recommended to consult with a qualified acupuncturist who has experience in treating fibromyalgia or chronic pain conditions.
If you’re considering acupuncture for fibromyalgia or other pain conditions, A qualified acupuncturist at Kampo Health Toronto can discuss the potential benefits and risks based on your specific situation, and provide personalized guidance and treatment plan to help your conditions.
Work with a TCM acupuncturist in Toronto for pain relief.
While fibromyalgia can be challenging to treat, a multimodal approach that combines medication, lifestyle changes, physical therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and other supportive measures can help manage symptoms and improve the quality of life for many individuals with fibromyalgia. Patients need to work closely with healthcare professionals to develop a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to their specific needs.
Naturally managing fibromyalgia involves a holistic approach that incorporates lifestyle modifications, self-care strategies, and complementary therapies such as herbal medicine, and acupuncture that can help reduce pain, improve sleep, and enhance overall well-being. Here are some strategies that may be helpful:
They can provide personalized guidance, monitor your progress, and ensure that your natural management strategies are integrated safely with other medications or treatments.
Buddha once said: Nothing is permanent. As a Chinese medicine clinician, I don’t look at fibromyalgia as a permanent medical label, I work like a detective or mechanic to investigate what is beneath the label that gives rise to the symptoms and utilizes Chinese medicine therapies to correct and balance them. If you like to try my approach, contact us or book an appointment now.
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