Acupuncture and Fibromyalgia
If you’re looking for help to relieve your fibromyalgia symptoms, our qualified Acupuncture Practitioners at The Forge Clinic, Richmond have extensive experience in supporting people with this painful condition.
Fibromyalgia, also called fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), is a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body. As well as widespread pain and tenderness, people suffering from fibromyalgia may also have headaches, fatigue, muscle stiffness, memory loss and difficulty sleeping.
The cause of fibromyalgia is still unknown, but it is thought to be related to abnormal levels of certain chemicals in the brain and changes in the way the central nervous system (brain, spinal cord and nerves) processes pain messages carried around the body.
The condition often appears to rise from a physically or emotionally stressful event, such as an injury, infection or the death of a loved one. Anyone can develop fibromyalgia, although it affects around seven times as many women as men.
Can acupuncture help to lessen fibromyalgia symptoms?
With 1 in 25 people in the UK people living with fibromyalgia, many are turning to acupuncture therapy to help ease the symptoms and make the condition easier to live with. The NHS website says there is “reasonably good evidence” that acupuncture is effective at treating certain types pain. And there are plenty of anecdotes from patients who swear it works. However, research on the effectiveness of acupuncture for fibromyalgia symptoms is mixed, some studies suggest that it may have a beneficial role.
According to The Acupuncture Council the main aims of acupuncture therapy are to reduce symptoms, to improve function, and to help patients adapt to the condition.
Sue* first tried acupuncture in New Zealand when she was in her twenties. She had been in a car accident and had suffered horizontal and vertical whiplash. Her physio suggested she tried acupuncture to help relieve the severe pain. She was sceptical that it would be effective, but a friend of hers, a professional violinist, found acupuncture had helped his elbow pain, so she decided to give it a go. Sue was surprised at how tiny the needles were. “You can’t feel them,” she said, adding that she found the treatment “amazing.”
Unfortunately, however, Sue developed fibromyalgia which she believes was triggered by her accident. People with fibromyalgia often report that their symptoms started after an injury or other physical or mental trauma. Now living in London, Sue first came to The Forge Clinic last October when she injured her sacral spine (S1) and was treated by one of our Osteopaths, Phil McNulty.
The spine injury caused the fibromyalgia to flare up again. Sue was in constant pain but did not want to take medication. So, Phil suggested she tried acupuncture again as it had helped her before and he referred her to Sandra O’Hagan, an Acupuncturist at The Forge Clinic. After her first session with Sandra, Sue says: “I felt focused, relaxed, tired and very hungry!”
Sue believes that acupuncture has helped to reduce her anxiety. “Long term, I think it helps calm my inside voice (which is very LOUD) so my body can heal.” Sue also finds that a combination of acupuncture with physiotherapy or osteopathy at The Forge Clinic works best for her. “It keeps my pain to a point where it doesn’t take me out of my daily regime. She plans to continue having acupuncture as part of her pain management. She says: “I can see now, during the break of not having it, that I felt worse in mind and body.”
Acupuncture to relieve pain and fibromyalgia symptoms
If you’re having trouble finding relief for your fibromyalgia pain, it may be worth trying acupuncture at The Forge Clinic with one of our dedicated and qualified Acupuncturists Maureen McCann and Sandra O’Hagan.
Please note that our treatments do not replace medical advice and treatment. If you have any concerns, please see your GP first.
*Name changed to protect patient confidentiality