Treating Fibromyalgia Syndrome with Acupuncture

Acupuncture for Fibromyalgia Syndrome relief

The National Institute of Health claims Fibromyalgia Syndrome ( FMS ) affects 2 percent of the population. Conventional medical therapy struggles to treat this baffling and mysterious condition successfully. Presently, conventional treatments involve prescribing various combinations of medication to treat the varied symptoms experimenting until brought under control. This approach proves ineffective, frustrating and expensive. Because of these struggles, ninety percent of those suffering with fibromyalgia have used alternative or complementary treatments to alleviate symptoms. One emerging and effective treatment for FMS – acupuncture is leading the way in alternate therapies.

What is Fibromyalgia Syndrome?

FMS is characterized by debilitating widespread pain, an amplified painful response to physical stimuli causing insomnia, fatigue and depression among other possible complications in those suffering with this disease. What exactly causes Fibromyalgia is a mystery to doctors and even its exact symptoms are debated. Different symptoms appear in each individual, but these listed below are the most widely reported:

  • chronic pain
  • fatigue
  • insomnia
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • stiffness in the joints
  • headaches
  • jaw pain
  • difficulty swallowing
  • dry mouth, eyes and sinuses
  • hypersensitivity to odor, light, and noise
  • difficulty concentrating
  • incontinence
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • Poor circulation, numbness or tingling in hands and feet
  • acute and painful menstrual cramps
  • restless leg syndrome

Fibromyalgia is diagnosed when widespread pain is noted in all four regions of the body for three months and pain in at least 11 of 18 designated spots on the body when given moderate pressure. Since the primary symptom is pain and Fibromyalgia causes no physical damage to the body and its tissues; presently there does not exist a laboratory test able to confirm a diagnosis. Females more frequently develop FMS and the likelihood of a diagnosis increases with age. In most cases, FMS does not appear to have a triggering event, although physical or emotional trauma have been known to onset symptoms.

Perspective from the East : Acupuncture Treatment

In traditional Chinese medicinal theory, when the flow of Qi through the body is disrupted, it causes pain . With fibromyalgia, this disruption is the manifestation of disharmony between the liver, spleen, kidney, and heart systems. Achieving harmony between these systems is done through applying pressure to different acupuncture points on the individual body corresponding to where disruptions are detected . The difference in treatment between conventional and Oriental medicine stems from the differing views of FMS which leads to the difference in therapies . Because it aims to treat the unique and specific symptoms of the individual instead of treating it as one particular disease , acupuncture treatments possess a better rate of success and patient satisfaction . Every person treated with acupuncture will have their personal emotional mindset, locus of their pain, constitution, intensity of pain, digestive health, sleeping patterns and any other symptoms and signs reported to create a personalized and more comprehensive treatment than is afforded in conventional medicine. Each person will have their own unique acupuncture points, herbal treatments and personalized recommendations for diet and lifestyle. FMS is a highly variable, personal disorder. Because of this, a vast variety of traditional, complementary and alternative treatments have proven effective for treating the symptoms of this complex syndrome . A treatment program can be based around a combination of therapies, exercise, acupuncture treatment, prescription and herbal medicines.


In this instance, an athlete was originally diagnosed with minor quadriceps muscle strain and was treated for four weeks, with unsatisfactory results. When he came to our clinic, the muscle was not healing, and the patients’ muscle tissue had already begun to atrophy.

Upon examination using MSUS, we discovered that he had a full muscle thickness tear that had been overlooked by his previous provider. To mitigate damage and promote healing, surgery should have been performed immediately after the injury occurred. Because of misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment, the patient now has permanent damage that cannot be corrected.

The most important advantage of Ultrasound over MRI imaging is its ability to zero in on the symptomatic region and obtain imaging, with active participation and feedback from the patient. Using dynamic MSUS, we can see what happens when patients contract their muscles, something that cannot be done with MRI. From a diagnostic perspective, this interaction is invaluable.

Dynamic ultrasonography examination demonstrating
the full thickness tear and already occurring muscle atrophy
due to misdiagnosis and not referring the patient
to proper diagnostic workup

Demonstration of how very small muscle defect is made and revealed
to be a complete tear with muscle contraction
under diagnostic sonography (not possible with MRI)


Complete tear of rectus femoris
with large hematoma (blood)


Separation of muscle ends due to tear elicited
on dynamic sonography examination

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