Acupuncture helps in the treatment of fibromyalgia
Generalized pains that make it difficult to walk or climb stairs, disabling fatigue, changes in the bowel and poorly sleeping nights are some of the symptoms of this almost always misdiagnosed illness. The available treatments can reduce the problem and even make it disappear, as long as the patient has discipline and determination.
This is fibromyalgia. Although poorly understood, even by physicians and researchers, it can be controlled and practically disappear through therapeutic care and the patient himself. Its causes are not yet precisely identified, but it is known that the brain of people with the disease produces less serotonin - a substance linked to the ability to regulate pain sensitivity. In this way, impulses that come in and out of the brain are mistakenly identified as pain.
Combining acupuncture sessions with specific exercises recommended by the therapist is the basis of treatment for fibromyalgia. (3% of the female population versus 0.5% of the male population) may be linked to the decrease in hormones during menopause, a period in which the disease is much more frequent. Women come to the office in despair: no one finds out what they have, they think they're old and think they're going to die. In addition, friends and family say they are inventing diseases and they start to feel crazy or hypochondriacs. With low self-esteem, the symptoms increase and make the picture even more severe.
The diagnosis of the disease is always clinical, since there are no specific tests to detect it. It is known that there are 18 painful points linked to fibromyalgia (in the shoulders, joints of the arms and legs, near the neck, buttocks and others). When at least eleven of them are identified, they are likely to be faced with a victim. It is usual to order blood tests to detect other possible diseases that also cause generalized pain, such as diabetes, thyroid disease, rheumatic diseases and cancer.
Combining acupuncture sessions with specific exercises recommended by the therapist is the basis of treatment. Acupuncture, through the stimulation of the nerve terminals, determines the increase of serotonin and endorphin production in the central nervous system, which acts as a strong analgesic from its action in the pain suppressor system and also assists in emotional control, acting in its antidepressant and anti-anxiolytic effects, making possible the regularization of sleep and the reduction of fatigue. As in almost all diseases, it is important that the patient promotes significant changes in their attitudes. Demanding too much, with perfectionism in the day to day, can only disrupt the recovery. Getting out of work or reducing everyday activities is another common flaw.
Marcos Antonio Cau Junior-Biomedical, acupuncturist and professor at the Brazilian Institute of Acupuncture and Massotherapy (IBRAM)
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