Inflammatory Conditions

Can Acupuncture Help Fibromyalgia?

by Mary Vincent, L.Ac.
Fibromyalgia is a common disorder of the central nervous system which manifests as a vast array of physical and emotional symptoms in the affected individuals. It affects more than 5 million people in the US alone, is more likely to occur in adults between 20 and 50 years old, and is far more common in women than men. There is no specific medical test that can detect fibromyalgia, but rather it is diagnosed based on the following criteria:
▪ Widespread body pain which presents as a specific and recognizable pattern in those affected. This includes having pain in all 4 quadrants of the body (both sides of the body and above and below the waist), and tenderness at at least 11 out of 18 specific trigger points. It can also be associated with an increased sensitivity to light and sound. The majority of people with fibromyalgia find themselves very stiff after sleeping or prolonged inactivity (this typically improves with movement). Pain can often be worse in cold and damp weather and during times of increased stress
▪ Difficult or disordered sleep patterns, often referred to as non-restorative sleep (one sleeps “lightly” and does not wake feeling rested or refreshed).
▪ Memory problems and/or difficulty concentrating.
▪ Significant and ongoing fatigue.
Other symptoms and coexisting disorders often found with fibromyalgia include:
• Irritable Bowel Syndrome
• Interstitial Cystitis
• Anxiety and/or depression
• Chronic tension headaches and/or migraines
• Temporomandibular Joint Disorder
• Tingling of the hands and feet
• Painful menstrual cycles
The causes of fibromyalgia remain unclear, and there is no known cure for the disorder. Symptoms are typically managed with a wide variety of over the counter and [...]

Acupuncture for Inflammation

by Nicole Murray, L.Ac.
While talking to my friend June here in the clinic last week, she mentioned that she’d like to get more information about inflammation. Here’s a primer for her and for the rest of you that are dealing with acute or chronic inflammation.
Classic signs of acute inflammation are heat, redness, pain and swelling. There is also reduction in function.
Web MD defines inflammation as “a process by which the body’s white blood cells and chemicals protect us from infection with foreign substances, such as bacteria and viruses.”
Medline Plus explains: The inflammatory response (inflammation) occurs when tissues are injured by bacteria, trauma, toxins, heat, or any other cause. The damaged cells release chemicals including histamine, bradykinin, and prostaglandins. These chemicals cause blood vessels to leak fluid into the tissues, causing swelling. This helps isolate the foreign substance from further contact with body tissues. The chemicals also attract white blood cells called phagocytes that “eat” germs and dead or damaged cells. This process is called phagocytosis.

In other words, inflammation is a protective response to an infection or foreign body-a way to fight off an attack. So it’s a good thing.
Until… the process becomes uncontrolled, causing destruction of healthy tissue.
There are dozens of inflammatory disorders, occurring when the normal process goes haywire.  Some occur when the immune system mistakenly triggers inflammation where there is no infection-these are known as autoimmune disorders. Then there are disorders where the body overreacts to an injury or trauma (think of an anaphylactic response to a bee sting).
We will publish lots in the future about inflammatory disorders; we just wanted to explain it in general terms.
Until we write more on the subject though, [...]