What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder with a number of possible triggers. It is characterised by long-term musculoskeletal pain throughout the body that can affect joints and soft tissues, sleep disturbances and chronic fatigue. There are also other common symptoms, including depression, anxiety, brain fog, memory problems, headaches, hypersensitivity to light and/or sound, numbness and tingling in hands and feet, and shortness of breath.
Triggers can include one or more from a list including previous infections, trauma (physical or emotional), genetic predisposition, abnormal pain responses and chronic sleep disturbances.
Because some of the symptoms of fibromyalgia can be similar to other conditions such as depression and chronic fatigue syndrome, it is vital that patients get a correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment from a multi-disciplinary team to address the wide range of associated symptoms. If Fibromyalgia is a problem for you, call Your Health Hub now on 03 6122 0150 to book an appointment.
Who is Likely to Suffer from Fibromyalgia?
People of any age can suffer from this condition – although, it is more common in mid-life in the 30s-60s age group. It affects more women than men with only one in ten sufferers being male. It can often occur in patients who have another medical condition such as hypothyroidism, systemic lupus, scleroderma or rheumatoid arthritis. Onset is often associated with periods of prolonged stress and poor sleep and problems with regulation of the autonomic nervous system – all of which can interfere with the body’s natural ability to repair and heal itself.
Self-Help for Fibromyalgia
Following a few simple principles regarding diet and lifestyle can help to improve mood and energy levels and decrease pain.
- Aim to eat a high fibre diet, including as wide a variety as possible of fresh vegetables and fruits. Limit intake of refined sugars and processed, refined foods, ‘fast foods’ and commercial baked goods that are often high in trans-fats that can be rancid. Limit intake of caffeinated drinks and alcohol and aim to drink two litres of water every day.
- Practise some stress management or relaxation techniques. This could be having a regular, gentle massage or participating in a Yoga or Pilates class.
- Take regular aerobic exercise if your health care practitioner advises that it is safe and appropriate to do so. Taking light to moderate aerobic exercise two or three times a week can improve quality of life, lift mood and reduce pain and fatigue.
What can I expect in a consultation?
An initial acupuncture consultation will commonly take up to an hour or more. This enables the practitioner to gather as much information as possible from you so as to best understand your presenting problem. Some of the questions you may get asked could perhaps seem irrelevant to your issue but please trust that your acupuncturist is treating you in a very holistic manner and considering the whole person you are, rather than just the problem that you have. Subsequent consultations will often be a bit shorter in duration but this is essentially up to the practitioner and how they wish to treat you.
Can I claim my treatment on my private health?
If your practitioner is a member of the largest national acupuncture body in Australia (AACMA- Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association) then you can claim the cost of your treatment through most private health funds in Australia. The amount of your refund depends on the fund itself and your level of cover.