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Doc Blackstone CHinese Medicine

Fibromyalgia Explained

Medical Definition 

Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues.  Many people who are diagnosed with fibromyalgia also suffer from tension headaches, temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), anxiety and depression. Women are much more likely to develop fibromyalgia than men. While there is no cure for fibromyalgia, a variety of medications can help control symptoms. 

Unfortunately, the medical community very quickly diagnoses certain combinations of symptoms  as fibromyalgia. Or… doctors put patients through batteries of tests in order to formulate a diagnosis.  Based on the diagnosis, patients are prescribed the obligatory medications.  When it is discovered that none of the prescribed medications are working is when fibromyalgia becomes a diagnosis worth considering.  The diagnostic process could take some interesting turns if doctors suggest psychological or emotional origins. Another common and perhaps less offensive diagnosis- “autoimmune disorder”.

Patient Perspective

From a patient perspective fibromyalgia is often described as pain from head to toe. Pain waxes and wanes from day to day and persists regardless of medical treatment. Patients report deep muscular aching, shooting, throbbing, or pounding sensations that can be unbearable at times. Morning stiffness and/or whole body aching are prevalent in the morning. Repetitive movement can increase pain and leads to avoidance of exercise that would otherwise be helpful. The resulting lack of physical fitness causes symptoms to become worse. Severe fatigue is a chief complaint. Fatigue of such intensity makes it difficult to accomplish daily tasks, enjoy hobbies, and in some cases, remain employed. Heaviness of the arms, legs or head “as though weighed down by cement” is not uncommon.

TCM Syndromes

In over 20 years of study I’ve found that certain TCM syndromes are responsible for all the symptoms of fibromyalgia.  Additional symptoms may accompany any of the following syndromes.  Syndromes may occur in any combination. Patterns are assessed according to tongue and pulse diagnosis  and correlated with other info. 

Dampness. Dampness is characterized by a feeling of heaviness, dizziness, poor appetite, stuffy chest, excessive mucus, and generally poor health. 

Spleen Qi Deficiency. Qi deficiency generally results in weakness, dull roaming aches and pains, abdominal distension, loose stools, and poor appetite. Other symptoms include dizziness, pale face, weak voice, sweating with little exertion.

Blood Deficiency. Dizziness, palpitations, insomnia, poor memory, paleness, fatigue, fixed pains, sharp pains, cramps, dry skin, dry hair and scanty periods are indicators of Blood Deficiency. 

Disharmony of the Heart and Spleen. Symptoms of Spleen/Heart deficiency are forgetfulness, poor concentration, fatigue and constant worry. 

Disharmony of Heart and Kidney. People with a Kidney/Heart disharmony may develop ringing in the ears, dizziness, heart palpitations, weakness in the low back, night sweats, mental unrest, constipation and become easily flushed.                                

The Liver is always affected by the patterns of disharmony mentioned above.  Many TCM practitioners insist that  Liver imbalance is ultimately the cause of fibromyalgia. I contend that the aforementioned deficiencies come first and induce Liver imbalance. In turn, Liver imbalance causes  anxiety, sadness, mood swings, TMJ, light sensitivity and/or depression. 

Final Word

All symptoms of fibromyalgia can be explained; or, even predicted, according to the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine.  It’s not a mystery! 

Treatment doesn’t require that the disease have a name. TCM assessment by a seasoned professional will identify the affected parts of the body under any circumstances. Then, the appropriate therapy is applied to  those areas to eliminate the problem.

If you or someone you love has been suffering with fibromyalgia symptoms, reach out to me.  No other health care professional can claim a 100% recovery rate! You’ll not find anyone else with the same level of understanding of the root cause of fibromyalgia unique to each individual.


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