Polymyalgia rheumatica is often just referred to as polymyalgia and is regarded an arthritic condition causing pain and stiffness in muscles of the shoulder, neck, lower back, buttocks and thighs.
The condition has a 50% chance of being associated with temporal arthritis where the arteries of the temporal region become inflamed.
From a western medical perspective, it is not known why it arises or why it affects more women.
It also tends to occur in people over the age of 60. Polymyalgia can appear suddenly or have a gradual onset and can last up to 5 years. The Southern Cross Health Fund in New Zealand has said that people have found acupuncture for polymyalgia helpful in reducing the symptom of pain in polymyalgia.
The main western medical treatment for polymyalgia is prednisone.
What are the side effects from prednisone?
There is no Western medical treatment apart from prednisone which offers little relief and has serious side effects. The side effects include headache, night sweats, tiredness, depression and anaemia.
What causes the muscle pain according to traditional Chinese medicine?
Polymyalgia Rheumatica and Chinese Medicine could go hand in hand in being able to reduce symptoms associated with this problem. Chinese medicine practitioners have the view that the spleen controls the flesh of the muscles. As we age, the energy of the body including each of the organs can become deplete. This is also why according to Chinese medicine, as we age, the spleen energy becomes weak and the muscles lose their tone and mass.
Western medicine has observed that there can be a prior incidence of a flu before the symptoms of polymyalgia start. The Chinese medical way of viewing it is that pathogens invade and settle in the muscles causing aches, pains and tiredness.
Watch a video about Chinese Medicine and Polymyalgia Rheumatica
Why does polymyalgia eventually go away even without any treatment?
This ties in with Chinese medicine theory that says that as time goes on, the body’s “defence energy” eventually overcomes the “sick energy” of the disease. This is known in Chinese medicine as the zheng qi overcomes xie qi.
How can acupuncture help polymyalgia?
Acupuncture for polymyalgia has more than one strategy to help overcome the problem. We ask Scott Pearson of the Newtown Acupuncture Centre, opposite Wellington Hospital:
I often use acupuncture points that are traditionally used to strengthen the energy of the body as a whole, to help fight off disease. Other points can be selected on the meridians that traverse the painful muscle areas. There is a saying in Chinese medicine that states that when the energy flow is stuck in the meridians, then pain will ensue. Acupuncture aims to unblock stuck energy in meridians.
Visit our extensive list of all other Conditions Treated at The Acupuncture Clinic.