Neck Pain

Neck pain can have a number of causes. The most common causes are a stiff neck, pinched nerves, and arthritis, although these causes are often intertwined. In our experience, acupuncture for neck pain works very well. At the same time, everyone is different and so is the real cause of pain. For example, one patient reported that he “slept wrong” two nights prior and his neck had been hurting after that. Careful examination revealed that the muscles of his neck had been stiff for a while, at least for a few months (the muscles felt under the fingertips that they were in a spasm some time ago and the spasm gradually stiffened up), and the sudden was pretty much expected. On one hand, the patient’s neck pain disappeared completely, but on the other hand, because of the chronic state of the problem, it disappeared completely after 22 sessions.

Neck pain can have a number of causes. The most common causes are a stiff neck, pinched nerves, and arthritis, although these causes are often intertwined. In our experience, acupuncture for neck pain works very well. At the same time, everyone is different and so is the real cause of pain. For example, one patient reported that he “slept wrong” two nights prior and his neck had been hurting after that. Careful examination revealed that the muscles of his neck had been stiff for a while, at least for a few months (the muscles felt under the fingertips that they were in a spasm some time ago and the spasm gradually stiffened up), and the sudden was pretty much expected. On one hand, the patient’s neck pain disappeared completely, but on the other hand, because of the chronic state of the problem, it disappeared completely after 22 sessions.

Whether or not acupuncture is good for a pinched nerve depends a lot on what pinches that nerve. If the cause is a herniated intervertebral disc, for example, then acupuncture can relieve only some pain temporarily. Luckily, the majority of patients have a pinched nerve due to muscle spasm (even when MRI appears to show herniated discs), which can be relieved either completely or at least partly in just a few sessions. 

Acupuncture for arthritis of the neck can be effective, but the relief is usually temporary. At the same time, multiple acupuncture sessions can reduce the inflammation in the area, which in turn reduces the pain. The nitty-gritty nature of using acupuncture for neck arthritis depends on the degree of arthritis as well as the time between the bouts of arthritis. Arthritic pain varies, and its variations are caused by spikes of joint inflammation. While patients tend to come in for treatment when they are in pain, acupuncture appears to have a greater effect when used between the attacks. The aftermath of inflammation is stiffness of the soft tissues that surround joints, and reducing this stiffness appears to reduce the intensity of the next wave of pain.

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Does Acupuncture Help with Neck Pain?

What’s important to point out is that research has identified many benefits of acupuncture for neck pain—whether it’s acupuncture for stiff neck, acupuncture for neck arthritis, a pinched nerve, or any other neck pain acupuncture (Seo et al., 2017; Trinh et al., 2016)—acupuncture works differently from medications, and its success depends a lot on acupuncturists’ ability to find the real reason of pain in each individual patient and to custom-design most effective treatment in each case. 

Another issue is that when people think that they need or want acupuncture for neck or type in an internet search engine acupuncture for neck pain near me, they may not realize that acupuncturists usually incorporate in their treatments other modalities from the traditional Chinese medicine, such as cupping, electroacupuncture, tui na, gua sha, herbs, or even qigong to increase the chances that their patients will feel better. 

Also, research has shown that combining acupuncture with physical therapy in the treatment of neck pain results in better outcomes than physical therapy or acupuncture treatment alone (Guthrie & Chorba, 2016).  

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