Acupuncture and Neck Pain

Acupuncture for Neck Pain in Coral Springs, Coconut Creek, Margate Florida

By The Acupuncturists – Margate, Florida – Neck pain comprises of the general discomfort as well as stiffness experienced in the regions around the neck, which consist of the neck itself, shoulders, head and arms. The muscles are usually painful and tense with most patients reporting headaches that range from mild to severe. In many cases, the pain results from the spine degenerating. An aging spine translates to degenerating discs which can at times herniate or bulge, compressing nerves. Joints around the neck tend to develop arthritis, the spinal canal can constrict and cause a patient to lose their balance.

Common types and symptoms of neck pain –

Neck pain is categorized into three main types:

a) Axial neck pain – Axial neck pain refers to a soreness that is felt purely at the neck. A common form of axial neck pain is whiplash or strained muscle that normally results from accidents that involve vehicles.

b) Myelopathy – Myelopathy is also referred to as spinal cord compression and it simply means that pressure is exerted on the spine. Symptoms of myelopathy consist of neck pain that goes hand in hand with numbness of the arms and/or legs. Some patients experience difficulty while walking.

c) Radiculopathy – The compression of a nerve root may lead to soreness at the neck as well as arm, which is known as radiculopathy. Symptoms of this condition consist of numbness or aching of the arm.

Generally, neck pain has a wide range of symptoms including:

  1.  Neck stiffness which makes it difficult to turn the head.
  2.  Stabbing pain or sharp aching at one spot.
  3.  Pain or soreness around the general neck region.
  4.  Aching that goes as far as into the head, the shoulders, arms and even up to the fingers.

In a number of instances, the symptoms of neck pain can be severe and pose great danger including:

  1. Loss of control of one’s bladder or bowel movement.
  2. Difficulty gripping and lifting items.
  3. Difficulty balancing, walking or coordinating movement.
  4. Numbness and weakness which radiates to the shoulders, hands and fingers.

Acute and chronic neck pain

The three common types of neck pain can also be categorized as acute or chronic. In the majority of cases, neck pain resolves itself within a period of up to ten days. In the meantime, patients are advised to take sufficient rest.

Chronic neck pain can be described as soreness or stiffness that is experienced for more than 90 days. Patients who haven’t been relieved of the pain through Western medical treatments such as physical therapy and chiropractic care, and suffer from protracted neck pain can hugely benefit from acupuncture and Chinese medicine.

What are the common causes of neck pain?

  1.  Bad posture: Bending forward for long hours may strain neck muscles, especially now that most people are glued to their smartphones and tablets.
  2. Injuries from accidents: Many cases of whiplash result from motor vehicle accidents. Other injuries are sport related.
  3. Stress: Stress and anxiety result to tension and soreness in the muscles around the neck region.
  4. Sickness: Ailments such as meningitis and arthritis can cause neck stiffness. Injuries to the jaws can also result to neck pain.

Western Medical Treatments for neck pain

In many cases, neck pain is generally as a result of sudden trauma such as muscle sprains and muscle strains which heal relatively fast. Western medical treatments for neck pain usually start with conservative care where the patients are given pain medications, physical therapy and heat/ice therapy. These therapies can help relieve pain for a big number of patients but it is common for patients experiencing chronic neck pain to require greater interventional care such as neck immobilization and surgical treatments.

Some of the popular pain medications administered include acetaminophen (for example Tylenol) and anti-inflammatory (for example aspirin and ibuprofen). Depending on the severity of symptoms, physical therapy may also be administered to help patients do away with inflammation around the neck region especially the spine. Western medical treatments for neck pain are perhaps most well known for their application of neck collars to immobilize patients’ necks. However, wearing neck collars may not be very helpful because immobilization lowers the range of motion and the muscles can be de-conditioned quite rapidly. This usually causes patients to require lengthened treatment periods. Other interventional Western medical treatments for neck pain can require excruciating surgical operations.

How acupuncture and Chinese Medicine can treat neck pain

The British Medical Journal recently published a report that demonstrated that Acupuncture is a safe and highly effective way of treating chronic neck pain, particularly when the aim is to induce relief from soreness connected to neck movement as well as recover cervical mobility. The report further stated that acupuncture works better than most conventional single treatment forms in handling prolonged neck pain symptoms.

Other research studies have pointed out that acupuncture effectively treats degenerative disorders around the spine and the neck. In 2010, the United States National Institutes of Health published a study that found that acupuncture relieves pain intensity as well as significantly improves a patient’s quality of day-to day-living ,with great efficacy observed in patients suffering from chronic pain that is difficult to treat using conventional approaches.

Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine take a whole-body approach in their administration. In Chinese Medicine, Qi is the life energy flowing throughout the body, consequently animating it and protecting it from sickness. This life energy passes through meridians as it nourishes all organs of the body including cells, glands as well as muscle tissues. When the flow of Qi is blocked or there is an imbalance in its flow, a person falls ill.

Acupuncture is thus applied to rectify flaws in Qi movement. Unlike most Western Medical Treatments for neck pain, acupuncture is highly effective, painless and safe as it has zero side effects. Chinese medicine, particularly herbs as well as a change in diet and stretching regimen may also be recommended by your practitioner to complement acupuncture treatment. These helpful therapies assist patients regain their well-being and avert future ailments. By considering acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, you hop on the right path to better health and pain-free future.

Our licensed, skilled team of acupuncturists have successfully treated all types of neck pain and are confident that they can help you too! They offer free consultations, accept insurance and serve the communities of Margate, Coconut Creek, Coral Springs, Tamarac, Parkland, Deerfield Beach, West Boca.

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Web References

  • http://www.webmd.com/brain/news/20010629/acupuncture-may-be-best-to-ease-neck-pain#1
  • http://www.spine-health.com/treatment/alternative-care/acupuncture-ancient-treatment-a-current-problem
  • http://www.acupuncturetoday.com/abc/neckpain.php
  • http://www.acsh.org/news/2016/11/06/jama-journal-alternative-medicine-atrocities-10401

Academic references

  • Cherkin, D. C., Sherman, K. J., Deyo, R. A., &Shekelle, P. G. (2003). A review of the evidence for the effectiveness, safety, and cost of acupuncture, massage therapy, and spinal manipulation for back pain. Annals of internal medicine, 138(11), 898-906.
  • Hurwitz, E. L., Carragee, E. J., van der Velde, G., Carroll, L. J., Nordin, M., Guzman, J., … & Cassidy, J. D. (2009). Treatment of neck pain: noninvasive interventions: results of the Bone and Joint Decade 2000–2010 Task Force on Neck Pain and Its Associated Disorders. Journal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics, 32(2), S141-S175.
  • Irnich, D., Cummings, M., Behrens, N., Molzen, H., König, A., Gleditsch, J., …&Schöps, P. (2001). Randomised trial of acupuncture compared with conventional massage and “sham” laser acupuncture for treatment of chronic neck pain Commentary: Controls for acupuncture—can we finally see the light?.Bmj, 322(7302), 1574.
  • Liang, Z., Zhu, X., Yang, X., Fu, W., & Lu, A. (2011). Assessment of a traditional acupuncture therapy for chronic neck pain: a pilot randomised controlled study. Complementary therapies in medicine, 19, S26-S32.
  • Vickers, A. J., &Linde, K. (2014). Acupuncture for chronic pain. JAMA, 311(9), 955-956.