Acupuncture for Neck Pain
Dr. Jones uses the Gua Sha soft tissue technique, in addition to Acupuncture, to treat the fascia that lies between the skin and the muscle.
Almost everyone experiences neck pain at some point in their life. With the widespread use of computers and smart phones, poor posture leading to neck pain is becoming epidemic. Trauma from car wrecks or even holding the phone in a certain position too long may do enormous damage to the neck and lead to serious neck pain. The stress of modern life is another common cause of neck pain. When we face stress and are unable to process it, the neck and the back automatically tighten. Usually, both posture and stress, as well as a history of past traumas that went unresolved and led to trophic tissue changes, are the most common underlying problems from which neck pain arises.
The importance of Range of Motion testing
Poor posture and neck tension lead to other conditions as well, such as Migraines and TMJ Pain. When a patient presents with neck pain, migraines, or TMJ pain, I always check for range of motion issues. Most people with neck pain, have tight Trapezius muscles (upper, middle and lower) on both sides, the bilateral muscles that stretch from the occiput of the head, all the way to the shoulders and below to the mid back spine. However, other neck muscles are often implicated too. For example, when a person experiences pain upon lateral rotation to the side of the pain, it is a strong indication that the Levator Scapula muscle is involved. When someone has limited extension and when the head fails to extend upon opening of the jaw, it is a good indication that both the Levator Scapula and the Semispinalis Capitis are inhibited, and in need of treatment. TMJ patients frequently experienced such inhibition that requires treatment.
Prognosis for Neck Pain with Acupuncture
In other wise healthy people, acute neck pain can usually be fully resolved with 1 to 2 treatments, especially if the symptoms have only lasted a few days, before tissue changes have occurred. To address tissue changes, Dr. Jones uses the Gua Sha soft tissue technique, in addition to Acupuncture, to treat the fascia that lies between the skin and the muscle. Patients who follow recommendations, including prescribed stretches may avoid needing to return for care for a long time. However, patients who do not follow recommendations (see below) or who have experienced pain for six months or longer, usually require six to twelve visits to find maximum relief and avoid a return of pain. Chronic neck pain patients may require desensitization via more superficial needling and an initial focus on the calming of the sympathetic nervous system. For these patients, Dr. Jones has found the Alpha Stim, a needleless medical device that uses mild current that can penetrate the skin, to be quite effective in the early stage of treatment for chronic neck pain. Regardless of whether the patient suffers from acute or chronic neck pain, the patient enjoys an oasis from their stress via the relaxing effect of a nap with acupuncture, along with the pain relieving, and return of muscular function effects.
There are additional things a patient can do to promote recovery, including recommended stretches and simple posture exercises. Weightlifters for example, can benefit by placing their tongue against the roof of their mouths as they lift and put pressure on their neck with movements such as Overhead Press. This simple movement activates key neck muscles that can protect the neck from injury. Supplements like Magnesium and stress management techniques such as Primordial Sound Meditation can also play a vital role in relieving neck pain and preventing relapse.
Is acupuncture in neck safe?
For back and neck pain, acupuncture is safe as long as sterile needles, such as single-use disposables, are used by a trained practitioner. But skip it for conditions other than pain; there’s no conclusive evidence that it will help.
How does acupuncture help neck pain?
Acupuncture involves the placement of thin needles in the skin at specific points on the body, which helps balance the natural flow of energy (qi) through normal pathways (meridians). Chronic neck pain and stiffness are common reasons for acupuncture treatments to be sought.
How Acupuncture Is Applied for Neck Pain and Stiffness?
Acupuncture treatments can vary widely based on the practitioner’s methods and treatment strategy. In most cases, the acupuncturist starts by asking about the patient’s symptoms, diet, and daily routine, which may give clues about the most effective points on the body to place the needles.
This letter is to thank you so much for the acupuncture treatments. As you know, the constant pain I had been experiencing was emitting from the back area, somewhere near the top of the shoulder blade. Lifting my head or turning it to the right caused severe pain. Sometimes the pain radiated down into my right arm. Also, the fingers on my right hand were numb. When I first came to you, I had already been to physical therapy for my neck and shoulder pain. The physical therapy, which included ice packs, heat, traction and manual manipulation, only alleviated the pain somewhat and for a very short period. I had also had chiropractic treatments, which didn’t help at all. Before seeing you, I had never had acupuncture before, but was in such pain that I was willing to try anything. After your first treatment, I felt better. After the second, I had substantial relief. By the third treatment, the pain was nearly gone. And by the fourth treatment, I felt like I was back to normal. I’m grateful for your caring, patient manner and kindness. You are a very dear man. Thank you very much. Sincerely, Susan Allison
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