The neck, or cervical section of the spine, is a crucial area of the body since it supports the skull and brain. While mild stiff necks are a common complaint, more serious neck pain, particularly pain that is radicular, or travels down the arm, may be cause for concern. There are two types of neck pain: mechanical, which is caused by injury and subsequent inflammation of the soft tissues of the region, and cervical radiculopathy. While mechanical neck pain is typically the result of a pulled muscle, ligament or facet joint, cervical radiculopathy usually results from degeneration or herniation of a disc that results in a compressed ("pinched") nerve. Radicular pain is often accompanied by numbness, tingling, or muscular weakness along the arm and fingers.
While traditional treatment for neck pain may include medication or chiropractic care, acupuncture is a safe an effective treatment option for reducing neck pain. Without the side effects of medication, acupuncture targets the muscles, connective tissues, and nerves within the neck region to decrease pain and stimulate healing.
Benefits of Acupuncture
Acupuncture is an effective treatment option for various types of neck pain. Acupuncture focuses on reducing nerve and muscle inflammation, increasing range-of-motion, relaxing tight muscles, and improving circulation, all of which help to decompress injured nerves in the neck and alleviate pain. Acupuncture treatments are safe, have little to no side effects, and no negative interactions with other treatments.
The Acupuncture Method
Acupuncture can deeply relax the muscles and trigger points in the neck and shoulder which stimulates healing. Acute, non-traumatic neck pain generally responds quickly to acupuncture. Fine needles may be inserted into target points in the hands, feet, ears and scalp, however, points may vary for each individual. Chronic neck pain, or pain that is accompanied by numbness, tingling, and pain in the arms, may respond well to acupuncture with electro-stimulation. Gua sha and cupping techniques may also be used to stretch soft tissue, reduce inflammation, and restore normal blood flow to the neck muscles. Typical treatments last from 15 to 30 minutes and frequency of treatments will vary based on the individual.