Pain in the Neck? Think Acupuncture
Neck pain can be a real problem, especially for those of us spending hours at a desk each day staring at a computer screen. For some, a history of sports injuries, whiplash, or even the wrong bed mattress or pillow can bring on neck stiffness, tension, and pain. Whatever is causing your neck discomfort you can turn to acupuncture to safely & effectively become pain-free.
Scientific Evidence for Acupuncture
Scientific researchers and clinicians have been conducting clinical trials on the use of acupuncture for neck pain since the 1980’s and recent studies show even greater support for the use of acupuncture in alleviating chronic neck pain. One recent pilot study conducted at the Kyunghee University Medical Center in Seoul, Korea found that acupuncture given three times a week was as effective as 80 mg of NSAIDs (think Tylenol here) taken daily for chronic neck pain1. Wow!
Another study including nearly 18,000 patients found acupuncture to be highly effective for the treatment of back and neck pain, osteoarthritis, and chronic headaches2. The patients receiving acupuncture had remarkably better results than patients receiving “sham” acupuncture. Even the prestigious Mayo Clinic recommends acupuncture as a relevant, safe, & useful form of alternative medicine for relieving neck pain3.
The Big Picture
The beauty of Chinese Medicine is that we view the body as a whole, as more than just a sum of its parts. So, in conjunction with your regular acupuncture treatments, you can ensure a more speedy recovery from neck pain if you try on a few of the lifestyle tips below:
Tip #1: Reduce screen time – Staring at a computer, smart phone, or television screen for hours a day can really cramp your style. Try limiting the hours in the day you respond to emails, or cut back on the amount of texting. A little change can go a long way to reduce neck tension.
Tip #2: Watch your posture – If you’re a slouchier (& you know who you are!), you should know too that more than your back is likely to get out of whack. The more we slouch the more we tend to over-extend our neck, causing unnecessary neck discomfort.
Tip #3: Stretch a little every day – Even while you’re at the office you can sit up tall, drop an ear to a shoulder, and spend just 2 minutes rolling your neck from side to side & lowering your chin to your chest. This small amount of stretching might just be enough to melt away accumulated neck strain.
Tip #4: Manage your stress – We all have stress, and we sometimes carry it in our neck & shoulders. If this sounds familiar try implementing a plan of daily self-care. Put up your feet, take a nap, go for a walk, and just try getting a little more “me” time. You’ll be amazed at how a little less on your plate can cause a little more ease in your day.
Consider Acupuncture First
So, if you’re looking to get rid of your pain in the neck (pun intended!) and want to avoid pharmaceutical & surgical intervention, then consider acupuncture & lifestyle modifications first!
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- Cho, J., et al. 2013. Acupuncture with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) versus acupuncture or NSAIDs alone for the treatment of chronic neck pain: an assessor-blinded randomised controlled pilot study. Acupuncture in Medicine. 0:1-7. http://aim.bmj.com/content/early/2013/10/30/acupmed-2013-010410.short
- Vickers, A., et al. 2012. Acupuncture for chronic pain: an individual patient data meta-analysis of randomized trials. Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 12 (Supp 1) 09. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3373337/
- Mayo Clinic online. Accessed October 6th, 2014. Diseases and Conditions: Neck Pain. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/neck-pain/basics/alternative-medicine/con-20028772