Topic: Natural Relief for Neck Pain? Acupuncture as a Treatment Option
One condition that all of us have experienced at some point in our lives is neck pain. Given our modern lifestyles, it’s not hard to see why. We tend to live sedentary lives, working in an office where we slouch at our desks, hunch over our keyboards, or crane our necks to look at our phones on our commute home. When you consider that your head weighs around 5kg, it’s no wonder why our necks are under strain from supporting the load.
Many of us also tend to hold stress in our neck and shoulders, which contributes to neck pain. A build-up of stress can cause us to instinctively tense up our muscles, resulting in our shoulders and neck feeling knotted.
Neck pain can also lead to other symptoms such as tension headaches, dermatome pain, teeth grinding, jaw pain, dizziness or light-headedness. Alternatively, the tension can also travel down and result in back pain.
Neck pain can cause a serious hindrance to your usual life, resulting in sleepless nights, a limited range of motion and potentially crippling pain. Whether your neck pain is acute or chronic, it’s critical to seek treatment immediately to prevent the problem from worsening or continuing to reduce your quality of life.
Common treatments for neck pain include using pain relief gels at home, taking medications or even seeking surgery. However, many people find that this only brings short-term pain relief, or are looking for natural solutions so that they don’t have to rely on medicines and chemicals.
If you have only achieved short-term relief from other treatment options or are looking for a natural option, acupuncture could be right for you. The ancient technique of acupuncture has been shown to be highly effective for easing and even treating chronic neck pain. Chinese medicine suggests that tightness or pain is due to blocked circulation of blood and energy in the area. By increasing the circulation in the area using targeted needling, pain and tightness can therefore be relieved.
Additionally, the process can help to relieve stress thanks to the chemicals and hormones that are released when certain points along the central nervous system are stimulated. This is critical for ongoing pain management, as experiencing less stress means carrying less tension in your shoulders, thereby saving you from continuing neck pain.
Acupuncture is more than just an “alternative” healing practice. In fact, modern research has continuously demonstrated acupuncture’s effectiveness when it comes to relieving various conditions and types of pain, including neck pain. Acupuncture has been found to be especially great for treating degenerative neck disorders such as ankylosing spondylosis and cervical spondylosis, as found by Chen et al. In this study, Chen et al. found that acupuncture is a valid form of treatment, and is especially effective when auricular acupuncture and body style acupuncture are used together. When these two styles were used collectively, 70% of subjects reported that they had recovered from their pain, while 26.67% felt the treatment was significantly effective.
When it comes to pain relief in general, a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that acupuncture was more effective at treating chronic than over-the-counter or prescription pain medications, making it a highly attractive option for those wanting natural pain relief.
Clearly, the more research that is conducted on acupuncture, the clearer it is that acupuncture is a legitimate treatment option for conditions such as neck pain. Of course, as with all medical practitioners, it is important to choose an acupuncturist that is experienced in treating the particular condition you are suffering from. In this case, trust an acupuncturist that has experience treating neck pain, as you can be sure they will be able to provide an accurate diagnosis and tailor their treatment to you.
Once you have sought acupuncture for your neck pain, there are ways you can prevent and manage the condition on your own. This includes being mindful of your sitting posture, especially avoiding hunching over your electronics, not sitting for extended periods, regularly exercising and stretching, as well as managing your stress.
We often neglect taking care of our necks and our spines in general. However, considering how much stress we put our bodies under every day, it’s vital to manage our pain and seek treatments such as acupuncture if problems arise, to ensure our wellness and longevity.