A lot of people will ask me if acupuncture will help neck pain. Sometimes people will even want to know how it will help. Though the theory and application of Chinese Medicine and acupuncture specific can be very complicated the premise is simple. In Chinese Medicine we refer to the body’s energy as Qi (pronounced “Chi”.) When Qi gets stuck there is pain. Pain is just stuck Qi. Acupuncture moves Qi. With neck pain there are energy meridians that Qi moves through in the neck and upper back. So, by treating those meridians and moving the energy in them, the pain goes away.
I practice massage therapy too at Casco Bay Acupuncture & Massage in Portland, Maine. So when would I choose acupuncture and when would I choose massage to relieve neck pain? Both modalities work well but have different purposes. The nice thing about acupuncture is that it can really get deep into the energetics of the neck pain “pattern.” What I mean is, the body can get used to being a chronic state, kind of like a garden with a lot of weeds. If we just whack the weeds off at the top, the weeds aren’t gone. The same idea is true with really shifting a pain pattern so that it resolves and isn’t there anymore.
I will often do acupuncture to begin shifting the pattern of neck pain. A few treatments in a row will send a message to the body. Once things are beginning to shift, massage can then be used as an effective follow up treatment to ease that pattern on out for good. It’s not to say the pain won’t ever come back. It may, but the muscles will have a better chance to fully recover.
I also like acupuncture for neck pain using some electro stimulation on the needles. It is a very comfortable treatment experience, patients may even doze off during the treatment. The electrical stimulation helps interrupt muscle spasm and allows the muscle fibers to relax again at their natural length instead of the shorter length of a muscle in spasm.
So, know that there are nice solid solutions to both acute and chronic neck pain with acupuncture and/or massage that are effective with no negative side effects.