People of all ages frequently complain about neck pain. It originates in the cervical spine (neck region) and is often a result of repetitive motions and actions or gestures, poor posture, or unusual sleeping positions.
Neck pain can be debilitating and may interfere the day-to-day activities. When patients seek medical help for neck pain, doctors often struggle to identify the precise cause of the stiffness and discomfort. Patients are typically given painkillers and muscle relaxants to reduce soreness and restore some movement while they wait for the problem to settle on its own. However, since the underlying reason is not addressed, the discomfort might come back or get worse.
This is where acupuncture may be explored as a possible treatment option, People suffering from neck tightness and pain can experience relief with acupuncture without the use of addictive medicines that may have negative side effects.
Symptoms of neck pain
The neck connects the head to the trunk with only seven relatively small vertebrae – making it the most delicate and possibly the weakest part of the body. It is prone to conditions and injuries that can restrict neck movement. result in pain. Cervical spondylosis is the medical term used for neck pain.
Arthritis, disc degeneration, muscular inflammation, strain, or trauma can all lead to neck pain. Rarely, it could be a symptom of meningitis or cancer. Age, trauma, bad posture, or illnesses like arthritis can cause the cervical spine’s bones or joints to degenerate, which can result in disc herniation or the formation of bone spurs.
Here are few symptoms that may also be experienced along with neck pain:
- Stiffness and spasms in the muscles
- Reduced capacity for head movement
- A burning or stabbing pain.
- Increased sensitivity to light neck pressure
- a headache and tingling or numbness in one or both arms
Common causes of neck pain include:
- Spending too much time on a computer, or smartphone, or reading in bed in an awkward position might result in muscle strain
- Age-related wear and tear can also create problems
- Any neck injury, notably those brought on by car accidents, can damage the area and can cause pain
Read More: Factors That Impact Post-Accident Recovery
Treating neck pain through acupuncture
The practice of acupuncture, which has its roots in China, has been used for thousands of years to cure a wide range of degenerative disorders and relieve pain. It involves the use of body spots known as acupoints that are chosen based on the condition that needs to be treated. Qi is the term used in Chinese medicine to describe the body’s energy; the practitioners of Chinese medicine believe that interruption in the flow of qi cause energy imbalances in the body that result in sickness.
Some acupuncture techniques use needles to pierce acupuncture points (also known as acupoints) on various body parts to restore qi equilibrium. The body has hundreds of acupoints located along 14 major meridians, often known as energy pathways. Acupuncturists believe that by inserting the needles in particular locations along these meridians, the energy flow can be balanced.
Acupuncture treatments can vary based on the practitioner’s style and approach. Acupuncturists often begin by inquiring about the patient’s symptoms, nutrition, and daily activities, which may provide insights regarding the best body parts to place the needles.
The needles may be inserted in locations other than the neck to treat neck pain. For instance, the needles may be inserted on the stomach of the patient suffering from neck pain to reduce inflammation and balance the Qi energy. Depending on the course of treatment, the patient may be required to sit, lie on their back, or rest on their stomach.
From a research standpoint, when an acupuncture needle is inserted into the body, there is an improvement in circulation, a decrease in inflammation, and the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin which results in pain relief and relaxation.
Why should acupuncture be a choice versus allopathy?
Acupuncture is not a clinically proven method when compared with modern allopathic medicine. However, various researchers point to benefits that can occur from acupuncture therapy.
Acupuncture can be effective in treating chronic pain conditions such as osteoarthritis, knee pain, low back pain, and might offer neck pain relief and reduce tension headaches and migraines. Thus, acupuncture is a viable choice for those who suffer from chronic pain. Acupuncture is comparable to other treatments, like therapeutic massage, even if the pain reduction process is not entirely understood. These outcomes differ from patient to patient.
Risks of Acupuncture
Acupuncture is a treatment that is generally safe when carried out by a certified acupuncturist. Patients describe the procedure as relaxing except for certain patients who may experience light bleeding or bruises when the needle is removed.
One myth regarding acupuncture is that it hurts due to the usage of needles. Because of which, some individuals are reluctant to try it. Though you may feel certain sensations like pressure or ache throughout your treatment, the procedure is not meant to hurt. However, it is possible that your first acupuncture session will hurt more than the others. This happens because your body’s energy points are becoming active for the first time. Before they start to get better, your symptoms may grow a little worse.
Acupuncture may help with neck pain. But it should be a supplementary therapy that should be used in addition to first-line treatments. To achieve the best possible outcomes, people who want to try acupuncture should think about combining it with other therapies. They must be careful to select a reliable, certified acupuncture expert for quality of treatment and relief.