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Acupuncture for the Treatment of Neck Pain

Neck pain is an extremely common complaint. It is characterised by pain within either the vertebrae, ligaments or muscles that make up the cervical spine. Often it can be acute in nature, resolving within days or weeks without treatment. However, for many, neck pain is a chronic, ongoing issue which can be particularly debilitating. For some, neck pain can arise quite suddenly, for others it slowly develops over months or even years. Clinically, the presentation and specific location of neck pain observed with patients is wide and varied. Common signs and symptoms include sharp, stabbing localised pain, stiffness, immobility, spasms, general soreness and irritability. Often the pain can radiate through the shoulder/arms and hands and can lead to numbness and tingling in these areas. It is also often associated with migraines and headaches.

Neck pain may be caused by a number of factors. These include:

  • muscle strain – often as a direct result of repetitive or irregular movements, poor posture (e.g., slouching over a computer or smartphone), lack of neck support whilst sleeping, or anxiety and stress.
  • cervical spondylosis – usually characterised by age related degenerative changes of the cervical vertebrae such as arthritic deterioration or a narrowing of the spinal canal (stenosis).
  • herniated/bulging/slipped disc – which arises when the outside layer of a disc ruptures or tears and its contents bulge out and impinging upon the nerves.
  • whiplash – which is a type particular form of muscle sprain of the neck which occurs as a result of the neck being abruptly whipped backwards and then forwards. It most commonly occurs following a sudden fall or car accident (1).

Acupuncture and Neck Pain

Acupuncture may be beneficial in the treatment of neck pain. It also is a feasible alternative to prescription drugs, the use of which may result in adverse side effects. Indeed, acupuncture can be an effective pain management tool for both acute and chronic neck pain. Not only does it stimulate the central nervous system to release endorphins and redirect pain signalling, it can also increase blood flow to the affected area so as to decrease inflammation and repair the surrounding tissue. Often acupuncture points are located at the site of the painful area and patients can experience immediate relief once a particular point is needled.

Research Studies

According to a 2018 report published by the International Centre for Allied Health Evidence acupuncture can render short term improvement on both pain intensity and function for those suffering from non-specific, mechanical, or radicular neck pain. It also observed that acupuncture showed short to medium term improvement in pain but not function for whiplash related injuries. Regarding the efficacy of acupuncture treatment for arthritic neck pain, this report found the evidence to be conflicting (2). Another study conducted in 2017 noted that acupuncture is as effective as conventional medicine for the treatment of chronic neck pain. In addition, it mentioned that acupuncture when combined with conventional medicine is superior to conventional medicine alone and that electroacupuncture is superior to manual acupuncture for the treatment of neck pain (3). Lastly a recent study conducted in 2020 notes that acupuncture can be an effective and safe method of treatment for the relief of persistent head and neck myofascial pain (4).

References

1 Musculoskeletal Australia

https://www.msk.org.au/neck-pain/

2 The International Centre for Allied Health Evidence (2018). Effectiveness and Safety of Acupuncture Interventions for the Treatment of Musculoskeletal Conditions. Technical Report. Prepared for the Accident Compensation Corporation, New Zealand

3 Seo SY, Lee KB, Shin JS, Lee J, Kim MR, Ha IH, et al. Effectiveness of Acupuncture and Electroacupuncture for Chronic Neck Pain: A Systematic Review and MetaAnalysis. The American Journal of Chinese Medicine. 2017;45(8):1-23.

4 Farag AM, Farag AM, Malacarne A, Maloney GE, Pagni SE. The effectiveness of acupuncture in the management of persistent regional myofascial head and neck pain: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Complement Ther Med. 2020;49:102297.

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Address: 214/100 Victoria Parade, East Melbourne

ABOUT INNATE HARMONY

Welcome to the Innate Harmony website: the website of Danielle Baker, Registered Acupuncturist (AHPRA). Danielle has been providing acupuncture services in East Melbourne for over 15 years. She offers expertise and experience utilising Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese medicine to address a wide range of health concerns with a particular emphasis on women’s health, fertility, stress management and pain related disorders.

Service Areas

Melbourne, CBD, Richmond, South Yarra, Fitzroy, Carlton, Hawthorn, Kew, Prahran, Abbotsford, Clifton Hill, Collingwood, Toorak, Brunswick, Richmond.

ACUPUNCTURE SERVICES

Services Provided

Acupuncture
Electro Acupuncture
Herbal Medicine (Pill and capsule formulas)
Moxibustion
Chinese Dietary Therapy
Lifestyle Advice
Food as Medicine

To find out more about the conditions we treat, please call us on 96504111 to speak to Danielle directly or complete the online form.

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Service Hours

Monday to Friday: 10.00am to 7.00pm
Saturday: 8.30am to 3.00pm
(IVF support treatments available outside these hours by appointment)
Address: 214/100 Victoria Parade, East Melbourne

Phone: (03) 9650 4111

Email: danielle@innateharmony.com.au