There are a number of causes for neck pain, including whiplash, stress, overuse, poor posture, strain, sprain, spasm of the neck muscles, infection, and arthritis.
Having a pain in your neck does not have to be a pain in the neck. A study by an anaesthesiologist specializing in pain therapy at the University of Munich compared the use of acupuncture, massage, or “sham” laser acupuncture on 177 people suffering from chronic neck pain. As stated by the author of the study, Dominik Irnich, MD, their findings concluded that:
Acupuncture was “more effecting than one of the most customary treatments for chronic neck pain [that is, massage].”¹
Another study at the University of Southampton compared acupuncture to placebo for the treatment of chronic mechanical neck pain. Researchers found acupuncture to significantly reduce neck pain.²
“Acupuncture is safe and effective for neck pain so it’s worth trying. We need to do more big studies, but above all else we need to understand why such a safe treatment is so effective in the long term.” – Dr.George Lewith, senior research fellow at the University of Southampton
The benefits of acupuncture can also last for years after treatment as demonstrated by a small study that found the effects of 10 treatments for chronic neck pain over a 3-4 week period to last 3 years. ³
Acupuncture is not the only form of TCM treatment that can help to relieve back pain. Moxibustion, cupping, and electroacupuncture can all be used alone or during acupuncture treatment. In addition, there are many herbs that strengthen the spine and reduce inflammation and pain.
¹ Irnich,D., Behrens,N.,Gleditsch,J., et al. Randomised trial of acupuncture compared with conventional massage and “sham” laser acupuncture for treatment of chronic neck pain BMJ 2001;322:1574.
² White,P.,PhD, Lewith,DM,FRCP, et al. Acupuncture versus Placebo for the Treatment of Chronic Mechanical Neck Pain. Annals Int Med 2004 141: 911-919
³ He D, Veiersted KB, Hostmark AT, Medbo JI. Effect of acupuncture treatment on chronic neck and shoulder pain in sedentary female workers: a 6-month and 3-year follow-up study. Pain. 2004 Jun;109(3):299-307