Chinese acupuncture began more than 3,000 years ago and is an important part of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Acupuncture involves the placement of very slender needles into the skin along predetermined points for therapeutic effect.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
In Chinese medicine, it's believed that acupuncture works by unblocking the flow of energy along channels, or “meridians.” The theory behind acupuncture is that when the body's energy channels are blocked, discomfort results.
Neck Pain Causes
Most neck pain may result from staying in the same position for a long time. This increases the tension of the neck. Neck pain may also arise from an injury. In adults, narrowing of the spinal canal in the neck (cervical spinal stenosis) is common. In Chinese medicine theory, external wind and cold, or injury, or excessive activities can block the flow of qi and blood in the neck, which lead to neck pain.
Neck Pain Symptoms
The most common symptoms include a knot, stiffness, or acute pain in the neck. The pain may extend to your shoulders, upper back, or arms. Sometimes, you may have a headache, have trouble in moving or turning your head and neck, or have numbness, tingling or weakness in your arm.
Acupuncture Can Control Neck Pain
Acupuncture is widely used for the treatment of neck and other musculoskeletal pain and there is some evidence supporting its effectiveness for short- and long-term pain relief. An Australian randomized controlled trial was designed to compare the effectiveness of acupuncture with simulated acupuncture in patients with sub-acute and chronic whiplash-associated disorders. The patients were conducted in an acupuncture treatment for 12 sessions during a six week period, with three and six months follow up. Participants receiving the real electro-acupuncture treatment had significantly greater reduction in pain intensity at three and six months respectively in comparison to the sham electro-acupuncture group (Spine, April 2011).
Traditional Chinese medicine includes Chinese herbal medicine, acupuncture/moxibustion, and so on. Chinese medicine therapy including herbal medicines and acupuncture for neck pain is very common and successful in China, even in Europe.
Safety of Acupuncture
Although acupuncture is generally considered safe, it may cause dizziness, local internal bleeding, dermatitis, nerve damage, and/or increased pain (especially when the acupuncturist is not well-trained). So a well-trained professional and experienced acupuncturist is vital for safety and effectiveness.