In this fast-paced digital age, where neck and shoulder pain have become an all-too-common companion, the quest for solace has never been more pressing. Prolonged hours spent hunched over screens, navigating the demands of modern life, have left our bodies in a state of perpetual tension. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), with its time-honored practice of acupuncture, offers a holistic pathway to not only alleviate the symptoms but also address the underlying causes of our discomfort.
Here are some words from some of our Calm Family who have experienced relief from neck pain:
I had some aggravating neck pain and I decided to give Acupuncture a try. I had a referral to Calm San Diego and Dr. Ciara Wiegand was amazing! Very professional, knowledgeable and successful in addressing my issues. My pain decreased after the first treatment and now I’m making Acupuncture part of my regular health routine – A.M.
Sincerely, the best treatment I’ve ever had. Angela miraculously and effectively helped ease pain on my back and neck. I strongly recommend you try their services which are high quality and first class. – E.G.
Understanding Neck Pain
Neck pain can arise from various factors. It often springs from long hours spent in a sedentary position, poor posture, or an uncomfortable night’s sleep. Stress and tension also play significant roles. In more severe cases, neck pain results from incidents like car accidents, falls, or strenuous exercise, leading to injuries such as whiplash. Conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, osteoporosis, and general bone degeneration with aging can also contribute to neck pain.
The Role of Connective Tissue in Neck Pain
The science behind neck pain centers around fascia, a type of connective tissue that envelops our muscles, nerves, and organs. When we maintain poor posture over time or experience stress, this fascia can become tight and restricted, leading to discomfort and pain. Furthermore, our modern lifestyle exacerbates these issues, as we spend more time sitting and less time moving, leading to a lack of circulation and flexibility in these tissues.
Acupuncture: An Ancient Solution to a Modern Problem
Research supports acupuncture as an effective treatment for neck pain. Alongside practices like cupping and myofascial release therapy, a type of gentle, constant massage that releases tightness and pain throughout your myofascial tissues, acupuncture can provide impactful relief. With acupuncture for neck pain, you can anticipate alleviation from the discomfort in your neck, shoulders, or back.
Acupuncture: Boosting Blood Flow and Stimulating Healing
Acupuncture plays a significant role in promoting blood flow. The body’s healing components, including oxygen, nutrients from food, immune substances, hormones, analgesics (painkillers), and anti-inflammatories, are all carried within the blood.
Therefore, boosting blood flow is crucial for health promotion and maintenance. Aging, trauma, injuries, and certain diseases can affect blood flow. However, research has shown that acupuncture can enhance blood flow and vasodilation in various parts of the body.
Moreover, acupuncture stimulates the body’s inherent healing mechanisms. By creating “micro traumas,” acupuncture triggers the body’s spontaneous healing abilities, activating the nervous, immune, and endocrine systems.
Acupuncture: Releasing Natural Painkillers and Reducing Chronic Pain
One remarkable benefit of acupuncture is its ability to release natural painkillers. The act of inserting a needle sends a signal to the brain through the nervous system. This signal triggers the release of chemicals like endorphins, norepinephrine, and enkephalin—some of which are significantly more potent than morphine.
Furthermore, acupuncture can mitigate chronic pain by reducing both its intensity and perception.
Acupuncture: Relaxing Muscles and Reducing Stress
Acupuncture can also help relax contracted muscles, releasing pressure on joint structures and nerves while promoting blood flow.
Perhaps one of the most notable systemic effects of acupuncture is its ability to reduce stress. Recent research suggests that acupuncture stimulates the release of oxytocin—a hormone and signaling substance that regulates the parasympathetic nervous system. This system, also known as the “rest-and-digest” or “calm-and-connect” system, is often considered the opposite of the “fight-or-flight” response governed by the sympathetic nervous system. By stimulating this system, acupuncture can help create a sense of calm and connection, effectively reducing stress.
Acupuncture Points for Neck Pain
Acupuncture points for neck pain aren’t limited to your neck. Because acupuncture is a holistic treatment, practitioners treat areas connected with the underlying cause of your neck pain.
- Large Intestine 4 (LI4) is often used to alleviate head and neck pain.
- Jian Jing / Gallbladder 21 (GB21) is known to relieve shoulder tension.
- Zhong Zu / San Jiao 3 (SJ3) helps with upper body discomfort.
- Feng Chi / Gallbladder 20 (GB20) is commonly used to treat headaches, neck stiffness, and shoulder tension.
- Luo Zhen, located on the hand, specifically treats neck pain.
How Many Acupuncture Sessions For Neck Pain?
While you might feel some relief after one session, persistent neck pain often requires a series of treatments. Your Calm practitioner will devise a personalized plan, advising you on the frequency and duration of acupuncture sessions needed for your specific condition while addressing anything other health concerns you’re looking to address.
Gua Sha: A Complementary Therapy
Gua sha is a natural, alternative therapy that involves scraping your skin with a massage tool to improve your circulation. This traditional East Asian healing technique has been widely used for addressing chronic pain and promoting general health. Gua sha is particularly effective in treating neck pain, especially when combined with acupuncture, herbs, and lifestyle modifications. The result of this combination can be quite satisfying and lead to significant improvements in pain and tension relief.
Cupping: An Effective TCM Therapy
Cupping therapy involves creating suction on the skin to promote blood flow and healing. It’s particularly beneficial for easing stored tension and relaxing muscles and knots, offering relief for chronic back and neck pain.
Ear Seeds: A Unique Form of Acupressure
Ear seeds are small seeds placed on pressure points in the ear, corresponding to different body parts. They can help with digestion, stress, headaches, fatigue, hormones, and neck and back pain.
Chinese Herbs: Nature’s Pharmacy
Customized herbal formulas often include herbs like Ge Gen (Kudzu Root) and Qiang Huo (Notopterygium Root). Ge Gen is known for its ability to release the muscles and alleviate symptoms of the common cold. Qiang Huo is often used to treat arthritis and upper body aches and pains.
Neck pain is increasingly common, particularly given the sedentary nature of our modern lifestyles. Fortunately, acupuncture and other Traditional Chinese Medicine therapies can provide relief and aid the body’s natural healing process.
At Calm San Diego, we have a proven track record of helping people manage their persistent neck pain. We invite you to book a personalized acupuncture session with us. We look forward to assisting you on your journey to wellness.