Neck pain is as extremely common problem. It can be caused by something as simple as sleeping in an odd position or staring down at your smartphone for too long. In these cases, your neck pain will usually resolve by itself in a day or two without the need for further action. However, sometimes neck pain can become chronic, and that’s where acupuncture comes in!
Some of the most common causes of chronic neck pain are:
- Whiplash injury
- Degenerative disc disease
- Ankylosing Spondylitis
- Prolapsed disc
- Pinched nerve
So if you have neck pain that doesn’t go away by itself, what should you do?
Treatments for Neck Pain
The most common medications for neck pain are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, and painkillers. These drugs are good for providing short term relief, but in the long run they may cause side effects and should only be used as a temporary measure.
Other therapies such as chiropractic and osteopathy are also popular, and use physical manipulation to correct structural imbalances and relieve pain. These treatments can be highly effective, but must be carried out by a properly trained professional or you could make the problem worse.
Massage is also a great way to relieve neck pain and release muscular tension. Many people see massage as an expensive treat, but it needn’t cost a fortune. Our basic acupressure self-massage for neck pain is quick, easy and can be done at home or in the office, absolutely free!
Acupuncture for Neck Pain
Acupuncture is another great way to provide relief from chronic neck pain. It works in a number of different ways:
- Acupuncture relieves pain by influencing the central nervous system
- Acupuncture increases the action of endorphins, your body’s natural painkillers
- Acupuncture relieves muscular tension
- Acupuncture reduces inflammation
- Acupuncture increases blood flow to the local area to promote healing
Acupuncture also helps to reduce stress, another common cause of neck pain. If you are holding a lot of physical tension in your neck and shoulders due to stress, acupuncture could be perfect for you. Not only is it incredibly relaxing, but it can also help with other symptoms of a high-pressure lifestyle such as headaches and migraines.
Other traditional Chinese therapies such as cupping may also be used, and acupuncture can be safely employed alongside other therapies such as chiropractic, osteopathy and massage.
How Many Treatments will I Need?
People with neck pain can normally feel some relief after just one or two treatments. However, in order to get the maximum benefit from acupuncture we recommend a minimum of four to six weekly treatments. Following this, you may wish to come for maintenance treatments at less frequent intervals to provide ongoing relief. The exact number of treatments needed will depend on the nature of your condition and how long you have had it.
How to Prevent and Relieve Neck Pain Naturally
Straighten Out Your Sleeping Habits
The position that you sleep in has a strong influence on your spine health. Choose a firm mattress and a low pillow to keep your back and neck straight when sleeping.
It is important to keep your neck and shoulders mobile to prevent stiffness and pain. Perform gentle exercises such as looking up and down and side to side or neck circles throughout the day. If you have a neck injury such as whiplash, it is no longer recommended that you use neck collars. It is better to keep your neck moving and allow it to heal more naturally.
Check Your Posture
Poor posture is a major cause of neck pain, so try and become aware of your neck’s position as you sit or stand. This is especially important if you work at a computer or in another job which requires you to stay in one position for a long time.
Use Hot or Cold Packs
Heat packs and ice packs are another great way to relieve neck pain naturally. Generally speaking, it is better to choose ice packs for new injuries (to reduce inflammation) and heat packs for chronic neck pain and stiffness. Experiment with both and see which works for you.
If you are suffering from neck pain and would like to know more about how acupuncture could help, feel free to contact us and we will be happy to answer any questions.