Neck pain is a common occurrence in the modern world. Physical overload (prolonged sitting in front of the computer) and mental overload (stress and tension) affect the neck muscles, which tend to get strained and cause pain. Chinese acupuncture can relieve neck pain effectively, and assist in strengthening your posture to prevent recurrent injury.
What causes neck pain?
On a physical level, there are two main causes for neck pain:
Tight or weak muscles
Spinal problem - cervical scoliosis, cervical disc slip/bulge
This results mostly from our habits and life style:
Prolonged sitting in front of a computer/ screen and phone use - causes a strain on the neck bones and muscles that need to carry the weight of the head for a long time in a static posture. As a result, the muscles contract and cause pain. In some cases, especially when the sitting posture is incorrect, a cervical disc might slip or bulge, causing not only neck pain, but also radiating pain – to the arm, shoulder, head, or upper back.
Lack of Exercise - Similar to prolonged static sitting, muscles do not work enough, weaken and therefore become tight and strained (this is the body’s defense mechanism).
Mental stress - causes the muscles to contract (and again, in severe cases, the contracted muscles can also damage the vertebrae) and pain occurs. Pain increases stress, which in turn increases pain – a vicious cycle that needs to be addressed.
Cold - cold wind, cold air, illness (flu) - can cause muscles to contract suddenly and cause neck pain.
Trauma - car accident or other external trauma (e.g. sharp and sudden movement of the head) can cause muscle contractions (whiplash) or damage to the vertebrae and spine.
Paradoxical or shallow breathing - not using your diaphragm to initiate breathing or not breathing into your abdomen, causes your accessory neck muscle to work overtime and become strained.
Chinese acupuncture for neck pain/ tight neck muscles
Initially we identify the location of the pain, referral pattern and look for any restriction of movement. Needles are then inserted either locally and/or at other parts f the body which affects the neck, Blood and ligaments. When the diagnosis is correct and the treatment is accurate, you can feel the benefits. Range of motion is improved, muscles relax and of course there will be less pain.
In addition to treating with acupuncture, we have other tools for helping with your pain. We use a massage technique (tuina), cupping or gua sha which is effective for alleviating pain, bringing more blood (oxygen) to the injured area, and help relax tight muscles.
Treatment with Chinese acupuncture and the additional techniques may be very effective in all types of neck pain. The benefit and improvement of the condition depends on the severity of the injury and the intensity of the strain; if the neck muscles have been tight for a few days as a result of cold exposure, we expect faster results; however, if it is a chronic 20-year condition, a longer treatment course will be required. You will still enjoy the benefits, but the recovery will be longer.
For general posture strength and prevention of neck pain, we highly recommend doing regular exercises and stretches.