A nagging pain in the neck can impact your life, making it harder to manage the things you have to do and leaving you crabby. Although many aches clear up independently, sometimes, they linger. How can you find relief? In addition to traditional treatments, you should consider acupuncture for neck pain.
This alternative therapy might be your ticket to relief. Better yet, it’s accessible — you don’t need insurance to seek help, as plenty of practitioners will be willing to treat you without it. However, some carriers have begun covering it because it works.
This ancient practice works through several mechanisms to bring you relief. Here’s how acupuncture helps with neck pain.
Table of Contents
How Does Acupuncture Help With Neck Pain?
According to traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture works by stimulating the flow of chi or vital energy that may become blocked. Western scientists hypothesize that the process manipulates nerve fibers and impulses, sending different signals to the brain to ease the pain. Stimulating the central nervous system alters the biological chemical soup released through the muscles, spinal cord and brain.
Acupuncture may help with neck pain in the following five ways.
1. Recover More Quickly From Injuries
Injuries in the United States can tragically throw many working-class individuals under the bus. Many remain uninsured, and those with policies often can’t use them. For example, although two-thirds of Americans take prescription medicines, many plans offer inadequate drug coverage.
As a result, minor injuries can spiral into bigger problems — leaving them untreated often leads to further complications. However, acupuncture offers meaningful healing you can access, as most practitioners will see you regardless of your coverage status. An average session costs approximately $150 for the initial visit, with follow-ups costing less. However, you can sometimes find community group clinics with treatments as low as $25.
Acupuncture spurs genuine injury healing. Unlike lifelong prescriptions that keep you dependent, this ancient practice harnesses your body’s natural ability to heal itself. The process prompts your body to release the substances you already possess in adequate amounts to speed recovery.
2. Ease Tension Headaches
Another way acupuncture helps alleviate neck pain is by easing tension headaches. This alternative remedy has a longstanding reputation for stimulating the central nervous system to address this type of ache.
Furthermore, migraine research indicates that this disease activates the trigeminovascular system — the veins around your trigeminal nerve — by releasing calcium gene-related peptides (CGRP). Altering the flow of these molecules through calcium channels enables acupuncture to offer relief for this sometimes disabling condition.
3. Increase Muscle Activation and Flexibility
Stiffness often accompanies neck pain. Another quality that makes acupuncture for neck pain successful is its ability to loosen and release spasms.
Muscle spasms result from various causes, including the following:
- Involuntary nerve impulses
- Depletion of vital minerals in the muscle tissue, like calcium, magnesium and potassium
Acupuncture activates and synchronizes nerve impulses, releasing the spasms causing neck pain. It can also stimulate the flow of electrolytes to the area.
4. Relieve Stress
You might be stressed at the sight of all those needles. However, that feeling will disappear after your first treatment. Even super-sensitive fibromyalgia patients report they’re so fine that they don’t hurt.
The de-stressing nature of acupuncture comes from several sources:
- Relaxing: People today rarely take time to relax. During your treatment, your practitioner will leave you alone for 10 to 15 minutes while the needles take effect. You’ll recline comfortably on a soft surface and chill while the procedure heals you. Taking time to breathe in today’s hectic world is priceless.
- Human touch and TLC: Acupuncture isn’t like a traditional doctor’s appointment. Your practitioner won’t rush you. It’s quite the opposite. You will feel nurtured and supported throughout the process, giving you that TLC and human connection so often lacking in modern life yet essential for stress relief.
5. Provide Immediate Pain Relief
Acupuncture uses certain proven pressure points that send relief directly where and when you need it. The comfort you feel is often immediate because it prompts your body to do what it must to heal.
You’ll often emerge from a session feeling refreshed, with the worst of the sharpness gone from your pain. Although you may have lingering soreness, it gradually abates as you heal.
Tips for Having a Successful Acupuncture for Neck Pain Treatment
How can you ensure success when using acupuncture for neck pain? Here are seven tips to help you make the most of your appointment.
- Wear comfortable clothing: Loose-fitting, comfortable clothing is best to kick back and relax in while the treatment works. Choose garments with sleeves and leggings that easily roll up, allowing your therapist to reach treatment areas.
- Communicate clearly with your therapist: Your appointment begins with an interview about your symptoms. The initial one takes the longest. Be direct with your therapist, including details like how long you’ve had your pain and when it typically strikes, perhaps writing notes before your meeting to not forget anything important.
- Have a light snack beforehand: Although you shouldn’t eat a full meal, sitting on an empty stomach can be uncomfortable. Furthermore, some patients get dizzy and lightheaded if they haven’t eaten, so enjoy a light snack, like celery and nut butter.
- Rinse your mouth but don’t brush: Your acupuncturist may examine your tongue. Therefore, avoid candies or drinks that color this organ and rinse your mouth but don’t brush your tongue before your appointment. Also, ensure you hydrate by drinking sufficient water before your treatment.
- Examine the needle: The easiest way to calm needle fears is to look at it. You’ll see how hair-thin the filament is. Tell your therapist if you have a phobia so they can work with you on overcoming it.
- Practice deep breathing: Slow, deep breathing helps you relax during needle insertion. It also enables you to reach a deeper state of relaxation as the treatment takes effect.
- Relax and enjoy your treatment: Think of acupuncture as self-care that’s also medicine. Your appointment should be a reward, an escape from your busy day. Make it special by avoiding scheduling anything stressful immediately before or after to let the positive feelings linger.
How Acupuncture Helps Alleviate Neck Pain
Now that you know how acupuncture helps alleviate neck pain, make Google and your local directory your friend. Given your circumstances, what resources can you find near you to help you find relief? Area schools are also fabulous places to seek affordable, quality care.
Even if you don’t have insurance coverage, you can access acupuncture for neck pain. This ancient practice is scientifically proven to relieve pain and supercharge your body’s innate healing potential.