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Acupuncture for Neck Pain

Updated: Feb 27, 2022

Reasons why you should consider Acupuncture for Neck Pain as a Viable Treatment Option.

Acupuncture for Neck Pain
Acupuncture for Neck Pain

Chronic neck pain is a complex condition to treat and has a considerable impact on quality of life. It belongs to the three most frequently reported complaints of the musculoskeletal system. The majority of the adult population worldwide can recall experiencing back or neck pain or stiffness at some point in their lives. [1] It is not as bad when it is a benign and self ­limited condition, but not every time it is the case. When it becomes disabling to varying conditions and lasts for months or years, chronic neck pain can significantly impact healthcare expenditure due to visits to healthcare professionals, work absenteeism, and the related loss of productivity.

Fortunately, acupuncture may be a safe and effective treatment option for those suffering from this debilitating condition. Let's take a closer look at why acupuncture may be the best to ease neck pain.

How can Acupuncture help with Neck Pain?

Neck pain can be a result of many factors. Sometimes it is an effect of a soft tissue injury. When it lasts or keeps coming back over several months, it is typically caused by a problem in the cervical spine (i.e. cervical degenerative disc disease, cervical herniated disc).

Other common causes of neck pain can include:

  • poor posture

  • sleeping in awkward positions

  • sports injuries

  • repetitive motions (i.e. turning the head side to side while dancing or swimming repetitively).

Considering the broad spectrum of various factors that can interfere with neck pain development, the management of this condition represents a real challenge. Conventional treatments do not always ease the pain and bring relief, and here comes in handy acupuncture as an alternative treatment of neck pain.

As a cost­ effective treatment strategy, acupuncture in patients with chronic neck pain can effectively help to ease the pain by:

  • Reducing Inflammation Acupuncture has been found to promote releasing vascular and immunomodulatory factors. A review article "The neuroimmune basis of anti-inflammatory acupuncture" published by Kavoussi B, Ross BE in 2007 proves anti-inflammatory actions of traditional and electro­acupuncture mediated by efferent vagus nerve activation and inflammatory macrophage deactivation.

  • Stimulating Nerves Located in Muscles and Other Tissues Nerve fibers activated by needle insertion in muscle send signals to the spinal cord, where dynorphin and enkephalins are released. Excitatory and inhibitory mediators in the spinal cord get triggered as afferent pathways continue to the midbrain. Serotonin and norepinephrine released onto the spinal cord lead to inhibited pain transmission. As a result, these signals reach the hypothalamus and pituitary gland and trigger the release of adrenocorticotropic hormones and beta-endorphin responsible for blocking the sensation of pain.

  • Improving Muscle Stiffness and Joint Mobility Acupuncture stimulation enhances local microcirculation leading to dispersal of swelling.

Acupuncture for Neck Pain­ Studies

In agreement with the theory of traditional Chinese medicine, acupoints and tender points may become sensitized when the body is in a diseased state. Stimulation of these sensitive points may lead to condition improvement and improved clinical efficacy. [2] Some controlled trials suggest that acupuncture can effectively relieve chronic neck pain.

One study (published in the issue of the British Medical Journal, in June 2001) conducted by Dominik Irnich, MD, anesthesiologist specializing in pain therapy at the University of Munich and the German Medical Acupuncture Association, had shown that acupuncture is more effective than massage for chronic neck pain. The study treated 177 people aged 18–85 years suffering from chronic neck pain with acupuncture, massage, or 'sham' laser acupuncture. After five treatment sessions, those treated with acupuncture had a more significant improvement in motion ­related neck pain than those treated with massage. [3]

Another systematic review published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2009 confirmed the effectiveness of acupuncture as a treatment for neck pain. This review pooled data from 14 randomized and controlled trials, where nine meta ­analyses addressing different clinical issues were carried out. The primary outcome was the conclusion that traditional acupuncture was more effective than the other treatment for neck pain.


Neck pain can be a debilitating condition, especially when it becomes chronic. Several Western scientific research demonstrates the effectiveness of acupuncture for treating Neck Pain. These may be helpful for all people that suffer from this condition and consider choosing this approach as a form of treatment for themselves.

Acupuncture Clinic in North West London

If you have been suffering from neck pain for a long time, don't suffer any longer! It's time to get in touch with a professional Acupuncturist who can help you. If you live in the North West London area and seeking neck pain relief, contact Nazan at Virtue Acupuncture. Discover the beneficial effects of acupuncture treatment in a clean and hygienic Clinic near you.

Please note that this article has been created for education from the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine only and should not stop you from consulting with your general practitioner for your medical conditions.


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