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The Use of Acupuncture to Treat Neck Pain

Aug 18, 2007
More than half of the population of the world will face neck pain at some time in their life. If neck pain lasts for long periods or it creates problem repeatedly, it is said to be chronic. Generally chronic neck pain is caused by abnormalities in soft tissues either because of injury or due to prolonged wear and tear. Different types of chronic neck pain are caused by different factors:

Muscle strain:
Overuse of the neck creates strain in the soft tissues. It creates acute pain in the neck and back. Poor posture and work habits sustain the pain for long periods. Repeated overuse of muscles creates pain particularly in the back side of the neck.

Cervical Foraminal Stenosis:
Pain which develops very slowly over the years and occurs after particular neck positions might be due to Cervical Foraminal Stenosis. Wear and aging of the vertebral joints in the neck or at the disc margins creates this kind of pain. It is sometimes difficult to distinguish this type of pain from muscle pain by depending on Xray and CT scans. In such cases, an injection called a medial branch block (MBB) is performed. The injection confirms that the cause of pain is facet joint.

Cervical herniated disc:
Cervical herniated disc is the main cause of neck pain radiating down the arm in some cases to the hands and fingers. Herniated disc or bone spur compresses the spinal cord to cause the pain. Symptoms of this type of pain can develop both suddenly and slowly. If the pain is not responding to conservative treatments (medication, physical therapy or manipulations), surgery may be needed.

Disk injury:
Discs control the motion of the neck. When discs are stressed beyond their limits pain is experienced which extends to the annulus (outer wall of the disc). An example of this is whiplash injury. Muscles and ligaments are inflamed or stressed by an accident. Neck pain sometimes flares or gets worse. Pain is increased by certain postures. In most cases it is healed but for some people it creates pain in normal activities. About one quarter of patients develop neck pain due to disc injury.

Using acupuncture to relieve symptoms of neck pain:

Acupuncture is part of the 2500 year old science of natural healing called traditional Chinese medicine. It also includes Asian bodywork therapy as well as Chinese Herbal therapy. The practice of acupuncture has turned out to be an accepted treatment for neck pain worldwide. Acupuncture needles are inserted into empirically exact points, called an acupuncture point, which are located along organ meridians, to stimulate the smooth flow of Qi energy. Qi energy is believed to be part of every living thing that exists, as a kind of life force or spiritual energy.

Acupuncture aims to affect the central nervous system, including the spinal cord, mid-brain and hypothalamus-pituitary intricate. Studies have also shown that acupuncture promotes vasodilation and increases blood flow. Concentrations of triglycerides, cholesterol and phospholipids in the blood can decrease following acupuncture treatments . Acupuncture' is also reported to positively affect the immune system. It is thought that this is due to endprphins acting as mediators between the central nervous system and the immune system.

Reducing the chronic pain:

In twice blind scientific trails, acupuncture was proven successful in treating chronic pain, 55% to 85% of patients reported positive benefits. This compares positively with the effectiveness of potent drugs, like morphine, which helped in 70% of cases.

Acupuncture is currently being used worldwide as part of court-ordered drug withdrawal and detoxification programs. In a remarkable study, 42% of alcoholics remained alcohol free for three months following acupuncture treatment, and an additional 28% drank much less. These are extraordinary numbers when compared with any other type of drug therapy.

Acupuncture treatments resolve concern:

Although many people notice a reduction in symptoms of the neck pain following the first treatment, acupuncture may take 3 to 5 sessions before results are evident. This is predominately dependent on the difficulty of the problem being addressed. Generally the greater the chronic condition, the more treatments that are necessary to elicit long term relief. For chronic conditions of neck pain there are many acupuncture experts. The use of appropriate herbal formulas, changes in diet, lifestyle and exercise may be necessary to correct long standing problems of the neck pain.
About the Author
Find other articles by Paul Warren at MyMillionaireBuddy.com and health-information-articles.com
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