Neck pain, or cervicalgia, is something we all experience at some point in our lives. Most of us work 8+ hours a day at a desk, and our bodies are not made for this sedentary lifestyle. We spend more time being inactive than active. We also spend much more time looking down at our phones. Luckily, the body is incredible at adapting to its environment, but it comes at a cost to our musculoskeletal system. Sitting for long periods of the day can weaken and tighten the muscles of our neck and back. It also will reduce the amount of blood and oxygen the muscles get leading them to become ischemic, tight, and painful to move. Sitting also puts more pressure on your spine and nerves, increasing your chance of disc herniations or pinched nerves. If you get anything out of this article, I hope it's to move more, sit less and take a break from your phone.
Causes of neck pain
Some common causes of neck pain include:
Structural causes include disc herniation, nerve compression, and spinal stenosis.
Postural or poor body mechanics
Muscle inhibition or weakness from inactivity
Overuse or repetitive everyday activities
Trauma causes include car accidents, falls, or sports injuries.
Aging causes include osteoarthritis, muscle weakness, and disc degeneration.
Stress or emotional tension
Upper crossed syndrome
Upper crossed syndrome is a muscle imbalance caused by poor posture, sitting for prolonged periods, and repetitive motions (think looking down at our phones for hours). Rounded shoulders, a forward head position, and tight upper back and chest muscles characterize it. This postural imbalance can lead to neck pain, shoulder pain, headaches, and breathing issues. Standing and walking exposes the body to gravitational forces, which ensures the proper activity of our muscles for good posture. When we sit for prolonged periods of time, the stabilizing muscles become weak and lose the ability to do their job of stabilizing our scapula. Our bodies compensate by using mobilizing muscles to stabilize instead. However, these muscles then overwork and become tight because they are not meant to stabilize. This causes pain, restricted range of motion, and myofascial restrictions. This type of muscle imbalance can also affect the posture of your lower spine and cause low back pain.
Acupuncture treatment for neck pain
Many studies show that acupuncture can help alleviate acute and chronic neck pain. Whether you suffer from chronic neck pain, poor posture, or wake up with a stiff neck, acupuncture is a natural remedy for neck pain relief.
At our clinic, we use a musculoskeletal approach to treating pain. Motor point acupuncture with electrostimulation activates weakened muscles and loosens tightened, overworked muscles. This allows the overworked tight muscles to relax and the weakened muscles to activate and do their job. Trigger point acupuncture releases any myofascial restriction or muscle knots in the affected muscles for increased range of motion and pain reduction. Instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization techniques such as cupping or gua sha can be utilized after the treatment for improved blood circulation to the tissues. Clients can see results after a few treatments. Once the muscles are loose and firing better and there is less pain and dysfunction, exercises are recommended at home to improve posture or physical therapy is recommended.
Want to try acupuncture for neck pain?
Schedule a free 15-minute consultation to see if acupuncture can help your neck pain, or book online. If you have any questions, please get in touch with us.