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If you’re looking into trying acupuncture for neck pain, or you are currently in therapy and want to learn more, then welcome to the right place! Even though we do not fully understand all the mechanisms behind the process, it is thought to stimulate the nervous system, releasing chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These changes may stimulate the body’s natural healing abilities and promote physical and emotional well-being. Research has shown that acupuncture can be effective in relieving certain types of neck pain, especially chronic neck pain.
Research on Acupuncture for Neck Pain
Each chart provides a clear and concise overview of the respective study, focusing on the key aspects such as the study’s focus, participants, methodology, results, and conclusions.
This multicenter randomized controlled trial aimed to evaluate the efficacy of optimized acupuncture for cervical spondylosis-related neck pain. The study included 896 participants, randomized into optimized, shallow, and sham acupuncture groups. The primary outcome was the change in the Northwick Park Neck Pain Questionnaire (NPQ) score at week 4, with follow-up until week 16. The results showed significant differences in NPQ scores in favor of the optimized acupuncture group compared to both shallow and sham acupuncture groups at week 4 and week 16. The study concluded that optimized acupuncture treatment alleviates cervical spondylosis-related neck pain and improves quality of life, with effects persisting for at least 3 months.
Comparison between acupuncture therapy and gabapentin (2021)
This study compared the effects of true electroacupuncture with gabapentin (a medication) for chronic back and neck pain. Participants received either six sessions of electroacupuncture or three weeks of gabapentin treatment. The study found no significant differences in pain reduction or functionality between the two groups. The conclusion was that a larger-scale clinical study is needed to compare acupuncture and medication therapy for chronic pain management.
Acupuncture for Chronic Neck Pain
This systematic review assessed the effectiveness and safety of acupuncture and electroacupuncture in patients with chronic neck pain. It reviewed randomized controlled trials comparing these treatments to other conventional treatments like physical therapy or medication. The review found that acupuncture had similar effectiveness to active control treatments, but significant relief of pain was observed in certain conditions. The study concluded that the results are limited and more research is needed.
Pain Education for Chronic Neck Pain
This study compared the effect of pain neuroscience education and pain biomechanics education on neck pain and fear of movement in patients with chronic nonspecific neck pain. The study found no significant change in pain between the two groups, but there was a reduction in the fear of movement, favoring pain neuroscience education. The conclusion was that pain education is beneficial for reducing fear, but not necessarily for pain relief.
Electroacupuncture vs Sham Acupuncture
This randomized double-blind trial compared the specific and nonspecific effects of electroacupuncture with different types of sham acupuncture in neck pain patients. The study found that the placebo response varies with the type of sham acupuncture used. The conclusion emphasized the importance of understanding the placebo effect in acupuncture studies.
Studies have shown that it can provide significant relief in certain conditions, particularly chronic neck pain. However, the effectiveness can vary among individuals, so is is important to work with a qualified licensed practitioner who can really help you achieve optimal results.
The Safety of Acupuncture For Neck Pain
Acupuncture is generally considered safe when performed by a trained practitioner. It’s often well-tolerated with minimal side effects, making it a viable option for people who might not tolerate pain medications well.
In summary, acupuncture appears to be a beneficial treatment for individuals looking for treatment options, particularly chronic neck pain. However, its effectiveness can vary, and it is often considered one of several treatment options rather than a standalone solution. As with any medical treatment, it’s important for individuals to consult with primary care providers to determine the best approach for their specific condition.
Carlo St. Juste II, MAOM has a background in acupuncture with over 10 years of clinical experience and over 16 years in the Martial Arts. He has worked with various organizations to implement employee wellness programs including The City of West Covina, The City of Brea, Broadcom, USC, American Suzuki, and Pomona College. He is dedicated to promoting integrative health and has seen the benefits of knowledge and implementation first hand.