Acupuncture has been practised for centuries in China and surrounding countries for treatment and management of pain. Over the last few decades, there has been a growing amount of research conducted in Asia, North America and Europe in the area of dry needling and acupuncture which involves the use of thin filiform needles applied to various areas of the body.
In the case of chronic neck pain, nerve signals that were active during initial acute injury continue to send signals to the body that it is in pain long after the initial injury has healed - lasting anywhere from weeks to years. New research has suggested that it may be due to a malfunction in the way the brain maps sensory information. Not only can acupuncture modulate the signals to the brain through neuropathways, but it can improve blood circulation, reduce muscle tension and trigger points, decrease inflammation as well as increase body's own opioid production. Its ability to regulate sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems explains why acupuncture can also be effective for stress or anxiety related neck tension.
In a 2015 randomized control trial comparing 12 acupuncture sessions performed within 3-4 months plus usual care (prescribed medications and visits to GPs, physiotherapists and other healthcare professionals) vs. usual care alone for individuals with an average of 6 years of neck pain, found that the acupuncture group showed a significant reduction in pain and improved function at 12 months. It was also found that at 6 and 12 months, self efficacy was greater with the acupuncture plus usual care group compared to usual care alone.
Your therapist at EQ Physio can use acupuncture to treat your chronic neck pain. A detailed assessment carried out will determine if you are a good candidate for acupuncture. Typically, you will experience significant changes after the first two weeks (4 sessions) of acupuncture. This would follow with two more weeks of bi-weekly sessions and a gradual decrease in frequency with frequent re-evaluation of your condition.
If you are having problems with your neck, contact the clinic today so we can get you on a path to recovery as soon as possible. We're conveniently located at the corner of Dundas and Trafalgar in Oakville.
Juny Wu is a Registered Physiotherapist. She has an advanced certification in neuroanatomical acupuncture and is involved with teaching at a Neuro-meridian Acupuncture program.