Jinhee posted recently about how living in NYC can be a real pain in the neck, and she’s right. I can’t count on all my fingers and toes the number of patients I see regularly who complain about neck pain. Neck pain with upper back and shoulder pain is also common. Usually, there are spasms (trigger points) in the trapezius muscle, which runs along the mid and upper back and into the neck and reaches out to the shoulders. The trapezius muscle refers pain into the back, neck, shoulders and face. When we do acupuncture for neck pain, we often use points along this muscle for exactly this reason. We also do massage in the area of the muscle.
When we treat neck pain, we often use points in the hands and feet too. Patients are always asking why I’m doing acupuncture all the way down there when I’m using acupuncture to treat neck pain. Well, here’s part of the answer… a recent research article showed that these faraway points can affect blood supply in the trapezius muscle. Increasing circulation and oxygenation in this muscle is a great way to let those spasms and knots release. When a muscle is spasmed, its blood supply is drastically reduced, making it slowly become ropy and dry. Bringing blood and nutrients into the area will help the muscle relax and become supple again.
So, if you’re getting acupuncture for neck pain, make sure your acupuncturist uses points in the hands and feet. Actually, just let them do their thing. They likely know what they’re doing if they’re a licensed acupuncturist.
To read more about how we treat neck pain at Dylan Stein Acupuncture, visit the Neck Pain Page.