Acupuncture Offers Dynamic Relief For Neck Pain
While many may perceive acupuncture as an esoteric practice, it has been used worldwide as primary health care for centuries. Today, The World Health Organization recognizes acupuncture as a safe and effective method of managing and eliminating pain, among other things.
Let's take a closer look at how the acupuncture theory surrounding stagnation explains how acupuncture can relieve and prevent future neck and shoulder pain.
Alleviate Stagnation To Stop Neck Pain In Its Tracks
There is a very old, yet precise saying in the acupuncture medical classics, "where there is pain, there is stagnation and where there is stagnation, there is pain." Essentially, pain is the body's way of alerting us that the free flow of energy has been disrupted and "stagnation" has set in.
Stagnation of qi and blood, that is, scar tissue, metabolic fluid, actual blood from injuries, post-operative care and lifestyle over time can impair function throughout the body.
In acupuncture school, we are taught to see the body as a microcosm of the earth. All of the things that cause a problem in the natural world (heat, cold, dry, damp, wind, etc.) can also cause problems in your body.
It is helpful to think of the energy that flows through your body as a stream of water in nature. In this example, stagnation is akin to something blocking the stream's flow. In the case of neck pain, stagnation may be occurring along the muscles, tendons, ligaments or vertebrae in the cervical region. Neck
pain may also be a result of stagnation occurring lower in the back, in associated muscles and structures throughout the back or other areas of the body.
In keeping with our ???energy as a stream??? metaphor, let's consider several scenarios to illustrate the different types of stagnation that can cause neck pain to occur.
- Heat. If the weather has been hot for several weeks, water will naturally evaporate from a stream causing the flow of water to stagnate. In nature, this heat is usually caused by seasonal temperature changes. In your body, too much heat can occur from eating greasy, fatty, fried, high sugar and processed foods. Just as in nature, acupuncture theory sees that this dietary heat can ???evaporate??? the blood, causing the stream to stagnate. Remember, when there is stagnation there is pain. This is a good example of how your diet may be affecting your pain.
- Cold. Conversely, when the weather is exceptionally cold and water freezes, the stream also slows or stops flowing evenly due to the ice that forms. In acupuncture theory, it is possible for the cold air from outside to get ???stuck??? inside your body. If that cold is able to lodge in the muscles, it will cause stagnation in the stream. If cold lodging in your body sounds too strange, think of any time you have slept next to an open window or under a direct fan - it is very common to have a ???crick??? in the neck when you wake up. This is exactly the cold stagnation we are talking about here.
- Obstruction. Water could be flowing well down the stream, but then a tree falls causing a dam in the stream where water can no longer flow. The way this can play out in your body is from a direct trauma or injury.
Despite how stagnation may have initially occurred, your acupuncturist is much like a detective, asking questions about the nuances of your personal lifestyle to discover how stagnation may have become lodged in the body to begin with. First, your acupuncturist will concentrate treatment on relieving your experience of neck pain. In this case, releasing muscle motor points along the cervical vertebrae will help dissolve pain and therefore stagnation. Patients report increased range of motion in the neck, less discomfort and pain, reduced headache and overall improved well-being.
What distinguishes acupuncture as an exceptional treatment from other modalities is that an acupuncturist will not only treat your pain, but discover the underlying cause of stagnation. Be it cold, heat or whatever the cause, your acupuncturist will create whole body wellness by eliminating the root of stagnation to restore physiological balance. To reduce potential future stagnation from setting in, your acupuncturist will discuss what frequency of preventive acupuncture sessions are most ideal for your personal health