Acupuncture for Neck and Upper Back Pain

Acupuncture for Pain, Injury and Stress

The New World Problem

Neck and upper back pain is a very common ailment of modern technological life and one that we treat very often at our clinic. Many times it arises from chronically poor posture while sitting and working at a desk, and/or looking down at your phone or tablet for long stretches, which places an abnormally heavy load (your head!) on your cervical spine.  The neck and upper back also tends to be where many people carry tension from stress which can build up over time. Tension headaches and temporomandibular (TMJ) disorder can also commonly manifest as neck and upper back pain.

What the Research Says about Acupuncture and Neck/Upper Back Pain

Acupuncture has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for many hundreds of years. In recent years it has been explored more intensively from the perspective of Western medicine, particularly with respect to conditions of chronic pain and disability such as neck and upper back pain. Although the exact mechanism through which acupuncture alleviates pain is not well understood, studies show that the skin and nerve stimulation associated with acupuncture can lead to the release of signalling biomolecules that tell the body to stop feeling pain.

Read the Research on Acupuncture for Neck Pain

According to a recent summary of over 200 research studies, there is good evidence to suggest that acupuncture therapies, which can include electroacupuncture, dry needling and cupping, are effective for relieving neck pain (1). In addition, when coupled with conventional therapies such as medications and movements, the pain relief was even more pronounced.

Our Approach

To begin your treatment, our practitioners will assess of the history and the nature of your neck/upper back pain, as well as investigate what factors in your life might be contributing to the pain such as poor posture or stress.

Acupuncture Needle on Shoulder Muscle

A customized treatment plan will be developed to best create quick healing and lasting results. The treatment itself may include strategically-placed needles at traditional acupuncture points or specific trigger points, electroacupuncture, cupping and gua sha. We often apply kinesiotape to the shoulders to create a new posture set point where the shoulders are back slightly (this is called proprioceptive cuing in kinesiology lingo!).

Read Our Blog: How We Improve your Posture

Our goal is to help you restore the ability to go about your life without causing the neck and upper back pain to keep coming back. We do this by setting the stage for healing with the acupuncture treatments, but also helping to identify specific actions to take in your daily life to create and promote healing between treatments too. We believe that steps must be taken at home, in addition to the treatment room, in order to truly heal your neck and upper back pain in the long term.

How Many Sessions Do I Need

The number of acupuncture sessions needed to see improvement and lasting freedom from pain varies with the individual. Acupuncture works cumulatively, that is, each session builds on the previous one. Generally speaking, a minimum of three treatments is needed in order to create a positive momentum of core stability and function for the back.  Acute pain and recent injuries tend to respond more quickly to treatment, whereas chronic pain conditions that have been persistent for months or years typically take longer.

Read FAQs About Acupuncture