Neck pain (or stiff neck and shoulders) is a very common condition, one that I see time and time again. A stiff neck is typically characterized by soreness and difficulty moving the neck - especially when trying to turn the head to the side. A stiff neck may also be accompanied by a headache, shoulder pain and/or arm pain.
The main muscle involved is the levator scapula muscle. It is located at the back and side of the neck, the levator scapula muscle connects the cervical spine (the neck) with the shoulder. This muscle is controlled by the third and fourth cervical nerves (C3, C4). The function of this muscle is to lift the shoulder blade for example when shrugging the shoulders. It also helps stabilise the shoulder joint when the arm is moving. It also helps turn the neck towards the shoulder.
In acupuncture, stress in modern life together with physical and mental tension can contribute to neck pain. Overstrain, physical trauma, lifestyle, exposure to the elements, or possibly surgery, these can all cause pain or stiffness.
So what can Acupuncture do to help you with this complaint?
Studies have shown that using acupuncture on the neck muscles can reduce spasm and lessen pain, leading to a relaxed state and a heightened sense of well-being.
Stimuating certain acupuncture trigger points can release the muscle and also release natural drug free pain relief. This natural painkiller is called adenosine. Adenosine, which also helps to regulate sleep and keep the heart healthy, becomes active in the skin after an injury to inhibit nerve signals and ease pain.
Niamh Muldowney, owner, Anam Mai Acupuncture