Can individuals dealing with neck pain incorporate acupuncture as part of their health and wellness treatment to relieve headaches?
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As part of the musculoskeletal system, the neck allows the head to go into full rotation without feeling discomfort or pain. The neck is part of the cervical spine region and is surrounded by numerous ligaments, muscles, and tissues that help protect the spinal cord and the spinal column. However, the neck is also the most susceptible to injury neck to back pain as it is one the top three complaints many individuals suffer from at some point in their lives. When people experience neck pain, numerous causes can contribute to developing neck pain, while pain-like symptoms like headaches contribute to the body. This causes many individuals to seek treatment and find the relief they are looking for to reduce neck pain while continuing their daily routine. Today’s article looks at how neck pain is associated with headaches and how treatments like acupuncture can help with neck pain and reduce the painful effects of headaches. We talk with certified medical providers who utilize our patients’ information to provide acupuncture treatments to lessen the impact of headaches caused by neck pain. We also inform patients how multiple non-surgical treatments can help reduce headaches and pain-like symptoms associated with neck pain. We encourage our patients to ask their associated medical providers intricated and important questions about the pain-like symptoms they are experiencing from neck pain. Dr. Jimenez, D.C., incorporates this information as an academic service. Disclaimer.
Neck Pain & Headaches
Have you been experiencing unexplained stiffness along the sides of your neck? Do you feel a dull ache at the base of your neck or skull after looking down at your phone for an extended period? Or do you experience frequent headaches that are constant throughout the day? Many people dealing with these pain-like issues are associated with neck pain that is affecting their quality of life. Neck pain is amongst the top three complaints many people have experienced at some point. Neck pain has common presenting symptoms that are diagnosed, and the prevalence is much higher in older adults due to degenerative spinal changes in the facet joints and spinal discs. (Childress & Stuek, 2020) Many individuals experience common musculoskeletal pain conditions like muscle strains and stiffness when this happens. At the same time, neck pain can also be associated with neurological conditions that cause overlapping risk profiles, forcing many individuals to miss out on important events. Neck pain is a multifactorial musculoskeletal condition affecting many individuals as it induces them to miss work. This is because various modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors contribute to developing neck pain. (Kazeminasab et al., 2022) These risk factors can range from physical inactivity to poor posture, causing overlapping risk profiles that can trigger neck pain to advance over time.
So, how are headaches associated with neck pain? When a person is experiencing a headache, many would often think that the headaches are caused by not eating enough food or drinking enough water. Those are some of the factors that contribute to headaches, but they can also be due to the stress and comorbidities that are associated with neck pain. This is due to the risk factors many individuals don’t realize contribute to neck pain. Factors like the forward head position from smartphone usage cause tension on the cervical structures, generating potential degeneration and tearing of the neck structures. (Maayah et al., 2023) As repetitive motions affect the neck structure more over time, the nerve roots that surround the spine and spread through the upper extremities can become aggravated, and cause referred pain to different areas of the body, leading to headaches. When dealing with headaches associated with neck pain, they will feel stress, affecting their productivity. The headaches can range from acute to chronic, depending on the severity. Fortunately, many individuals dealing with headaches associated with neck pain will seek treatment to reduce the pain-like symptoms and feel the relief to return to their daily routine.
Healing After Trauma- Video
Many individuals who are dealing with neck pain often deal with headaches as a sign that risk factors are in play, like poor posture, slouching, or traumatic injuries that can affect their ability to work or participate in activities. This can cause many people to feel miserable and decrease their quality of life, thus causing them to seek out treatment for their pain, hence why many individuals opt for non-surgical treatments due to them being affordable and personalized. Non-surgical treatments range from chiropractic care to acupuncture, depending on the severity and location of where the pain is in the body. The video above shows how non-surgical treatments can help many individuals positively influence healing after a traumatic injury and restore a person’s well-being.
Acupuncture For Neck Pain
Non-surgical treatments are excellent for individuals trying to find the relief they seek in their neck pain. As stated earlier, non-surgical treatments are cost-effective and tailored to the person’s pain. Acupuncture is a form of non-surgical treatment that can help reduce the comorbidities associated with neck pain. Acupuncture is a medical practice in which highly trained, licensed, and certified professionals use solid, super-thin needles to be placed at specific points to treat the body. What this does is that when the needles are penetrating the points, it will begin to open any blockage or excess energy to flow correctly, restore balance to the body, and relieve the individual’s symptoms. (Berger et al., 2021) Some of the beneficial results that acupuncture can provide individuals with neck pain is a reduction of pain and disability to the neck while treating referred pain that is causing overlapping risk profiles to induce headaches. (Peron et al., 2022)
Acupuncture Relieving Headaches
Since headaches are associated with neck pain, acupuncture can help relieve the headaches from progressing further and enable many individuals to get back to their routine. Some overlapping risk profiles contributing to headaches include trigger points on the neck muscles that can cause non-dermatomal referral pain and discomfort. (Pourahmadi et al., 2019) When an acupuncturist is treating individuals for their headaches, many individuals will begin to feel the relief after a few consecutive sessions, and, combined with physical therapy to strengthen neck and shoulder muscles, will notice that the pain has been reduced significantly. Acupuncture is a safe, helpful, and available alternative treatment that is beneficial for many individuals dealing with headaches associated with neck pain. (Urits et al., 2020) By incorporating acupuncture as part of a person’s treatment plan, they can begin to feel the relief they deserve while also being more mindful of how they are treating their bodies to prevent pain-like symptoms from returning.
Berger, A. A., Liu, Y., Mosel, L., Champagne, K. A., Ruoff, M. T., Cornett, E. M., Kaye, A. D., Imani, F., Shakeri, A., Varrassi, G., Viswanath, O., & Urits, I. (2021). Efficacy of Dry Needling and Acupuncture in the Treatment of Neck Pain. Anesth Pain Med, 11(2), e113627. doi.org/10.5812/aapm.113627
Childress, M. A., & Stuek, S. J. (2020). Neck Pain: Initial Evaluation and Management. American Family Physician, 102(3), 150-156. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32735440
Kazeminasab, S., Nejadghaderi, S. A., Amiri, P., Pourfathi, H., Araj-Khodaei, M., Sullman, M. J. M., Kolahi, A. A., & Safiri, S. (2022). Neck pain: global epidemiology, trends and risk factors. BMC Musculoskelet Disord, 23(1), 26. doi.org/10.1186/s12891-021-04957-4
Maayah, M. F., Nawasreh, Z. H., Gaowgzeh, R. A. M., Neamatallah, Z., Alfawaz, S. S., & Alabasi, U. M. (2023). Neck pain associated with smartphone usage among university students. PLOS ONE, 18(6), e0285451. doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0285451
Peron, R., Rampazo, E. P., & Liebano, R. E. (2022). Traditional acupuncture and laser acupuncture in chronic nonspecific neck pain: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Trials, 23(1), 408. doi.org/10.1186/s13063-022-06349-y
Pourahmadi, M., Mohseni-Bandpei, M. A., Keshtkar, A., Koes, B. W., Fernandez-de-Las-Penas, C., Dommerholt, J., & Bahramian, M. (2019). Effectiveness of dry needling for improving pain and disability in adults with tension-type, cervicogenic, or migraine headaches: protocol for a systematic review. Chiropr Man Therap, 27, 43. doi.org/10.1186/s12998-019-0266-7
Urits, I., Patel, M., Putz, M. E., Monteferrante, N. R., Nguyen, D., An, D., Cornett, E. M., Hasoon, J., Kaye, A. D., & Viswanath, O. (2020). Acupuncture and Its Role in the Treatment of Migraine Headaches. Neurol Ther, 9(2), 375-394. doi.org/10.1007/s40120-020-00216-1
The information herein on "Dealing with Neck Pain? Acupuncture Could Be the Answer" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
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