Pain, stiffness and muscle spasms of the neck may arise from many different causes. It is important to diagnose the basic cause before acupuncture is attempted to rule out conditions which would not respond well to acupuncture.
Some of the most common causes of neck problems are arthritis and cervical disc pathology. These factors may combine to put pressure on cervical nerves thereby producing painful muscle spasms with stiffness and limitation of movement. Torticollis is a persistent spasm of neck muscles, which can be effectively relieved by acupuncture. Whiplash injuries to the neck encourage the development of all these problems or aggravate pre-existing pathology. Even pain and paresthesia of the arms may be caused by neck problems, and headaches may be triggered by them.
Traction and cervical collars may increase rather than relieve muscle spasms. Surgery of the neck area is extremely dangerous and may result in paralysis of the rest of the body by damaging the spinal cord. Drugs which relieve neck pain and muscle spasms have serious side effects and should be avoided. None of them has any lasting therapeutic value.
Most neck problems, however, can be effectively relieved by acupuncture in 6 - 10 treatments. Nutritional therapy may be helpful and can be given along with acupuncture.
1. Body acupuncture
Hegu (LI 4), Quchi (LI 11), Jianyu (LI 15), Geshu (BL 17) and Yanglingquan (GB 34) are added; for insufficien-cy of liver and kidney, Ganshu (BL 18), Shenshu (BL 23), Zusanli (ST 36), Xuanzhong (GB 39) and Taichong (LR 3) are added.
Performance: Reinforcing needling technique is used for the treatment of insufficiency of both the liver and kid-ney. The rest two syndromes are treated with the reduc-ing needling technique. The acupoints on the neck and back are needled with rotating and twirling manipulations. Moxibustion can be used with the addition of cupping.
2. Ear acupuncture
Performance: Each time 2 - 3 acupoints are selected and needled with filiform needles and moderate and strong stimulation. The needles are retained for 20 - 30 minutes. The treatment is given once a day or once every other day. Or Wangbuliuxingzi (Semen Vaccariae) is used for ear point pressing.