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Category Archives: Neck Pain
Researchers in Belgium have found that just one session of acupuncture can already start to ease the discomfort of whiplash injuries. In a randomised, crossover, pilot trial, a total of 39 patients with chronic whiplash-associated disorders, received two treatment sessions of twenty minutes duration, of acupuncture and relaxation therapy randomly crossed over. Acupuncture was given by professional practitioners with at least 15 years experience in traditional Chinese treatment.
Pressure pain sensitivity in the neck was found to decrease more significantly following acupuncture than following relaxation. Sensitivity at a painful region in the calf, also improved, from which the researchers deduce acupuncture may be activating the body’s own pain-killing mechanisms.
(Does Acupuncture Activate Endogenous Analgesia in Chronic Whiplash-Associated Disorders? A Randomised Crossover Trial. European Journal of Pain, February 2013.)
Researchers in Turkey have found that acupuncture is a promising treatment option for the management of radicular pain (pain radiating in recognised patterns through the body indicative of pressure on specific spinal nerves at intervertebral disc level). They concluded it is non-invasive and with minimal side-effects.
Eighty patients (43 women and 37 men) with acute radicular pain of either lumbar or cervical (neck) origin, were randomly assigned to receive either nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or acupuncture. Half the group had lumbar disc herniations and half had cervical disc herniations, all diagnosed by NMR or CT scan. The NSAID administered was Tenoxicam plus another drug to protect the stomach from possible side-effects of the NSAID.
The effects of acupuncture were similar to those of NSAIDs, although for the cervical group ie pain originating in the neck, acupuncture was significantly more effective than NSAIDs in the short term. The benefits of acupuncture were noticeable after four treatments in the neck pain cases and six treatments in the lumbar pain cases. All forty acupuncture patients completed the study, whereas eight of the NSAID patients dropped out, three due to gastric side-effects of the drug. Patients found acupuncture interesting, and some were unwilling to take medication long-term.
(Effectiveness of Acupuncture with NSAID Medication in the Management of Acute Discogenic Radicular Pain: A Randomised Controlled Trial. Journal of Anesthesia and Clinical Research, March 2012.)
A seven year international and multi-disciplinary team, including European, American, Canadian and Australasian researchers, has found some complementary therapies such as acupuncture and massage, are better choices for managing most common neck pain, than many current medical practices.
The Bone and Joint Decade 2000-2010 Task Force on Neck Pain, was created to help health professionals and neck pain sufferers, use the best research evidence to prevent, diagnose and manage the condition. Neck pain is widespread, and can be associated with headaches, arm pain, upper back pain and depression. It may arise from injuries such as whiplash, occupational factors, or stress, and for most sufferers, it is persistent and recurrent.
(Spine Journal 2008 and CAM, March 2008.)