An Alternative to Opioids for Neck Pain

An Alternative to Opioids for Neck Pain
DATE | EAST WEST COLLEGE On January 10, 2019
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Written by: Brandon Fuller, A.P.
Many Americans spend the majority of their life in pain, as we have seen in our daily news. The tops headlines generally read “Opioid epidemic” or “Pain medication,” which in turn are having many individuals questioning their conventional treatments to pain. Alternatives such as Acupuncture are now becoming the mainstream for pain management and reduction. Even Hospitals are adopting a non-pharmacological approach as the first option. One of the most common forms of pain is neck, upper back, and shoulder pain.
Almost everyone will experience some neck pain or stiffness during their lifetime. Individuals who perform manual labor, for instance, have shown more symptoms than office workers. A person's age and history, depending on how rigorous the work can also contribute. Persons who are required to do repetitive tasks, such as, with their upper extremities (lifting), or who undertake prolonged periods of sitting, such as at an office desk, with their head in a flexed position are at a higher risk of developing neck pain.
The neck is the bridge between the head and the body and must be strong enough to support the weight of the head (which is about one-tenth of the entire body weight). It also needs to be flexible, as our eyes, ears, nose, and mouth require the head to make rapid and accurate movements. A common problem associated with this is pain, due to the issue of stability created around the base of the neck leading to the thoracic area. The tension in the thoracic spine can impact on the neck; this is why many practitioners treat the upper back while treating the neck.
Another common feature of the neck, upper back, and shoulder pain is mental stress. Stress in itself is not a bad thing; some stress is needed for the body to function correctly, as well as push us mentally by motivating and inspiring individuals. Problems occur when we as individuals resist taking time to relax and rebuild, which unfortunately leads to the possibility of permanent damage. Acupuncture is a form of Traditional Chinese Medicine that has been around for thousands of years. Small, sterile single-use, filiform needles (needles the size of a hair) are placed on specific points which trigger impulses that tell the body to increase response to an area or decrease inflammation of the area. As more research is being conducted on acupuncture, we are finding that more and more conditions can be treated without the need for conventional medicines. On such study has shown that acupuncture releases endorphins throughout the body giving the individuals the euphoric sensations.
Studies show acupuncture to be effective in relieving neck pain, particularly those caused by whiplash or Trauma. Furthermore, studies suggest acupuncture can treat a wide variety of degenerative neck disorders such as ankylosing spondylosis and cervical spondylosis. Acupuncture has shown hope for many patients whose medical conditions could not be treated using conventional approaches. Acupuncture supports by deeply relax the muscles in the neck and shoulders, reducing inflammation, and balancing the nervous system, which in turn helps to reduce pain. Moreover, leading to an increased period of relief even after the treatment and course of treatments have finished.
Acupressure and herbal medicine are often used in conjunction with acupuncture for a multiplicity of pain issues including neck pain. Applying acupressure or acupuncture to the cervical muscles can reduce spasms, increase healthy blood flow to the area, and lessen pain, leading to a relaxed state and an intensified sense of well-being. Contingent on the patient's condition, herbal products can often be used to improve circulation and blood flow; further increasing the healing time and reduction of muscle contraction.
At East West College of Natural Medicine, located at  3808 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL we not only teach classes, but have a professional clinic and herbal pharmacy that offers more than 400 raw herbs and numerous patent formulas. For more information Call 941-355-9080, text 941-254-2554 or read more about our clinic at