how acupuncture works for Neck Pain

By improving circulation of blood and oxygen in the neck, acupuncture reduces inflammation, improves range of motion, and promotes healing.

In this video, Tom uses palpation to identify the correct point. It is a pivotal exchange when Tom: 1) presses on the patient’s neck to locate tenderness, 2) backs off pressure but keeps his finger on the spot, 3) presses on the potential treatment point on the patient’s stomach, and then 4) applies pressure to the tender point on the neck again.

If the neck point is less tender, then Tom knows he has identified the correct point on the stomach for the acupuncture needle. Patients often express surprise or ask if Tom has moved his finger because the point isn’t as sore the second time.

This exchange is one of the things that distinguishes Japanese techniques from Chinese techniques. Precise point location based on feedback from the patient is critical to Japanese acupuncture and confers the benefit of immediate feedback regarding the effectiveness of a treatment.


changed my life

“Hello, my name is Rod Barrett. I’m 62 years old next month. I’m here to give you a little bit of background into myself and why I chose acupuncture.

“I’m retired from the sand and gravel business. I worked for a local contractor and others for over 40 years doing manual labor and heavy equipment operating. It got to the point I had so much low back pain when I got off of my machine at night I couldn’t walk straight over to my pick-up. I had to walk hunched over. I couldn’t get out of bed without help in the morning because my back hurt so bad.

“Before I retired, I sought help and I went to physical therapy and I got some help, but not enough. It was temporary. I asked people about acupuncture. I had a friend who just happened to be an acupuncture student. We got on the computer and found a website--actually three in the Eugene area. The number one draw for me was these people helped with low back pain. I said those are the people for me.

“I came and after my first treatment I could walk out the door without being hunched over. When I came in I could hardly pick my feet up to walk up the steps. So I went out and said well that’s really pretty cool.

“Since then I’ve been a regular customer here. I’ve had success with more than just my back. I’ve had both my shoulders surgically repaired about 15 years ago. Those are starting to give me a lot of trouble. I asked Tom about it and he said, ‘Sure, we could help you with your shoulders.’

“I’ve become an avid golfer. Because I am able to use my whole body, I am playing better golf than I ever have in my life. I just finished going on a six-mile hike this morning before I came here and, like I said, it used to be I couldn’t walk across the parking lot to get to my car after work without bending over.

“It’s been great for me. I recommend it to all my family and friends. I’ve had several people that I have converted to being acupuncture patients. One of them--my friend John--I think he’s done a testimonial. He was a carpenter all his life. He got to where, we were playing golf, and he couldn’t bend over to get his ball out of the hole. And I said, ‘John, you need to see some people I know.’ He came here and after his first appointment he said it was a miracle. It’s really changed his life and my life and a lot of my friends’ lives.

“I brought in a CD of an MRI I had on my neck that showed the injury and what had been done. I asked Tom if he could help my neck and he did. I had such pain that I was immobile for quite a little while. I came to Tom and it was taken care of in about three appointments. So now, I’m good.

“My wife and I walk every day in the logging roads up by our house. We would go up about a mile and a half up the hill and then walk back to our house. By the time I got back, I was in so much pain, I had to just sit down on the chair and I couldn’t move for a couple hours. Now I can go, there’s no limit. I can go six miles, eight miles, whatever we want to do. When I come back, I’m sweating, but I’m feeling good.”

-Rod Barrett, Eugene, OR


scientific STUDIES

Randomized controlled trials of acupuncture for neck pain: systematic review and meta-analysis.

Randomised trial of acupuncture compared with conventional massage and “sham” laser acupuncture for treatment of chronic neck pain.

Acupuncture for chronic pain: individual patient data meta-analysis.