Acupuncture for Neck Pain - Treatment Protocols

Acu Protocols

Below you will find some of the more common tcm diagnoses and acupuncture treatment protocols for neck pain and related issues. There are many ways to treat this condition with Eastern Medicine and our presentation is only one of many possible options.

  • Etiology & Pathology:
    1. Acute trauma causing stagnation of Qi and Blood in the channels supplying the neck area
    2. Overuse, over-strain, or muscle tension can lead to stiffness of shoulder and neck areas
    3. Invasion of cold/wind/damp entering the channels supplying the neck area, can be acute or chronic
  • Differentiation:
    1. Trauma:
      • Signs & Symptoms:
        • Onset is known, usually related to a specific activity
        • Generally limited movement
      • Treatment Points:
        • First needle the empirical points and move the patient's body to a position where the pain begins to appear. Manipulate the needle with reducing method for 1-2 minutes. If the patient responds well, repeat this process a few times then insert auxillary/local points and retain for 15-20 minutes.
        • Empirical Points:
          • Luozhen
          • SI 3
          • GB 39 - pain should be related to GB channel
          • Apply cupping when possible and, if necessary, add local tender points such as:
          • UB 10, GB 20 & Bailao (Pakloh)
    2. Overuse or over-strain of neck & shoulders:
      • Signs & Symptoms:
        • Onset is more gradual, usually related to a specific activity occuring over a long period of time
      • Treatment Points:
        • Treat according to the principle of selecting local, adjacent and distal points on the involved channels:
Channel Distal Adjacent Local
SI SI 3, SI 6, SI 7 SI 12, SI 14, SI 15 SI 16
TH TH 3, TH 5 TH 15 TH 16
UB UB 60 UB 11, UB 12 UB 10
GB GB 39, GB 41 GB 21 GB 20
GV GV 14 GV 14, GV 16
Bailao (Pakloh)
  • Exogenous Wind/Cold/Damp
    • Signs & Symptoms:
      • Can be either acute (sleeping in a draft, AC buildings) or chronic (cervical arthritis)
    • Treatment Points:
        • Needle with reducing method to release the exterior, expel wind/cold & move Qi/Blood in the area
        • TH 5 - expels exogenous pathogenic factors
        • GB 20 - expels pathogenic wind/cold, moves Qi/Blood in the neck
        • GV 16 - expels pathogenic wind/cold
        • GV 14 - releases the exterior (moxa in cases of cold/damp along with local points)

The information on our site is drawn from our own lecture notes and clinical experience. The following lecture notes were consulted within this section:

  • St. John, Meredith: New England School of Acupuncture, Etiology and Pathology Lecture Notes
  • Valaskatgis, Peter: New England School of Acupuncture, Etiology and Pathology Lecture Notes

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