Can Acupuncture Help Chronic Neck Pain?


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Written by: Justin Cowart

People are always looking to find better ways to alleviate ailments and pains that come from diseases and physical disorders/illnesses. This huge study that was performed by researchers from the University of York may have actually found a solution to an extremely painful issue in particular: chronic neck pain.

Researchers of this study led a large scale investigation to find out if the use of acupuncture or the Alexander Technique can significantly help to relieve chronic neck pain.

In our modern society and in the field of modern medicine, chronic neck pain has been an extremely difficult condition to treat. In previous research, it was shown that single interventions generally are not able to provide any long term benefits from the severity of pain that comes from chronic neck pain.  

Yet, after the researchers evaluated the benefits between acupuncture and the Alexander Technique, they were able to conclude that both different interventions were able to reduce the pain and associated disability over a 12 month period when compared to the usual care alone.

This extensive study, which was published in Annals of Internal Medicine, had recruited 517 different patients of GP practices from Leeds, Manchester, York and Sheffield.

The participants were randomly placed into 3 different groups:

  • Group one was offered all the way up to 20 half-hour lessons with multiple teachers who came from the Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique along with the usual care.
  • Group two received up to 12 different sessions at 50 minutes of acupuncture that was based strongly on traditional Chinese medical theory with practitioners from the British Acupuncture Council along with usual care of patients.
  • Group three only received usual health care alone.

The different interventions were initially delivered within the first 4-5 months. Within all three of the groups, usual care over the 12 month study included visits to physiotherapists, GPs and other healthcare professionals.

Over a 12 month period, the research was able to show that pain levels reduced by 32% for the patients that underwent acupuncture. The patients that undertook the Alexander Technique saw a 31% pain reduction. While the patients that received normal clinically relevant reduction only saw a 25% pain reduction.

With this study and comparing acupuncture or the Alexander technique with the usual care alone, the reductions in pain were found to be statistically significant. The patients in the first two groups were better able to cope with the pain and/or even have reduced pain levels without resorting to traditional medication at all.

Senior researcher, Dr. Hugh macPherson, from the Department of Health Sciences at York stated that,

“Our key finding is that there are significant reductions in neck pain associated with Alexander Technique lessons and acupuncture at 12 months. This is an important finding because for the first time we now have clear evidence that these two interventions provide longer-term benefits for chronic neck pain.”

I strongly believe that if we as a collective society can get further away from the mindset of “if I have some type of aliment the first thing to do is to load up on prescription medicine” and if we look more towards alternative health, we can all slowly pull away from profit-fueled companies and start to actually mend our bodies and minds without the adverse side effects of taking so much prescription medication.

Check out this awesome video about just how well acupuncture can help your body below:

We would love to hear your thoughts and opinions about this topic in the comments below!


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Justin Cowart

Justin Cowart

Justin Cowart is a writer and researcher that loves to learn more about health, life, consciousness and making the world a better place. He loves music, traveling, meditation, video games and spending time with family and friends. He believes in baby steps and lifestyle changes in order to live a full life. In 2014, he lost around 40lbs from baby steps and emotional detoxing.
Justin Cowart


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