Researchers find acupuncture effective for the relief of cervical spinal syndrome. This condition involves irritation of the spinal nerves located in the neck. Spinal nerves transmit sensory, motor, and autonomic nervous system signals between the spinal cord and the body. Inflammation and impingement present in cervical spinal syndrome results in head, neck, chest, shoulder, or arm pain and dysfunction. The results of the research demonstrates that acupuncture plus moxibustion yields a high total recovery rate. In addition, nearly every patient receiving acupuncture plus moxibustion demonstrated significant improvements.
Researchers from the Hubei Hongan Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital examined 200 cervical syndrome patients in a controlled investigation. The research team discovered that targeted acupuncture treatments produce an extremely high total effective rate and a high complete recovery rate. Targeting involved the application of a primary acupuncture point prescription for all patients plus an additional set of secondary acupuncture points based upon diagnostic variations in clinical presentations. Using this semi-protocolized targeted approach to patient care, the research team achieved a 97% total effective rate across all tiers of improvement. The breakdown into levels of efficaciousness produced surprising results. The total recovery rate was 64%, the significant improvement rate was 17%, the minimal improvement rate was 16%, and 3% had no improvement.
Dr. Ruth Jackson, MD, notes, “The nerve roots leave the spinal cord at an angle which approximates a right angle, and they fill fairly snugly the foramina through which they pass. This makes them very vulnerable to irritation from any mechanical derangement of the cervical spine.” Cervical syndrome is often triggered by a small event, such as leaning over a sink while brushing teeth or turning the head. However, the initial cause may have been prior, including whiplash injuries, mechanical deformities, or other chronic irritations. The tight spacing of the intervertebral foramina (IVF) through which the nerves pass is easily encroached by both chronic and acute conditions that produce inflammation and morphological changes.
A primary set of acupoints was administered to all patients in this acupuncture continuing education study. A total of 3 – 4 acupoints from the primary set were applied during each acupuncture session. Each acupoint, including customized secondary acupoints, were needled with standard manual acupuncture protocols for insertion and manipulation. Total needle retention time during each acupuncture session was 20 minutes. One acupuncture session was applied daily for a total of 10 days, followed by a two day break and then another 10 days of acupuncture therapy. For moxibustion, a moxa cigar was used to warm the cervical Jiaji acupoints for 30 minutes per day. One 30 minute moxibustion treatment was conducted daily for 10 consecutive days. The next treatment cycle of an additional 10 days of moxibustion care commenced after a 2 day break from treatment. The primary acupoints were selected from the following selection:
Ashi (located beside spinous processes)
Secondary acupoints were selected based on the type of cervical syndrome presentation for each patient. For nerve root compression cervical syndrome affecting the shoulders and arms, the following points were applied:
For vertebral artery related cervical syndrome, the following acupoints were applied:
For sympathicus cervical syndrome involving excess stimulation of the sympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system, the following acupoints were applied:
Patients were evaluated before and after the treatment course of care. The treatment efficacy for each patient was categorized into 1 of 4 tiers:
Recovery: Complete recovery of neck function. Complete absence of clinical symptoms.
Significantly effective: Alleviation of localized pain. Clinical symptoms largely absent.
Effective: Localized pain present. Basic physiological function achieved. Main clinical symptoms absent.
Not effective: No improvement.
The total treatment effective rate was derived as the percentage of patients who achieved at least an effective tier. The data shows that acupuncture combined with moxibustion benefits nearly every cervical syndrome patient to some degree, with a 97% total effective rate across all tiers of improvement. The 64% complete recovery rate is equally important.
The researchers gave a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) background to the treatment of cervical syndrome, often manifesting as cervical spondylosis. According to TCM, cervical syndrome is common starting in middle-aged individuals and older. Often, cervical nerve impingement is due to osteoarthritis and cervical disc protrusions or extrusions. Radiculitis is common in all cases. According to TCM principles, left untreated, cervical syndrome is a degenerative disorder. Calcification of related ligaments due to chronic strain and inflammation may lead to oppression of the cervical vertebrae, nerve roots, and blood vessels. There may also be pressure onto the spinal cord in more serious cases. These conditions lead to cervical dysfunction and pain.
In TCM, cervical syndrome is often categorized in the class of Bi Zheng. External pernicious influences giving rise to cervical syndrome include external injury, exhaustion, wind, cold, and dampness. Zang-Fu and deficiency related conditions include deficiency of the liver and kidneys or tendon and bone malnutrition. The aforementioned conditions result in poor qi and blood circulation in the Taiyang meridians and imbalances of the Ying and Wei. Symptoms such as severe neck pain, shoulder pain, numbness, headache, dizziness, and nausea ensue as a result of the condition. The results of the research demonstrates that acupuncture combined with moxibustion is effective for the relief of cervical syndrome.
Contact Affinity Acupuncture today for Nashville Acupuncture treatments and appointments!
Li HX & Zhao L. (2013). Efficacy observation on treating 200 cases of cervical syndrome with acupuncture and moxibustion. Clinical Journal of Chinese Medicine. 5(3).
Jackson, Ruth. “The Classic: The Cervical Syndrome.” Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. 468, no. 7 (2010): 1739-1745.
Chronic pain in the muscles and joints can make life miserable. Standard treatments like ice and heat, anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, and appropriate exercises can often ease the pain. But when they don’t, acupuncture is an option with a good track record that’s worth considering.
Over the years there has been substantial debate about whether acupuncture really works for chronic pain. Research from an international team of experts adds to the evidence that it does provide real relief from common forms of pain. The team pooled the results of 29 studies involving nearly 18,000 participants. Some had acupuncture, some had “sham” acupuncture, and some didn’t have acupuncture at all. Overall, acupuncture relieved pain by about 50%. The results were published in Archives of Internal Medicine.
The study isn’t the last word on the issue, but it is one of the best quality studies to date and has made an impression.
“I think the benefit of acupuncture is clear, and the complications and potential adverse effects of acupuncture are low compared with medication,” says Dr. Lucy Chen, a board-certified anesthesiologist, specialist in pain medicine, and practicing acupuncturist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.
Thank you Nashville, for 4 great years. When we opened in January of 2012, believed in the power of acupuncture, and hoped the community would, as well.
Each time someone calls us with the news that they’re pregnant after struggling with fertility; each time someone stands up straight for the first time after a treatment, when they struggled to get out of the waiting room chair; each time someone takes years off their face after completing the Mei Zen Cosmetic Acupuncture system – we share that victory with you. The added bonus is the positive side effects of acupuncture – when you tell us that not only is your digestion improved, but your sleeping better at night, too.
Thank you for trusting us in your wellness journey, and for sharing your positive results with friends, family, and on-line reviews. We look forward to many more years and victories to come.
Man, I wish this image existed when I first took biology – great work Aaron Kuehn! This image begs the question, how well do you know your body? If it’s telling you something feels off, are you listening? Call us at 615-939-2787 and we’ll help you get things back on track. Acupuncture, trigger point dry needling, massage therapy, and Traditional Chinese Medicine are available.
It’s customized to fit you and your needs.
Two people might come in with knee pain on the same day, but won’t receive a cookie cutter treatment. Factors such as lifestyle, digestion, the appearance of your tongue, your energy level, and the sound of your voice factor in to determining the treatment protocol specific to you and your needs.
In addition to acupuncture, we offer a variety of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treatments including cupping, gua sha, and Tui Na, as well as massage therapy. This allows you to get maximum benefit from one visit.
2) Even Needlephobes Become Loyal Converts
New client often ask if it will hurt, and many mention a fear of needles. The fine, sterile needles used in acupuncture are about a tenth the size of a hypodermic needle. You’ll feel them, sure, but most people describe feeling a pressure, and rarely even feel discomfort. In fact, we have several clients who feel so relaxed during treatments that they doze off. Michele Pfeiffer once said that the anticipation of turning 50 was much worse than the actual event. Many people, even those who don’t like needles, feel the same way and agree that getting past chronic pain, nausea, or illness worth 30 minutes with needles?
3) It’s non-invasive.
Unlike surgeries, acupuncture does not cause scar tissue. There’s no need for anesthesia, or even bandages. The risk of infection is minimal. Some clients experience a bit of soreness from the release of lactic acid after an acupuncture session, but it’s more like an intense workout than recovery post-surgery. In fact, many people are turning to us for cosmetic acupuncture to improve skin tone and decrease wrinkles as an alternative to plastic surgery and injections.
4) It treats the problem, not just the symptoms.
Consider infertility, for example. IVF and hormone therapies can be effective, but they are invasive and disruptive to life, not to mention expensive. They can help with conception, but they don’t necessarily treat the underlying challenges to conception. We consider the whole body, and look at the conditions within the male and female body that are making it hard to get pregnant. Stress levels, digestion, sleep quality, and more all affect reproductive health. Acupuncture, sometimes in conjunction with herbal remedies, can be highly effective in restoring the body to balance so it can conceive and foster a healthy pregnancy (at a fraction of the cost).
5) Its side effects are helpful, not harmful.
Numerous individuals come in for treatment of a specific condition, such as high blood pressure, and find that acupuncture sessions improve their stress level, sleep, overall mood, and digestion also. Medications for blood pressure, cholesterol, and more can get good results – for treating their target conditions. They also make the body work incredibly hard to process the foreign substance, and over time can cause damage to the liver and other vital organs, not to mention other side effects. One of the most common types of overdoses seen in hospitals is over the counter pain medicine.
6) It works.
Acupuncture has been around since before recorded history. That’s why it’s difficult to determine if it’s 2,500 years old, 4,000 years old, or more. Tens of billions of people have used it over the years. It isn’t as familiar in the US, because we only really started using it here in the 1970s. Acupuncture is one of the oldest forms of medicine in the world. Nothing gets that kind of staying power if it doesn’t work.
7) It’s your time and money – we respect that
Your health is your most important resource, and our job is helping you reach your wellness goals. You deserve to have someone focus their attention on you for long enough that you get all of your questions answered and receive the treatment that you require. We reserve at least 60 minutes for each session to make sure you get the time you need.
There are no silver bullets in life. Healing takes time. You and your health are our priority. We offer acupuncture, massage therapy, and various forms of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and will schedule enough time to make sure you get all of the treatments that you need.
8) It isn’t all in your head.
We get a lot of calls from people who say “I’ve tried everything else,” or “They say it’s XYZ, but I just don’t think so,” or even “I’ve had tons of tests and they’re all inconclusive, but I know something is wrong.” You know your body and when something is off, but the symptoms you have might not be readily diagnosed with Western medicine. This is not a criticism of Western medicine, which certainly has its place. Traditional Chinese Medicine can effectively treat syndromes and symptoms that aren’t clearly defined by Western standards.
9) It’s a great preventative treatment, too.
Every so often, a client calls and asks for a “general tune up”. The acupuncture treatments they received several months ago fixed their neck or back pain, but they generally feel out of sorts, or off-balance. Acupuncture is the practice of restoring balance in your body. It increases circulation, improves immunity, and much more.
10) It’s more affordable than you think.
We’re so used to having insurance cover our medical expenses that when we’re asked to pay for care out of pocket, it feels expensive. Minor surgeries cost at least $10,000, and major operations can easily be ten times that. A year’s worth of cholesterol or blood pressure medication can cost over $1,000 out of pocket, even if you have insurance. Many of those require other medications to counteract the side effects, too. Certain surgeries and medications can be avoided with lifestyle changes that include preventative care.
At Affinity Acupuncture, we charge $75 per treatment, which can often be paid for with an HSA or reimbursed by insurance. We also have packages and monthly membership programs available. Certain procedures, such as face lifts and Botox injections, are not covered by insurance. Our Cosmetic Acupuncture regimen is a fraction of the price without the side effects.
11) It’s More Than a Smokescreen
Acupuncture really only started to become popular in the US in the 1970s, and because it’s so new here, the practice has its fair share of critics. Chiropractic work and yoga went through the same thing. But roughly two billion people around the world currently use acupuncture as their primary form of medicine. Insurance companies are extending coverage to acupuncture in their range of covered services, and an increasing number of doctors and nurses are realizing the “pill for every ill” approach to medicine is outdated. We receive numerous referrals from physicians who realize healthcare can be improved by treating the whole person with a variety of modalities.