Can Ear Acupuncture Help With Chronic Neck Pain?

Neck pain

We often joke about things being a pain in the neck, but for the millions of people who suffer from the condition, it’s far from funny. In fact, chronic cervical pain, or chronic neck pain, is a condition that can keep people from being as active as they would like, and can reduce their overall quality of life. A new study points to the idea that ear acupuncture may be a complementary option to help reduce pain.

In the December 2021 issue of the journal Medical Acupuncture, researchers share their findings from a study that involved 19 patients who suffer from chronic cervical pain [1]. The patients who participated in the study had been experiencing chronic neck pain for at least two years.

Auriculotherapy, or ear acupuncture, involves having the ear stimulated in specific areas with needles, seeds, and magnetic balls. Acupuncture is a form of ancient Chinese medicine that has gained attention in recent years in America as being an effective complementary treatment. Using various forms of acupuncture has been found to be helpful for many conditions, including chronic pain, weight loss, insomnia, and more.

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The patients in the study were each given auriculotheraphy treatment, which was performed at specific points on each patient. This was done once per week for a period of six weeks. The treatments included four ear points per session.  The patients were each evaluated before the treatments, as well as at the one- and four-month points following their final treatments. What they found was that the auriculotherapy successfully helped the patients to find relief from their chronic pain. 

For those who would like to try ear acupuncture to see if it will help reduce their chronic neck pain, it’s important to seek out an experienced and qualified acupuncturist. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health also reports that acupuncture can help manage pain conditions [2]. It reports that acupuncture can help such chronic pain conditions as low back pain, neck pain, and osteoarthritis, and knee pain. 

Additionally, the center reports that one’s beliefs about how effective acupuncture may or may not be, play a role in the treatment. Therefore, those who do decide to give auriculotherapy a try to help with chronic neck pain should do so with a positive attitude and believing that there’s a good chance it’s going to help bring some relief. Ear acupuncture offers one more tool for helping to reduce chronic pain.

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Sources:

  1. Medical Acupuncture. Auriculotheraphy for Chronic Cervical Pain. December 2021
  2. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Acupuncture: In Depth.

This article was originally published on Confronting Chronic Pain by Dr. Steven Richeimer, Director Pain Medicine Master and Certificate.

Posted: February 24, 2022
<a href="https://ostrowon.usc.edu/author/richeimer/" target="_self">Dr. Steven H. Richeimer</a>

Dr. Steven H. Richeimer

Steven Richeimer, M.D. is a renowned specialist on issues related to chronic pain. He is the chief of the Division of Pain Medicine at the University of Southern California. He has written or co-written a large number of scientific articles about pain medicine. He recently published an instructive book and guide for pain patients. Dr. Richeimer has given numerous lectures to medical and lay audiences throughout the U.S.

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