Question:I'm thinking about trying some acupuncture for my chronic neck pain problem. Are there any reasons to shy away from this treatment?
Answer:Many studies report that acupuncture is safe and moderately effective. Research shows it's better than doing nothing and often better than pretend or sham treatment. Some other treatments such as neck mobilization works as well as acupuncture.
There are some possible side effects of acupuncture but these are rare and minimal. Increased pain, bruising, and dizziness are reported most often. Side effects are not life-threatening.
Studies suggest at least six or more acupuncture sessions give the best results. It's not clear if there are better results if the needles are inserted deeper or if one location is best.
Sometimes the needles are electrically stimulated or heated. Herbal extracts can also be injected into acupuncture points. Whether or not one of these methods has a better effect is also unknown.
It seems that treatments for neck pain are varied as are the results. Benefits are perceived by patients on a case by case basis. One treatment doesn't seem to work best for everyone. Each patient must find what works for him or her. Acupuncture is an acceptable choice and effective for some pain patients.Kien Trinh, MD, MSc, et al. Acupuncture for Neck Disorders. In Spine. January 15, 2007. Vol. 32. No. 2. Pp. 236-243.
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