Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Neck News

Effects of Acupuncture on Neck Pain

Does acupuncture work to relieve neck pain? Canadian researchers reviewed the results of 10 studies on the effects of acupuncture for cervical (neck) pain patients.

Acupuncture is the insertion of tiny needles along pathways called meridians. Certain points are stimulated to alter pain messages to the brain. In each of these studies, acupuncture was used in one group of patients.

A second (control or comparison) group was treated with pretend acupuncture or some other form of real or mock treatment. Some patients were on a waiting list and did not get any treatment. All patients had chronic mechanical neck disorders. This included whiplash disorders, degenerative changes, and muscular pain.

Results were measured in terms of pain levels, activity level, and patient satisfaction. The authors report the following:
  • Acupuncture was better than some types of sham treatments
  • There was no difference between acupuncture and mobilization
  • Acupuncture was better than massage
  • Acupuncture was better than inactive treatment (sham laser or sham electrical
    stimulation)
  • Acupuncture gave better pain relief than waiting without treatment

    Many of the studies were considered low quality. Evidence presented here was labeled moderate. Moderate evidence was defined as studies with single, high quality random controlled trials or multiple, low quality trials. The benefits of acupuncture were short-term but significant.

    The authors suggest acupuncture is a relatively safe treatment. Patients should receive at least six (or more) acupuncture sessions. More study is needed before other recommendations can be made. The studies need to be large and consistently compare the same treatment procedures.


    Kien Trinh, MD, MSc, et al. Acupuncture for Neck Disorders. In Spine. January 15, 2007. Vol. 32. No. 2. Pp. 236-243.

    02/22/2007

    *Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
    All content provided by eORTHOPOD® is a registered trademark of Medical Multimedia Group, L.L.C.. Content is the sole property of Medical Multimedia Group, LLC and used herein by permission.
  • Our Specialties

    Where Does It Hurt?

    Our Locations

      Follow Us

    Follow us on Facebook Follow us on YouTube
    Follow us on Twitter