What is a pinched nerve?
Patients often seek acupuncture care for pain. One of the most common complaints is neck pain, of which there are many different causes. A pinched nerve in the neck may be caused by a small disc protrusion in the cervical spine sitting on or impinging a nerve as it exits the spine. The resulting pain can be excruciating.
Pinched nerve symptoms include:
- muscle spasms in neck & shoulder
- numbness in the neck
- radiating pain into the shoulder and arm
- loss of grip strength (if severe)
How acupuncture can help: Peeling the onion
In my clinic I work both regionally and locally. This means I loosen or relax the muscles in the neck & shoulder region using cupping and massage techniques. At the same time, I use acupuncture to improve blood flow and reduce inflammation. While these techniques do not cause a disc protrusion to recede, they will address the surrounding inflammation and may allow my patient to return to normal function.
Seeking medical advice
If you think you have a pinched nerve it may be important to see a physician before seeking acupuncture. This is especially true if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:
- Severe dizziness
- Severe, unremitting pain
- Loss of grip strength
- Atrophy or loss of muscle tone in your shoulder or arm
A Typical Treatment
Neck pain associated with a pinched nerve is often acute and as such will respond fairly quickly to treatment. Typically 2-4 acupuncture sessions will resolve much of the acute pain. Then the condition will continue to improve with time. Chronic neck pain will often require between 8-12 acupuncture sessions.