We spend approximately 10 hours a day on our computer, smartphone and tablet, that’s half of our waking hour! Unconsciously, when we are looking at our devices, our head and neck flex forward, it’s like hanging a 20 pound weight (your head weighs this much) from your neck for several hours. So you can imagine the immense pressure it places on the spine and how over time it may cause neck and shoulder muscle pain, strain and stiffness.
“A recent study looked at nearly 500 middle school students in Finland found 20% of middle school students who used mobile devices for two or more hours a day developed moderate to severe neck pain. An occasional look down is not likely going to cause a problem, but the study found that two or more hours a day certainly can lead to issues.”
What causes pain from a Chinese medicine perspective
Through the lens of Chinese medicine, we view the body, mind and spirit as an integrated whole. We don’t separate neck stiffness from upper back or even shoulder frozen pain as everything is interconnected. We look at pain as an imbalance or lack of circulation (stagnation) within the body.
There is a famous Chinese Medicine axiom that goes, “when there is lack of flow (circulation), pain will manifest.” You can look at it this way, when you are stuck in traffic for hours (stagnant Qi and blood) there is the lack of movement and free flow; your neck, shoulders and back may start to feel tense and achy and frustration may start to arise. When you are experiencing this kind of state on a daily basis with stress as the undercurrent of your life, imbalances in your body will manifest as pain.
Chinese medicine modalities like acupuncture, use needles at specific acupuncture points to unblock the stagnation; increase blood flow and cause your body to release a chemical called adenosine to decrease inflammation. Treating the imbalance not only addresses the symptoms of neck pain but can also treat the root cause and activate your body’s self-healing capabilities to bring you back into alignment. In some cases, after Chinese Medicine treatment when the neck pain decreases, digestion or sleep may improve as well.
Neck pain is commonly diagnosed in Chinese medicine (but not limited to) an imbalance or stagnation in the Gallbladder channel. The Gallbladder channel is like a highway where a line of acupuncture points (rest stops along the highway) on the body relate to the gallbladder organ. The Qi (vital energy) of the Gallbladder channel starts at the outer part of the eye and wraps around the side of the head, flows into the neck and shoulders, runs down along the side of the body, ending at the outer side of the fourth toe. This is why acupuncturist may needle a point on your ankle to treat your neck pain.
Imbalances or stagnation that cause neck pain can be from poor lifestyle habits like “text neck” (lowering your head-weighs 20 pounds- to text on your phone) external traumas like a car accident, emotions like anger from a heated argument, frustration from congested traffic, high stress from work and family obligations, or even climactic factors like barometric pressure changes or cold damp weather.
If you are at home, in the office or stuck in traffic try using acupressure massage on the acupuncture point GB20 (Feng Chi “Wind Pool”) for 1-3 minutes. Relax and take some deep belly breaths.
(Image source: https://exploreim.ucla.edu/self-care/acupressure-point-gb20/)
Treating neck pain with Electromagnetic Cupping
There is a natural and non-invasive solution to relieve your neck pain, it’s called electromagnetic cupping.
What is electromagnetic cupping?
A non-invasive approach that employs the therapeutic principles of Chinese Medicine and electromagnetic therapy to stimulate the body’s self healing abilities by improving blood and Qi (vital energy) circulation to regain homeostasis and restore function to relieve pain. The earth and the human body naturally produce electromagnetic fields. The body’s electrical and electromagnetic fields need to be in harmony and balance in order to maintain optimal health.
How does it work?
Traditional vacuum cupping that uses pulse-like electromagnetic vibrations at different frequencies and amplitudes to improve blood circulation and increase oxygen distribution around the body. Improving circulation enhances cell function and stimulate tissue repair which allows the body to optimize its self-healing abilities.
Each session takes 30-60 minutes, and many patients find the treatments relaxing and may even fall asleep. Chinese medicine works for acute injuries as well as chronic longstanding pain. Our Chinese medicine practitioners will use thorough questioning and examination to determine the underlying cause of your pain and treat both the symptoms and the root cause to help relieve your neck pain.
If you have been suffering from acute or chronic neck pain, give Chinese Medicine a try! Chinese Medicine is effective and safe treating you, as a whole: mind, body and spirit.
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Clinic Hours: Mon-Sat: 10AM-6PM
Address: 1400 S Wolf Rd. Bldg 200, Suite 203, Wheeling, IL 60090