Perhaps the second most common condition that we saw in the clinic was neck and shoulder pain, often with pain radiating down the arm into the hand and fingers. The most important part of our treatment for this condition over the past 30 years has been ‘no needle’ electroacupuncture, which often proves to be the answer even in patients with longstanding pain. You can experience the same benefits with our at home treatment.
Our treatment taps into the body's own healing mechanisms and pathways. By careful selection of points and areas on the body we can stimulate anti-inflammatory pathways, boost pain-relieving substances such as endorphins and produce changes in other chemical signalling systems such as dopamine pathways. These changes lead to fundamental and lasting change and remodelling in the brain itself resulting in long term improvement.
Just as with back pain, it is often more helpful to think in terms of pain patterns rather than changes on Xray or MRI scan. Several studies have shown that there is no clear relationship between pain in the neck and whether or not there are changes on scans. One review stated that “definitive conclusions cannot be drawn on the presence of MRI findings in individuals with WAD (whiplash associated disorder) or NSNP (non-specific neck pain) compared with pain‐free controls.” (1)
So if we recognise that changes on scans and Xrays are not a firm diagnosis, and could be positively misleading, we could be more successful in treating patients by thinking about the pattern of pain (where it starts, where it radiates to, how it comes and goes) rather than any structural changes demonstrated by imaging.
Probably most musculoskeletal pain actually arises from muscle, usually ‘myofascial trigger points’, and with this in mind there are many possibilities for treatment, relief of pain and perhaps long term resolution of the problem.
(1) Farell SF et al., Cervical spine findings on MRI in people with neck pain compared with pain-free controls: A systematic review and meta-analysis: MRI Findings in Whiplash and Neck Pain. Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging 49(6) January 2019 DOI: 10.1002/jmri.26567