Have you considered acupuncture or Alexander technique for neck pain?

If you are not getting a benefit from your traditional therapy, if you do not want to keep taking medication or if you want a more self-help physical therapy that will involve long-term changes, then acupuncture and Alexander technique would be good options.

A recent trial of 517 patients showed that these two alternative therapies, acupuncture and the Alexander technique, appear better for the long-term relief of chronic neck pain.computer-neck-3-copy

For the study, the researchers (including Hugh MacPherson, Clinic Director of the York Clinic) randomly assigned more 517 patients from the United Kingdom who had chronic neck pain to one of three treatment groups. One group received usual care for neck pain that may have included medication or traditional physical therapy. The other two groups received either 12 acupuncture sessions or 20 Alexander lessons. Each treatment group received 600 minutes of the intervention.

The report, which was published on the 3rd November 2015 in the Annals of Internal Medicine, concluded that acupuncture sessions and Alexander technique lessons both led to significant reductions in neck pain and associated disability compared with usual care at 12 months, and both were linked to better pain relief than either painkillers or physical therapy as scored on a pain questionnaire. Neither of the alternative treatments appeared to offer a significant benefit over the other, and neither alternative treatment was linked to any serious adverse side effects.

Professor Hugh MacPherson, of the Department of Health Sciences at the University of York said:

“In general, it is difficult to find long-term treatments that have a positive effect on chronic neck pain. But, both acupuncture and the Alexander technique lessons did.  The patient could make changes in coping that didn’t involve medication and they were able to apply what they learned in a way that made a difference.”

During acupuncture, patients have thin needles inserted into specific points on the body to relieve pain. The Alexander technique is an educational process that teaches people how to avoid unnecessary muscular and mental tension to help restore natural balance. This may help reduce pain during everyday activities.

SOURCE: Annals of Internal Medicine (see publication).

To book an appointment with an acupuncturist or our Alexander  technique therapist at York Clinic, phone 01904 709688 between 9am and 6pm on weekdays, or between 9am and 2pm on Saturdays.  Alternatively, email us at email@yorkclinic.com, or use our contact form.  We will respond to you as quickly as possible.