By Nicole Murray, L.Ac.

A lovely woman recently stopped into BCA. She lives right nearby and decided to come in to ask about how we would handle her neck pain. She asked a lot of questions and seemed willing to try a treatment here, but not without thoroughly checking us out. Her most pointed question was, “Where would you put the needles?” I told her that it would depend, just a little, on where her neck hurts, how deep the pain is, etc. But I said, “I won’t put the needles in your neck.”

And she smiled for the first time.

I briefly said that there are two basic approaches for treating pain. One is to needle where it hurts, and make a change right there in the local pain spot, enough to make it better. That’s not usually what we do here, I said, in part because we can’t get to every painful spot when people are in recliners. But also because our approach works! We needle into points away from the painful area, often in the arms or legs. There are many ways to apply the system, and different acupuncturists will do different things.

She didn’t care about any of that. She was sold when I told her that acupuncture can effectively treat neck pain without ever putting a needle in her neck.

She had already given that a try. Her insurance covered a course of six acupuncture treatments. Each time, her practitioner put the needles right where it hurt. And then her neck hurt even more. And, she said, “I forced myself to go to every treatment, thinking eventually, it has to get better.” It never did. This is NOT to say that acupuncture treatments for pain are not effective when the needles go into the painful areas. They are simply not effective for everyone, every time. That’s the beauty of acupuncture, thousands of years old, with so many systems and applications!

Of course, acupuncture is not magic.

And it can take some time to resolve a long-standing condition. But people with pain should get some relief pretty quickly (this does vary from person to person depending on the root cause and on how long they have been suffering).

There is a patient who comes in several times a week, a young woman with a series of problems. She had a pretty severe low back injury about a year back, and nothing has helped.

She receives treatment in a recliner, so there would be no way to put needles near the painful site…even if I wanted to. Mostly, the needles go in her hands. When she started coming in a few weeks back, she rated her pain as an “8” on a scale of 0-10. Yesterday, as I pulled out her needles, I asked her how she felt. She said that halfway through the treatment, the pain disappeared completely.

These are just a few examples… we have many more!

What we do here is called meridian therapy, where we use distal points along the meridians of the body. If you suffer from back, neck, or shoulder pain, we can treat you! We have done thousands of these treatments, with great results.