Monday, July 23, 2007

stiff neck?

Have you ever woken up with a stiff neck? You felt fine when you went to bed the night before, and you wake up and can't turn your head to one side. You're having a hard time pulling out of your driveway, because you can't turn to look over your shoulder. It hurts to brush your hair, and you're feeling generally quite miserable, not to mention cranky.

Have you been thinking for some time about trying acupuncture? If you haven't done so yet, this is the time! Did you know that acupuncture can help to drastically relieve a stiff neck and restore range of motion with just one visit?

There is a special point on your hand that your acupuncturist will needle, all the while having you gently turn your head and stretch your neck muscles. You will be surprised to find that, within minutes, you can turn your head much further than before the session started!

If you are unable to get to an acupuncturist, you can massage this point yourself while gently rotating your head left and right over your shoulders. The point is called Luo Zhen, which translates to "crink in the neck". You can locate it by forming a loose fist with your hand. Place the index finger of the opposite hand between the knuckles of the index and middle fingers, and then slide it about 1/2 an inch back, towards the wrist. Focus on the point on the same side as the affected area of your neck, but you can work the Luo Zhen point on both hands. When one side starts to get too sore, work the other side. Keep massaging the point and turning your neck, until you are able to rotate conisderably further. Then give it a rest and repeat later on.

If you can get to an acupuncturist, he or she will be able to stimulate the Luo Zhen point more strongly with the needle than you'd be able to do with pressure alone. He or she will also use additional needles - most likely in your neck and shoulder area - and maybe even do some
cupping in the affected area. Cupping helps to release the muscle spasm. Most patients describe the feeling as comparable to a deep tissue massage. It will leave some marks on your skin, and you may look like you've received a hug from a giant octopus, but you'll walk out feeling relaxed, relieved, and a lot less stiff than you walked in!