Acupuncture for Shoulder Pain
Shoulder pain can stop you in your tracks. It can limit your mobility and range. This can lead to challenges when it comes to everyday tasks like changing your shirt or grabbing for a glass of water. Can acupuncture be helpful when this is your experience?
In this article, we are going to look at how acupuncture works for shoulder pain, its effectiveness, what points are often used, the number of sessions usually recommended, and what to expect when it comes to costs.
Acupuncture for Shoulder Pain
Shoulder pain can come on because you choose to pick up something heavy and working out. It can also come from one of the following three conditions:
- Rotator cuff disease
- Adhesive capsulitis
The time frame people may experience shoulder pain can range from a few days to 12 to 18 months. That is a long time to live with the discomfort of pain, and limited range and mobility. Acupuncture can be an effective treatment this has been documented as being true through multiple studies, case-studies, and reviews.
Acupuncture Points for Shoulder Pain
To understand what acupuncture points are often used for shoulder pain, you need to first understand something about TCM or Traditional Chinese Medicine. There are often two types of points selected for treating pain:
Points where their placement seem related to the area being treated — somewhere near your shoulder
- Points that are nowhere near your pain— your legs, chest, or back, or even on the opposite side of where your pain is.
Fan Hou Jue
This point is located on the back of the hand about a thumb width down from the webbing. A great way to activate this point is by pinching the flesh between the thumb and forefinger. The spot will often be sensitive, especially with patient who have shoulder pain. Massage the opposite side from the shoulder that is affected.
Ce San Li
About four fingers width below the knee cap and three fingers width to the outside of the shin bone, this point affects nervous and vascular tissues that have a connection to the shoulder. Again, the side opposite of the affected shoulder is massaged.
Located in the depression just behind the knuckles of the first two fingers, you may need to use your pinky to get in deeply and massage this point. This point is famous for stiff necks but is also a great point to treat shoulder pain.
Small Intestine 3
Shortened to SI-3, this point is located by making a fist and following the long palm crease to the end, just below the pinky. The small intestine meridian goes right through the shoulder and in Chinese medicine we often treat the one part of a meridian to affect another part. This point would be massaged on the same side as the affected shoulder.
Located at the top of the trapezius muscle about half way between the midpoint and the end of the shoulder, this is a “local” point. Local points will increase the flow of blood to the area helping the injury heal. Note that this point is contra indicated in pregnancy. It is helpful to have someone massage this point for you, just be cautious if there is an acute injury.
Point should be pressed or massaged for two to five minutes and the easiest way to tell if you are massaging the right spot it to move the affected shoulder and see if there is a noticeable difference in your level of discomfort. Follow the point stimulation with 20-30 minutes of heat daily and you will be “raising the roof” in no time.
How Does Acupuncture Work
Acupuncture helps relieve pain, reduce inflammation, release tight muscles, and increase range of motion for a variety of shoulder problems. Other modalities like electroacupuncture, cupping, gua sha, moxibustion, heat lamp therapy, and herbal liniments are often used in conjunction with acupuncture for shoulder pain.