Acupuncture Helps Two Moms with Neck and Shoulder Pain: Success Stories

Baby Carrying on the Front
Me and Baby Harry

One of the under discussed pains of parenthood is neck pain from baby carrying.  Continuing my series on acupuncture for neck and shoulder pain, I wanted to share a few success stories.

Today I will write about two young mothers with shoulder pain and how their individualized treatment helped them feel better.

Mother with Shoulder Pain from lifting a Stroller

New parents are prone to shoulder pain from lifting babies, diaper bags, and strollers, not to mention the stress associated with being a new parent.  This woman was in her mid thirties with two small children.  She developed nagging shoulder and neck pain, primarily on the right side, after her second child was born and has had it for about two years.  Although it kept getting worse, she was ignoring it until the pain became constant.  Her physician suggested she try acupuncture to stop the pain and prevent it from getting worse.

Overall, she was healthy, but experienced a lot of fatigued from not sleeping well.  She exercised regularly, ate healthy, tried to manage her stress with yoga class, exercising, and getting together with friends.  When I gave her an examination her neck and shoulders were very tight.  What was most telling was that her her pulse was fairly weak for a young healthy woman.

This showed that the root cause of the pain was too little energy, what we call qi deficiency.  When there is too little energy, a successful treatment must focus on boosting and circulating the energy.

I recommended coming for weekly visits for 2 months.  My acupuncture included the following acupuncture points: LI4, SJ 5, GB 20, GB 34, Liv 2, and Du 20. I also combined each acupuncture treatment with acupressure for neck and shoulder pain.

Results:
The patient began to feel some relief after the second visit.  After 4 visits the pain and stiffness was greatly reduced. And she reported feeling more energy and more relaxed.   After the full treatment course she felt almost no pain, even when lifting or playing with her children.   Following up after two months, she remained pain free, but decided to create a maintenance acupuncture schedule as a way to prevent the pain from returning and to help manage her stress.

Neck pain and Inhibited Motion

Acupuncture for Shoulder Pain
Acupuncture for Shoulder Pain

This patient developed shoulder pain after a few months after having her first child.  The pain was quite intense directly on the top of the shoulder and up the entire left side of the neck. She also had tightness and difficulty looking to right side and looking up.  It was very sensitive to touching and very tight.  Lifting anything would exacerbate the pain.  She had gone for other therapies but nothing helped.

Due to the tightness in the muscles, the intense pain, and the lack of motion in the neck, a stagnation was causing her problem.  The acupuncture treatment had to move the stagnation in the channels in order to help relieve the pain.

I recommended weekly acupuncture for two months.  The points included GB 20, GB 21, UB 15, UB 17,  UB 19 on the back and shoulders and GB 34 and KI 3 on the legs.   I also combined acupressure for the neck and shoulders to relieve the pain.

Results: To her surprise, she was feeling much relief after one visit.  The years of seeing therapists had convinced her nothing could help.  After 3 visits her range of motion returned to normal.  And after 7 visits she was almost completely pain free.

Six months  after the treatment some tightness and pain returned, especially after lifting or under stress.  She returned for another short treatment of 3 visits and the pain was relieved.

Moms aren’t the only people who get shoulder pain.  In my next post, I will discuss shoulder pain in a serious athlete.

Joseph Alban, L.Ac.
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