Many people carry stress in their neck and shoulders, or experience moderate to severe upper back and neck tension from computer work, use of cell phones, carrying children, or poor posture. Neck and shoulder tension often responds well to integrative therapies. Different therapeutic modalities are like different languages that your body speaks – the key is to find the right language (or combination of languages) that your body will listen to. At Stepping Stone Acupuncture & Wellness, we offer many services that can benefit patients suffering from neck & shoulder tension, either as stand-alone therapies or in combination with one another. When it comes to hands-on medicine, we find that the whole is often greater than the sum of the parts.
Therapeutic Massage – which incorporates Swedish massage, myofascial release, deep tissue, and sports massage techniques – works to reduce muscle tension and pain, improve circulation, and increase range of motion. It can be highly effective at reducing chronic tension in the neck, shoulders, and upper back. Our massage therapists are highly skilled at pinpointing where your pain is actually coming from – for instance, overuse of the neck and shoulders often means weakness or inadequate use of other muscles of the torso or arms.
Acupuncture involves the insertion of single-use, sterile, solid needles into specific acupuncture points on the body to reduce tension and pain, overcome disease, and rebalance the body. Your acupuncturist will work with you to determine the underlying cause of your neck and shoulder pain from a Chinese Medicine perspective, and your treatments will be tailored to your presentation. Additional Chinese Medicine methods such as cupping and gua sha manual therapy may be included in acupuncture sessions, when appropriate. Acupuncture can reduce muscle tension, balance hormones, and change how the nervous system perceives and responds to pain and stress.
Cupping is a manual therapy technique from Chinese Medicine that uses special cups to create suction over some of the large muscle areas. Cupping helps to create space and movement in the layers of fascia, or connective tissue, that get stuck together over time. It also increases blood flow, reduces muscle tension, and draws toxins out of the tissues. We include cupping in acupuncture sessions when appropriate or offer stand-alone cupping sessions.
Craniosacral Therapy is a gentle hands-on manual therapy technique. The craniosacral system extends from the head (cranium) to the sacrum and includes the central nervous system. A craniosacral therapist can feel and rebalance the rhythm of cerebrospinal fluid flow, which covers your bones, joints, and sutures. Craniosacral Therapy seeks to reset the nervous system, which operates on high alert when you are in a state of pain. It is a gentle option for releasing tension stored in the head, neck, shoulders, and jaw, especially appropriate when deep tissue work on the neck and shoulders triggers more pain.
Integrative Physical Therapy
Integrative Physical Therapy is a unique approach to orthopedic physical therapy, specializing in the evaluation and treatment of neuromuscular dysfunction, issues, and injury. After a thorough evaluation, your physical therapist will come up with an individualized treatment plan that utilizes corrective exercise, manual therapy techniques, and a wide array of holistic modalities. Physical therapy can help identify the cause of your neck or back pain and teach you how to move better and smarter so as to reduce pain, increase mobility, and improve function, all while giving you a better understanding of why you are in pain now and how to prevent it in the future.
In addition to these services, we may also recommend topical herbal applications, diet and lifestyle modifications, and aromatherapy to further support you on your journey. We also have a large referral network and may refer out to other specialists as necessary.