Alternative medicine

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Talk to your doctor if you're interested in trying alternative treatments for your neck pain. Your doctor can discuss the benefits and risks. Alternative treatments include:

  • Acupuncture. Acupuncture involves the insertion of thin needles into various points on your body. Studies have found that acupuncture may be helpful for many types of pain. But studies in neck pain have been mixed. For best results, you may need to undergo several acupuncture sessions. Acupuncture is generally considered safe when performed by a certified practitioner using sterile needles.
  • Chiropractic. Given mainly to the spine, a chiropractic adjustment applies a controlled, sudden force to a joint — moving it beyond its normal range of motion. Chiropractic treatments to the neck may slightly increase your risk of stroke.
  • Massage. During a massage, a trained practitioner manipulates the muscles in your neck with his or her hands. Little scientific evidence exists to support massage in people with neck pain, though it may provide relief when combined with your doctor's recommended treatments.
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). Electrodes placed on your skin near the painful areas deliver tiny electrical impulses that may relieve pain.
Sep. 11, 2012