Joseph E. Samuels, Doctor of Oriental Medicine

Neck and Shoulder Pain

Citrus Alternative Medicine

By: Joseph E. Samuels, D.O.M.

Doctor of Oriental Medicine



Neck and shoulder pain is a very common medical condition in today’s society and can occur for many different reasons.  As of 2016, it is estimated that over 10 million people a year in the United States will be treated for neck and shoulder pain caused by musculoskeletal and connective tissue injury alone.

Neck and shoulder pain falls into two different categories, an acute condition or a chronic condition.  An acute condition is characterized by rapid onset of pain, inflammation or possible bleeding, that last for less than 90 days.  A chronic condition is characterized by a slow onset that gets worse over time and is often irreversible.

A few examples of why people experience neck and shoulder pain are as follows:

  1. Muscle tears, spasms, cramps and overall tightness
  2. Ligament or tendon damage
  3. Bone fractures or deformities
  4. Vertebral disc herniation or erosion
  5. Nerve damage or impingement
  6. Reduced range of motion, swelling and inflammation
  7. Joint deterioration

Neck and shoulder conditions for the most part are treated very successfully through a wide variety of medical modalities.  As a Doctor of Oriental Medicine operating a family practice for the past 19 years, I see patients every day with neck and shoulder issues and have great success in treating them with acupuncture and traditional Chinese Medicine.  However, some patients do require surgery to correct their conditions.

Acupuncture needles are very fine in diameter, about the thickness of a hair.  They are inserted into specific locations on the body and left in place for approximately 30-45 minutes.

  1. Acupuncture relieves muscle spasms, cramps and overall muscle tightness
  2. Alleviates nerve impingement caused by muscle contraction
  3. Increases and restores range of motion
  4. Greatly aids in the quick recovery from surgery
  5. Most importantly acupuncture is very effective for relieving pain, even if there is structural damage to, or deterioration of, the neck or shoulder

Traditional Chinese medicinals are generally administered in two different ways:

  • Internally – injections, pills, liquid medicines, etc.
  • Externally – Plasters, soak compresses, liniments, etc.

Traditional Chinese medicinals are effective for:

  1. Chondroprotective function to protect joint destruction and cartilage erosion
  2. Osteogenic function to promote generation of new bone
  3. Anti-inflammatory effect to reduce inflammation and swelling
  4. Analgesic action to alleviate pain
  5. Muscle-relaxant effect to relieve muscle cramps and spasms
  6. Greatly aids in the quick recovery from surgery

I also address nutrition as well as lifestyle instruction.  As an example, neck and shoulder pain can be reduced by eating whole grains, dark green vegetables and nuts because they contain B complex vitamins and magnesium which are essential for nerve health. Adding calcium and potassium can also reduce pain, spasms and cramps.