Acupuncture and Myofascial Lines for the Neck, Back, and Shoulders

The Posterior Myofascial Arm Lines

Hand points for back pain

This image shows how points are numbered in the Tung system of acupuncture. It is useful to acupuncture research and helps to integrate neurological and myofascial responses to needling.

Acupuncture Renumbered in the Tung System

Translating Traditional Concepts into a Biomedical Understanding

NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES, September 30, 2021 / — Acupuncture has been shown to be effective for a variety of painful disorders, and various neurological mechanisms are well understood about how it treats pain. However, a neurological model does not explain all the benefits of acupuncture. Musculoskeletal and connective tissue responses are also involved and work on various levels through biomechanics, force transmission, and cellular protiens.

The rest of this article will examine how traditional methods of using non-local and distal points relate to the anatomy of the myofascial system.

Fascia surround muscles and converge as tendons to connect the muscles to the bones. Tendons are instrumental in movement and have both structural and functional roles in the musculoskeletal system. Anatomical studies have also shown that like nerves, myofascial lines converge in the regions of the hands, feet, neck, spine, and head. As tendons play an influential role in transmitting musculoskeletal forces, they are susceptible to stress, strain and injury. When tension is present in the areas of the neck and shoulders due to injury, poor alignment, inflammation, or spinal and neurological pathologies, that tension moves in routes that follow both nerve pathways and myofascial lines. By needling non-local acupuncture points in the limbs, muscular tension held in the neck can be relieved.

In traditional theories about acupuncture many of the meridians begin and terminate in the head, hands, and feet. Additionally, clinical practice reveals that many points around the hands, wrists, feet, and ankles are highly effective for neck, back, and shoulder pain. While some of this can be explained by neurological mechanisms, bio-mechanical processes are also involved and fill the gaps for biomedical explanations. Through muscle contraction and strain, forces are transmitted though connecting muscle groups that share synergistic and antagonist functions. From this perspective the traditional meridians can be equated to myofascial lines involved in biomechanics and movement. An anatomical basis for the meridians exists in the myofascial lines, and as muscles shorten and lengthen physical forces get transmitted which follow the meridian lines.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine points such as SI 3, LU 7, UB 60, and GB 39 are known to be effective for head, neck, and shoulder conditions. In each of these regions myofascial lines converge in the limbs, and also connect to the neck and back. In the Tung system of acupuncture many of the most effective points for treating the neck, back and shoulders are located in areas of dense connective tissues. Points in the achilles tendon, IT band, fibular head, and along the radius are all in areas where neuromuscular convergence occur in areas of high connective tissue density. By reviewing the traditional point functions in these areas we find that they correspond with the anatomical maps of the fascial lines.

For more information visit Acupuncture for Neck, Back, and Shoulder Pain

James Spears
Integrative Healing Society
email us here

Acupuncture for Neck Pain

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