What is the fastest way to relieve neck pain? 

This is a very important question! Especially if you are one of the 10% to 20% of people that report neck pain symptoms at any given time, or the even larger percentage of 20-70% of people who in their lifetime will experience neck pain to a level that interferes with daily activity such as work, school, and family life. 

So, what can you do to help alleviate your neck pain and get back to a level of quality of life and daily interaction with the things you love to do? 

Have you considered acupuncture? 

In this article, we will look at what neck pain is, what research there is for neck pai for acupuncture, how it works, how many sessions to expect, costs, FAQ, acupuncture points for neck pain, and so much more. 

Let’s get started . . . 

What is Neck Pain?

In most instances, neck pain occurs due to tense muscles. Perhaps you woke up after sleeping in an uncomfortable position, or you had to sit in a long meeting at work or at a computer. All of these may be a reason why neck pain occurs. 

On the other hand, neck pain can occur without a clear or known cause. 

No matter if you know the potential cause or not of your neck pain, it is uncomfortable, and achieving relief from neck pain in the quickest possible way is desirable. 

But before we get into how acupuncture for neck pain can be effective as a treatment option, let’s look at the types of neck pain: 

Now that we have an idea of what neck pain is let’s take a look at what the research says about acupuncture and neck pain. . . 

Does Acupuncture Help with Neck Pain? 

The short answer? Yes!  

The long answer? That’s what’s explored next. . . 

Does Acupuncture Work for Neck Pain? 

There has been research, studies, and clinical studies that have looked into the effectiveness of acupuncture for neck pain. What is known about the effectiveness of acupuncture for neck pain has evolved over time. 

For example, one review that looked at acupuncture for neck pain and its effectiveness using 27 studies concluded that ‘Individuals with chronic neck pain who received acupuncture reported better pain relief immediately after treatment and in the short term compared to those who received sham treatments. Individuals with chronic neck pain who received acupuncture reported better pain relief and improvement in disability in the short term than those who were on a wait‐list [and did not receive any type of acupuncture]. 

So how does acupuncture work for neck pain? Let’s find out. . 

How Acupuncture Works

How acupuncture works is not fully understood. In an acupuncture treatment, the acupuncturist inserts and manipulates fine needles at specific points or combinations of points on your body that relate to the energy flow in your body based on the traditional East Asian meridians and energy channels. 

This energy is also known as chi or qi. There is a relationship between these points and channels with your organs and health, and with the symptoms of disease and dysfunction you may experience, including pain, back pain, or neck pain.

How Many Sessions?

The most frequent question people ask is: how many sessions of acupuncture will I need for neck pain? 

Research studies and clinical trials suggest a different number of weekly sessions. For example, this one clinical trial suggests a total of 12 sessions over ten weeks. For the first two weeks, it is suggested to go twice weekly and then once per week for the next eight weeks. 

You may experience an improvement in the level of neck pain and your quality of life within less or more number of sessions. 

Talking to an acupuncturist about your neck pain and your overall health needs is a great way to gauge the number of sessions of acupuncture you may need when treating neck pain. 


Acupuncture costs vary by area and practitioner. With an average cost of $75 per treatment, you may expect to pay up to $300 a month for weekly acupuncture treatments. 

The number of acupuncture sessions you go to for neck pain, the frequency, and time interval between sessions can all play a role in the overall cost of acupuncture for neck pain. 

Utilizing community acupuncture may lessen the cost and improve your ability to experience acupuncture on a regular basis.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does acupuncture work for neck pain?

Yes, studies have shown that acupuncture can be effective in treating neck pain. 

Does Medicare cover neck pain?

No, Medicare doesn’t cover acupuncture for neck pain. The only condition Medicare will cover acupuncture for is chronic low back pain.

How often should I get acupuncture for neck pain?

It is advisable to discuss the frequency of your acupuncture treatments for neck pain with a professional acupuncturist in your area.

Acupuncture Points for Neck Pain 

Many people want to know: Where do acupuncture needles go for neck pain? It is important to remember that acupuncture treatment is often an individualized and personalized treatment based on your needs. 

The points selected by an acupuncturist to treat neck pain for one patient may be different than another. 

Through studies, though, different acupuncture points have been shown through research to be effective and helpful for neck pain. The fifteen most effective and researched acupuncture points for neck pain are: 

  1. Jianjing (GB-21)
  2. Jianzhongshu (SI-15)
  3. Wangu (GB-12)
  4. Fengchi (GB-20)
  5. Tianzhu (BL-10)
  6. Dazhui (DU-14)
  7. Dazhu (BL-11)
  8. Jianwaishu (SI-14)
  9. Tianliao (SJ-15)
  10. Jugu (LI-16)
  11. Tianzong (SI-11)
  12. Shousanli (LI-10)
  13. Lieque (LU-7)
  14. Zhongzhu (SJ-3)
  15. Houxi (SI-3)

Other Alternatives 

There are many complementary and alternative therapies that may help with neck pain, including:

Getting Started

Before getting started with acupuncture for neck pain, be sure to talk with your physician or medical professional about getting a proper medical diagnosis and what treatment recommendations are appropriate for your condition. 

Work with a professional acupuncturist in your area to determine how acupuncture may best help you and the frequency of treatment that’s right for you.


Acupuncture Relief for Chronic Neck Pain – Full Text View. (n.d.). Retrieved November 4, 2020, from https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/study/NCT03859011

Neck pain: Overview. (2019, February 14). Retrieved November 4, 2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK338120/ 

Sinnott, P. L., Dally, S. K., Trafton, J., Goulet, J. L., & Wagner, T. H. (2017). Trends in diagnosis of painful neck and back conditions, 2002 to 2011. Medicine, 96(20), e6691. https://doi.org/10.1097/MD.0000000000006691 

Sun, M., Geng, G., Chen, J., Ma, X., Yan, M., Liu, X., Du, J., Cai, D., Zheng, H., Zhao, L., & Liang, F. R. (2019). Acupuncture for chronic neck pain with sensitive points: study protocol for a multicentre randomised controlled trial. BMJ open, 9(7), e026904. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2018-026904 

Sun, M., Tao, S., Geng, G., Peng, J., Ma, X., Yan, M., Chen, J., Cai, D., Zheng, H., Yang, C., Zhao, L., & Liang, F. R. (2019). Identification of the optimal points for the acupuncture treatment of neck pain in China: protocol for a multicenter, matched, case-control study. BMJ open, 9(8), e029194. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2019-029194 

Trinh K, Graham N, Irnich D, Cameron ID, Forget M. Acupuncture for neck disorders. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2016, Issue 5. Art. No.: CD004870. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD004870.pub4  

U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Acupuncture. (n.d.). Retrieved October 20, 2020, from https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/acupuncture