Acupuncture for a Pinched Nerve: Does it work?

Home » Acupuncture for a Pinched Nerve: Does it work?

Feeling the pinch of a pinched nerve? Don’t suffer in silence – consider acupuncture! This ancient Chinese technique has been used for thousands of years to alleviate pain and promote healing.

Could it be the effective treatment option you’ve been searching for?

Let’s discuss acupuncture for pinched nerves: the benefits, effectiveness, and when you shouldn’t use acupuncture.

Acupuncture Treatment for Pinched Nerves

Acupuncture is a technique that involves the insertion of thin needles into specific acupuncture points on the body. It works by stimulating the nervous system and promoting blood flow, which can ease pressure and pain around a pinched nerve.

By targeting specific acupuncture points associated with the nerve pathway affected by the pinched nerve, acupuncture can provide effective relief for pinched nerve symptoms.

How Acupuncture reduces Pinched Nerve Pain

Studies show that acupuncture reduces pain by releasing endorphins – hormones that act as natural painkillers. Acupuncture also increases blood flow to the affected area, which can reduce inflammation and speed up healing, helping to ease the bothered tissues around your pinched nerve.

Acupuncture for a Pinched Nerve in the Neck

Acupuncture for a pinched nerve in the neck works by inserting thin needles at specific points on the body (acupoints) to restore balance and promote natural healing. The goal is to reduce your inflammation and muscle tension, thereby alleviating nerve pinch issues.

Additionally, acupuncture can stimulate the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers, which can help you feel noticeably better in the process.

Consider trying acupuncture if conventional treatments, such as medications, physical therapy, or rest, have not provided adequate relief, or if you’re seeking a more holistic approach for your symptoms!

Always find a licensed and experienced acupuncturist to ensure the highest level of safety and effectiveness during treatment.

Benefits of Acupuncture for Pinched Nerves

The benefits of acupuncture for pinched nerves may include:

  • Improved circulation around the nerve
  • Reduced inflammation and swelling
  • Relief from pain by settling muscle spasm around the nerve

Acupuncture Points for Pinched Nerves

The best acupuncture points depend on the location of the pinched nerve. For pinched nerves in the low back, acupuncture points along the spinal cord, such as the BL23 and BL40 points, are commonly used.

For pinched nerves in the wrist or hand in the case of carpal tunnel syndrome, for example, acupuncture points on the forearm and hand, such as the LI11 and PC6 points, may be used.

Effectiveness of Acupuncture for Pinched Nerves

Research has shown benefits for pinched nerve symptoms, likely because acupuncture can immediately effect pain signals (analgesia). Therefore conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome and sciatic nerve pain may benefit.

Research suggests that acupuncture is generally safe and has few side effects, although evidence on this matter remains sparse. Nonetheless, the current body of research indicates promising results – namely, some studies have found that acupuncture may be more effective than medication in alleviating symptoms or reducing pain caused by acute lower back pain when compared to sham (fake) acupuncture treatments.

How long does it take?

It may take some time for acupuncture to help with a pinched nerve in the shoulder, depending on your degree of pain and nerve pressure.

In as little as 2 sessions you can expect some benefits for pain and range of motion, and many people continue care at a frequency of 2-3 visits a week until the issue is resolved. Nerves have the ability to regenerate and heal when pressure comes off them.

Side Effects of Acupuncture

Acupuncture is generally safe when performed by a licensed and experienced practitioner. However, it does carry some risks, including minor bleeding, bruising, and soreness at the site of the needles.

In extremely rare cases, more serious side effects such as infection, nerve damage, or punctured organs can occur. It is important to discuss any concerns about acupuncture with a healthcare provider.

When should I avoid acupuncture?

Acupuncture should not be used if:

  • you are pregnant
  • have a bleeding disorder
  • have an infection anywhere near your pinched nerve.

In addition, people with pacemakers should avoid acupuncture as it could interfere with the device’s functioning.

Simply discuss any concerns about these conditions with a healthcare provider before trying acupuncture.

Alternative Treatments for Pinched Nerves

In addition to acupuncture, several alternative treatments may be helpful for pinched nerves. These include Chiropractic care, massage therapy, physical therapy, trigger point therapy, and weight loss.

Chiropractic care aims to adjust misalignments in the spine to correct the underlying cause of your pinched nerve. Massage therapy can help relax the tense muscles associated with this.

Physical therapy and trigger point therapy can also be used to target specific points of tension or tightness that may be contributing to the pinched nerve. Weight loss may also help if you are carrying excess weight, as this can add extra pressure on your spine.


Pinched nerves can be a painful and frustrating condition that can interfere with daily life. Acupuncture is a safe and effective alternative treatment option that can provide relief from nerve pain.

Whether you choose acupuncture or an alternative treatment, relief from pinched nerve symptoms is possible.

What types of therapies have you found help a pinched nerve? Let us know below in the community chat – or ask a question for our team.

Home » Acupuncture for a Pinched Nerve: Does it work?

Author Bio

Dr Jason Whealing headshot

Dr. Jason Whealing is a Chiropractor with extensive experience across the UK and Australia. He is passionate about family care and injury management. The cases Jason works with daily include back pain, neck pain, jaw pain, sciatica, knee pain, shoulder pain, headaches and migraine.

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