Acupuncture for cervical disc herniation

Shoulder pain

A herniated cervical disc at C4-C5 can cause shoulder pain

Research has already confirmed that acupuncture can help back pain and a new study has demonstrated that acupuncture works better than medication for cervical disc herniation. Neck disc prolapse commonly occurs in the 30-50 year age group but does not always have a history of accident or trauma. One of the most common areas is the 5th and 6th vertebra which can cause numbness to the thumb side of the hand as well as weakness in the biceps muscle. Sometimes after a neck injury, shoulder pain may arise and can be incorrectly diagnosed as a shoulder sprain, when in fact it is a nerve impingement or herniated disc at level C4-C5.


There is no evidence that surgery for cervical disc herniation can help the nerve root heal more quickly.

Where are the acupuncture points  located for cervical disc herniation?

This latest research on acupuncture for cervical disc herniation  is interesting because the acupuncture points that were chosen were all  distal points. This means that the acupuncture points are well away from the neck. In fact, the points used in the research varied in location including an acupuncture point on top of the head, another in the wrist and another point in the upper back.

The acupuncture meridians run up and down the arms and legs and go to the torso and then connect with the internal organs. This is why an acupuncture point on the wrist may help with a neck problem.

Electro-acupuncture is used for cervical disc herniation

In this instance, electro-acupuncture was used on the patients partaking in the research. Other techniques used in traditional acupuncture such as moxibustion are also very useful. Moxibustion is a technique where a heated herbal stick, is held above the skin near the appropriate acupuncture points.

How does moxibustion help for cervical disc herniation?

The heat emitted from the herb artemesia vulgaris increases blood circulation and promotes regeneration of the area. This heating treatment can be applied to the vertebra area without any aggravation such as can occur with physiotherapy mobilization techniques.

As well as acupuncture helping for cervical disc herniation, acupuncture for lumbar disc herniation is also effective. 

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About Heiko Lade

Hi, I'm Heiko Lade - qualified acupuncturist at The Acupuncture Clinic in Hastings, New Zealand. If you would like to make an appointment for a consultation and treatment, please contact me.


  1. Hi! My husband has a c4-5 cervical disc herniation resulting to the compression of c5 nerve root & ipsilateral spinal cord, he doesn’t have pain except for the 1st 2 days, after that , his only concern is he cannot lift his right arm, accdg to western doctors, his bicep muscle is the one affected. We have been advised by numerous western doctors to undergo surgery though today after just 1session of cupping & acupuncture, he does feel a little improvement. Western doctors told us we have to do surgery right away or it’ll cause irreversible damage to his nerve. I want to get your opinion about this, do you think acupuncture & cupping can help his case? Or we should go ahead with the surgery. Thank you very much!

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