Effective treatment of neck and shoulder pain via thread-embedding acupuncture therapy, a traditional medicine method

Mr. T.N. Lam (34 years old, HCMC) suffered from neck and shoulder pain for many years, despite trying many different treatments. His pain usually started in the nape of the neck, followed by a numbness which spreads across his shoulder and down his spine. “In the past, I have tried treatment at many different reputable healthcare centres—physiotherapy, stretching the spine with a machine, manipulating joints by hand, taking medication…” says Mr Lam.

Initially, he says, all treatments provided quick and effective relief from Mr Lam’s acute pain, but did not offer long-term results. When Mr Lam drove or sat at work for extended periods, his neck pain returned, forcing him to seek regular, incredibly time-consuming and expensive treatments. After a while, Mr Lam noticed no further improvement in his condition, and so continued to search for more appropriate diagnosis and treatment.

When Mr Lam visited the Department of Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation at FV Hospital, the doctor explained that he was experiencing muscle stiffness due to poor posture and lack of movement, in turn causing poor blood circulation which led to fatigue and shoulder pain. Because Mr Lam had a history of Western Medicine treatment without attaining his desired results, his doctor referred him to Dr Diec Kha Han, Head of FV’s Department of Traditional Medicine. Dr Han reviewed Mr Lam’s medical history and suggested to try implanting threads as a treatment approach. Thread-embedding acupuncture therapy is a technique which combines traditional medicine and modern medical equipment. This technique embeds needles which place medical sutures into acupoints under the skin. Over time, the thread dissolves producing a lasting, continuous stimulation.

A course of treatment of cervical spondylosis thread-implementation acupuncture for shoulder and neck pain usually includes eight sessions, one completed every week or two weeks. During each session, five to 10 needles are embedded at various acupoints. The procedure takes around 15 minutes to perform with an additional 30 minutes of infrared light. The purpose of infrared light is to use heat to accelerate the effects of a thread implant or acupuncture.

“The course of treatment is always adjusted according to the condition of the patient. However, most neck and shoulder pain cases are acute due to common causes such as sitting in the wrong position or for a long time in air-conditioned rooms. Poor posture and lack of movement lead to muscle stiffness and poor blood circulation. Because of this, patients often have pain relief or are fully treated before the end of a course” says Dr Han. Because each treatment session is relatively brief and sessions are spaced by up to two weeks, this method is often suitable for busy patients. If, after a course of treatment (eight sessions), results do not meet the patient’s expectations, doctors will have additional indications and may suggest further treatment combining other methods.

In Mr Lam’s case, after the third treatment session, his course was deemed complete because the pain in his shoulder and neck had gone. Three months since finishing treatment, Mr Lam is still pain-free. “Unlike typical acupuncture, results from the thread-implantation method usually last from one to six months, depending on the type of implant used,” explains Dr Han.

This method is fast, simple and painless, and after a session, I was able to return to my normal activities immediately. The FV environment is clean and very modern, and my doctor explained the method very carefully, so I feel very pleased with my experience and results,” says Mr Lam, happily.

Dr Diec Kha Han advises patients who are suffering from shoulder and neck pain and those in high-risk groups, such as office workers, athletes, people who carry heavy loads or are over 50 years old, to pay attention to their posture as they go about their daily routine, such as when driving a vehicle, carrying furniture, and sitting and working with a computer. If you feel prolonged pain in the shoulder and neck, you should visit a specialist for treatment.

Implants are effective for conditions such as lumbar pain, shoulder pain, insomnia, vestibular disorders, primary facial paralysis, sinusitis, allergic rhinitis and obesity. If the procedure is performed at a reputable clinic or hospital, patients will be carefully examined and consulted before treatment. Doctors will help to minimise side effects.

The Faculty of Traditional Medicine at FV Hospital combines the experience of traditional and modern medicine. Doctors draw on centuries of knowledge while utilising the latest generation of multi-speciality machines and specialised instruments to ensure the best possible outcomes for patients. Procedures are carried out in a private, carefully appointed room with complete attention to infection control safety.