Acupuncture For Splenius Capitis: How Can It Help?


Many of us spend our days slouched over at a desk looking at a computer or bent over our cell phones texting. Bad posture is a major contributor to splenius capitis pain, an extremely uncomfortable condition in which the splenius capitis muscles in the neck become strained and inflamed. If you’re struggling with serious neck pain, such that you can’t find relief whether you sit, stand, or lay down, then it’s time to take action. Acupuncture for splenius capitis is a non-invasive, highly effective treatment for this condition. But, how does it work?

When the muscles in your neck become tense and fatigued, acupuncture encourages them to relax. Because acupuncture addresses underlying musculoskeletal dysfunction, it also supports good posture, eliminating the most common cause of splenius capitis pain. 

What is splenius capitis and what causes it?

The splenius capitis is a dense, flat muscle located deep in the back of the neck. The muscle connects the base of the skull to the muscles in the upper back, allowing you to extend your neck and rotate your head.

Poor posture is the major contributing factor to splenius capitis syndrome. Maybe you tend to slouch. Or, maybe you have great posture during the waking hours, but you sleep in the wrong position, or on an unsupportive mattress.

Overuse can also contribute to splenius capitis muscle pain. Athletes and manual laborers often come into our clinic with this type of neck pain. Repetitive stress, and/or using your body incorrectly during exercise can place additional strain on your neck muscles. 

The splenius capitis can also become irritated due to a traumatic injury or poor recovery after surgery. If you were in a car accident or had a neck procedure done, this can make you more prone to splenius capitis pain. 

Regardless of the underlying cause of your splenius capitis syndrome, when this muscle becomes irritated, it leads to stiffness, soreness, and headaches. Splenius capitis is no everyday “pain in the neck”. It’s a deep-seated discomfort that can make it almost impossible to find relief. 

How can acupuncture alleviate splenius capitis pain?

Acupuncture is at the forefront when it comes to treating musculoskeletal issues holistically. We use hair-thin needles, placed in specific trigger points throughout your body, to target tense areas and encourage overstimulated muscles to relax. The results are almost immediate. 

As the needles are placed, they trigger the nervous system to release feel-good neurotransmitters, including endorphins and serotonin. Acupuncture helps you feel calm and relaxed, so your body can release all of that pent-up tension. But the benefits of acupuncture don’t stop there. 

When the needles are inserted, they create microscopic tears in the muscle fibers. These tiny injuries bring blood and oxygen to the surrounding tissues, where your body can put them to use and make necessary repairs. If your splenius capitis muscles are tense, inflamed, and fatigued, acupuncture soothes them and restores strength and flexibility. 

We also use acupuncture after surgery. If you’ve recently had neck surgery, or are scheduled to undergo a procedure soon, acupuncture can prevent scar tissue from developing and encourage proper healing, so you don’t struggle with splenius capitis pain further down the line. 

Can acupuncture prevent splenius capitis pain?

Acupuncture is a powerful treatment method. Not only can it help you overcome both acute and chronic splenius capitis pain, but it can even be used to prevent this type of pain from developing in the first place. 

We use acupuncture as a supportive measure for many of our clients. Acupuncture isn’t just the process of placing needles into muscles. It’s also the art of identifying which muscles aren’t working properly, and restoring normal muscle function, bringing the entire body back into balance so you can move synergistically.

Why is this important? Well, often, even though our pain manifests in one place, its root cause can stem from someplace else. Your neck pain may be due to misaligned hips, which contribute to a misaligned spine, and lead to muscle dysfunction throughout your back and neck. 

If we can get out in front of your musculoskeletal dysfunction, we can prevent conditions like splenius capitis syndrome from developing in the first place!

So, during your acupuncture session, we’ll work with you to figure out where exactly your splenius capitis pain is originating from. Addressing the underlying cause of your pain is crucial to eliminating it. Regular acupuncture sessions will keep your muscles loose and limber, so you can flex and relax normally, improving your range of motion and reducing your risk of neck pain.

What to expect during your acupuncture session

Because we’ll need to pinpoint where your splenius capitis pain is originating from, we may ask you to perform a few stretches. Sometimes, we ask clients to perform a strength test as well. So it’s important that you wear comfortable clothes to your appointment. Athletic wear is a good choice. 

We’ll determine the best places to insert acupuncture needles. These points can vary from one session to the next depending on what’s causing your splenius capitis pain as well as how your body’s needs change during the recovery process. 

Typically, acupuncture needles remain in place anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes. Sometimes, they may need to stay in place longer. In some cases, we may manipulate the needles to maximize their effects. After the needles are removed, you’ll likely feel an immediate sense of relief and calm. 

Some clients get special exercises to perform in the days following their session, but others are advised to rest. For acute splenius capitis pain, we may recommend bi-weekly sessions for 4 to 6 weeks. Chronic cases may require more vigorous treatments

Book your first appointment today

At Lycoming Orthopedic & Sports Acupuncture, we’re passionate about helping our clients achieve total body wellness. Acupuncture is just one of the many treatment strategies that we have to help you overcome your pain. Depending on your needs, dry needling, soft tissue mobilization, and electrostimulation may be beneficial, too!
Get in touch with our offices today to learn more, and to book an appointment. From your very first visit, we will work with you to create a wellness plan that allows you to overcome your splenius capitis pain and get back to doing all of the things you love!

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