How cold weather can be a real pain in the neck | Anna McMullen B.HSc CM

How cold weather can be a real pain in the neck

Neck pain is a common ailment seen in the clinic. It can be acute or chronic in nature, and can have a number of causes.

Today I’m going to discuss a cause of neck pain which I see a lot of in the clinic: cold. This is a cause you may not have thought of as being a contributing factor for your neck pain, a cause which responds well to treatment with acupuncture and most importantly it is one which can be minimised through some simple lifestyle adjustments.

If you have ever had treatments with an acupuncturist, they have probably mentioned the dangers of cold to you. We believe cold can have a negative impact on the body. It restricts flow in the body, causing your channels to contract and also blocks the movement of your Qi. We speak of the importance protecting against cold and keeping certain parts of the body warm.

This is particularly relevant for the neck. It is an area of the body which is often uncovered, and some of the channels which traverse the neck are the most superficial of the body. When cold gets in to these channels it can create stiffness and pain.

Here in Melbourne we are subject to changeable weather conditions. Abrupt changes in temperatures affect the channel system. Warm temperatures cause the channel system to open. Which then makes them more vulnerable to a sudden drop in temperature.

You can guard against the cold by rugging up with a nice, cosy scarf. This will protect your channels and help minimise cold related neck pain.

If you do notice your neck becomes tight and stiff after cold exposure you can warm the area up with some liniment such as Zheng Gu Shui (available at the clinic) or Tiger Balm, followed by a hot water bottle or heat pack.

Include warming herbs such as cinnamon and fresh ginger in your diet regularly. These can also help to strengthen your channel system against cold. If you are prone to neck pain and stiffness, acupuncture works wonderfully to dispel cold and relax the channel system. Acupuncture works well for acute flare ups, and can even be used as a maintenance therapy to help prevent recurrence.


Anna McMullen | Registered Chinese Medicine Practitioner 

Anna is available for consultation at the clinic Monday and Saturday

For enquiries p: 59736886 or visit

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