Upper Body pain, tension, stiffness and restriction of movement is a  very common complaint treated in the clinic. Acute pain can bring your life to a standstill. Chronic pain debilitates, restricts quality of life and dampens one’s mood, temperament, enthusiasm and energy levels. Whilst pain killing medications can bring wondrous relief in severe situations, we should be cautious about becoming dependant upon them and seek other ways of addressing discomforts that persist.

By the time I see clients with such complaints, they have often already seen their GP and had some form of investigation(s)  to rule out any serious organic cause to their pain. Combining the best of both modern and traditional medicine provides great peace of mind.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, pain infers ‘stasis’. A stagnation could involve qi, blood, fluids, food, phlegm, cold or heat. When any of these  becomes stagnant, blocked, stuck, or obstructed, pain will eventually manifest.

The head, neck, TMJ, shoulder and elbow are common  locations of upper body chronic discomfort. This is very often experienced as pain, inflammation, stiffness, tightness and  acheing. Acupuncture, acupressure, cupping therapy, moxibustion, stretching and herbal remedies are useful for their effectiveness in dealing with this type of complaint.

(I have included links to some research  on these interventions; see below if you are interested).

Mental and Emotional Stress  affects the upper body. Many of us ‘carry the world on our shoulders’ and ‘shoulder our responsibilities’ (not to mention those of others!). Chronic, unresolved emotional energy will lock up the neck and shoulders, especially that of frustration and anger.

Physical Stressors also affect this upper zone. These include: habitual postures such as sitting at desks and computer work stations, participation in sport or hobbies, weekend domestic tasks and gardening, occupational demands, prolonged study periods and so on.

Yours truly recently experienced an acute case of tennis elbow. It was triggered by a lifting injury but subsequently, playing tennis made it flare up. As is common, it involved the neck, shoulder, elbow and forearm muscles. I used a combination of: rest (from tennis), acupuncture, moxa, massage and a specific rehab stretching device to get a positive result. The worst part was missing my weekly game!

If you are experiencing lingering upper body tension or pain, especially if it is exacerbated by stress, don’t let it persist. The longer a situation persists, the harder it may be to solve. Come on in and benefit from the relief that Chinese Medicine offers.
Yours in health,

Michael is available at Bardon Counselling & Natural Therapy Centre on: Monday, Tuesday morning, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday to attend to your needs.
Contact: Mobile: 0411 537 394  Centre: 07 – 3368 1300


Acupuncture for Chronic Pain: Individual Patient Data Meta-analysis JAMA
Arch Intern Med. 2012;172(19):1444-1453. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2012.3654

Randomised controlled trial of contralateral manual acupuncture for the relief of chronic shoulder pain.
Acupunct Med 2016;34:164-170 doi:10.1136/acupmed-2015-010947

Acupuncture and Moxibustion benefit Tennis Elbow
BMC Complement Altern Med. 2014 Apr 12;14(1):136). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24726029

Acupuncture eases TMJ pain:
J Dent. 2007 Mar;35(3):259-67)

Contralateral acupuncture helps with shoulder pain.
Acupunct Med. 2016 Jan 21. pii: acupmed-2015-010947.
doi: 10.1136/acupmed-2015-010947.

The Effectiveness of Cupping Therapy on Relieving Chronic Neck and Shoulder Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial.
Evid Based Complement Alternat Med.2016:7358918. Epub 2016 Mar 17.

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