Neck And Shoulder Pain Specialist

Daniel Abels, L.Ac. -  - Acupuncturist

Brannan Street Acupuncture

Daniel Abels, L.Ac.

Acupuncturist & Alternative Medicine Practitioner located in SoMa, South Beach, San Francisco, CA

Neck and shoulder pain affects millions of people each year, significantly diminishing overall quality of life. As a top-rated acupuncturist in SoMa and throughout San Francisco, CA, Dan Abels is skilled in acupuncture techniques developed specifically for the treatment of neck pain and shoulder pain relieving symptoms while restoring flexibility.

Neck and Shoulder Pain Q & A

What causes neck pain?

Neck pain can be caused by many issues, including accident-related trauma, osteoarthritis, repetitive use injuries, overuse injuries, chronic and acute stress, and chronic pain conditions. Carrying heavy loads, especially unbalanced loads, sleeping on a non-supportive mattress, or sitting hunched over a desk all day long can also contribute to neck pain and strain as well as soft tissue injury and inflammation. Neck pain is often accompanied by stiffness and reduced range of motion.

How does an acupuncturist evaluate neck pain?

Before any treatment is initiated, your neck, shoulders and upper back will be carefully evaluated to determine the source of your symptoms. The area will be gently palpated and you may be asked to move in certain ways to determine how and when your symptoms occur. A comprehensive health history will also be taken, and you'll be asked about lifestyle factors that could be contributing to your symptoms. Once your evaluation is complete, a treatment plan will be mapped out based specifically on your symptoms.

How many treatments will I need?

Acupuncture works on a cumulative basis, which means that while some patients may achieve relief with a single session, more commonly several sessions are needed to achieve optimal results. The number of treatments you'll need will depend on many factors, including the cause of your symptoms and their severity. You can discuss the possible number of treatments during your initial visit.

Is acupuncture safe for treating neck pain?

Yes, acupuncture has been used for many centuries for the treatment of musculoskeletal and neurological symptoms, including neck pain and stiffness. A skilled and experienced acupuncturist knows where to place the needles for optimal relief of all sorts of symptoms, and the needles we use are sterile, single-use needles that are disposed of immediately following their use. 

Why does shoulder pain occur?

Shoulder pain can have lots of causes, including lifting and carrying heavy or unbalanced loads, repetitive stress injuries, overuse injuries and traumatic injuries. Even issues that affect your arms and upper back can take a toll on your shoulders. Chronic shoulder pain often develops over time as the soft tissues that help support the joint and promote healthy movement and range of motion become irritated and inflamed, resulting in pain and stiffness.

How will my shoulder pain be diagnosed?

Shoulder pain often can be diagnosed with a physical exam to gently palpate the area to look for signs of tenderness or swelling. Gentle range of motion exercises can also help identify the specific anatomical source of pain and other symptoms. Plus, you'll also be asked questions about when you first noticed your painful symptoms and whether the pain is sharp, dull, intermittent or persistent. Once the source of pain is determined, treatment will be focused on the meridians (or energy pathways) that are involved in those symptoms in order to help relieve them.

What kinds of shoulder conditions are treated with acupuncture?

Acupuncture is often used to treat:

  • bursitis, an inflammation of small sacs of fluid called bursa that help the joint move normally

  • frozen shoulder (also called adhesive capsulitis), a condition that develops when the soft tissues that surround the joint become stiff or scarred

  • shoulder impingement, a condition that occurs when inflammation causes the shoulder joint to become narrow, resulting in pain when the joint is moved

  • rotator cuff tendinitis, an inflammation of the tendons that work to stabilize the shoulder joint

Acupuncture can also be used to relieve general pain and stiffness in the joint to improve mobility, range of motion and strength.


Major Insurance Providers Accepted

If you don't see your insurance listed, don't worry! Please call our office as this list can change.


Anthem Blue Cross of California
Beech Street
Blue Cross Blue Shield
Blue Cross Blue Shield Federal Employee Program
Blue Shield of California
Coventry Health Care
GWH-Cigna (formerly Great West Healthcare)
Health Net
Multiplan PHCS
Multiplan, Inc.