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Acupuncture Nerve damage


Oh please help-
All information/ experiences are helpful-
This is my story-

Essentially I was seeing an acupuncturist for a few old injuries, carpal tunnel and an old knee injury. I also had what i thought was a recent hamstring pull-
I told the Dr. about the Hamstring and he worked on that… after the 3rd session I came home and could not walk the next morning.
That was in the end of April. I am pretty much in constant pain that is all over my left leg. Sometimes my hamstring burns, feels like ripping/tarring. For about 2 weeks I had weird prickly feeling in the left bottom side of my foot, and back left side of my thigh. Then the left side bottom of my foot gets prickly and tight. I get a ruthless surge pain deep in my thigh if i sneeze, cough, gag. I brace my leg to get through them. Sometimes I have crazy tightness in the liniment (?) on the outer left side of the back of my leg that comes and goes like all the other pain.
I get very little relief getting off my leg laying, sitting, fully extending all hurt, and cause discomfort.

I went to the emergency room they were the worst. Said it’s not my sciatic nerve. That I just have a strain. BS.

I am able to walk with out aid most of the time, but not very far, and I’m limpy and in pain.
The tingling in my thigh and foot are less but they still don’t feel completely normal (heat makes them tingle.) I can’t stand for long, waiting in line- going to certain events is just not going anytime soon.

Please any sort of advice on relief aides, comfort techniques, exercises (I can bend over now, not completely and my knee’s bent, it used to be my favorite lease strength.) Dr’s web sites, patient groups-
I need help! I had to quit my job because J could stand, my insurance is in the process of switching over. I’m at a loss and feel like I’ll never get my health back!!!
Thank you for your time


As I always begin with these types of questions, first I must clarify if you were seeing a fully trained and licensed acupuncturist - or a MD, physiotherapist, PT or some other medical professional doing “acupuncture”. The distinction is very important overall. Some countries don’t have proper training/licensing so it is more difficult to tell…

I ask because generally properly done acupuncture is treating your issues on a broad systemic level first and foremost and only then, if at all, doing techniques which would be prescribed by your symptoms (i.e. “he worked on my hamstring”). There are what we call local treatments, but generally needling directly into an area of injury is not very common with fully trained acupuncturists - and more common with people who believe they are doing “acupuncture”.

Now all that said, again from an acupuncturist, it is very unlikely (not impossible), but extremely unlikely to create nerve damage - the needles we use are not inserted into nerves for one and are not thick enough to enter much of anything - this compared to some of the broader gauge needles often used, for example, in dry needling.

So long story short, properly done acupuncture by a fully trained professional is clinically and statistically extremely unlikely to cause damage to any area, particularly an area as dense as your hamstring (but I have no idea where the needles were or what the approach was).

As for the emergency room, did they actually run an MRI on your back and leg?

If not, there is no way they can ethically tell you anything diagnostically. You are not saying how long this has been happening, but if it is longer than 12 weeks you should have an MRI of your back and your leg. An x-ray won’t show anything of value for your situation.

That said, from what you are describing it probably isn’t your sciatic nerve and it is a hamstring tear which can be quite painful, can last quite awhile (generally take 10-16 weeks to heal, or longer).

Clinically we see these types of issues all the time and they resolve more quickly with properly applied acupuncture, often coupled with Chinese herbal medicine (internal and/or external), tuina (Chinese medical massage) and associated techniques such as cupping (all things a fully trained Chinese Medicine doctor would know and do).

So long story short you very unlikely have any type of nerve damage, you very likely have a tear or a really bad strain and it will likely get better on its own within 3-5 months, possibly feeling somewhat tender but functionally fine up until 8-12 months. Again if this has been more than 12 weeks you should get an MRI is possible - or at least see a sports orthopedic and get an ultrasound of the area where most of the pain is being experienced. Muscle tears/strains can be very difficult to heal particularly in the stronger/denser muscle bodies such as the hamstrings.

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