I had a nerve pinch at L3/4, 4/5 . I was unable to have surgery so I sought out acupuncture for relief of the numbness I had in my balls of my feet. My 1st appointment went well and used heat on the needles. No problems. 2nd appt just needles no problems. 3rd appt needles (and the other appts )used needles at neck, mid back, thighs, calves and balls of feet. I left the appt. and felt well. I awoke about 2am the next day with my feet tingeling severly and my toes feeling swollen or numb like they had thin sleves over each toe. I told the practicioner b/4 the next appt. 4th appt I had needles in same places except not in the feet also electric stimulation. 5th appt. I reported the numb toes and was told Neuropathy was difficult to treat and he couldn't help me further. That was in June of 2013. Dec. of 2013 I had back surgery to releave the nerve pinch in my back. My ball of feet problem is still here as is the numb toes. My question is Did the acupuncture cause permenent nerve damage causing my toes to go numb? How could the numb toes be a coincedence?
So the reality of your situation is that you had an unstable enough back problem that ultimately required surgery. With your back in the condition that it was any event (walking, twisting, sleeping, massage, acupuncture, standing, sitting, etc.) could have pushed that disc more out of line and created more nerve compression - that is what ultimately drives people to surgery. Neuropathy is a common part of serious low back problems both pre and post surgery. We treat many many patients that have had surgery and still have neuropathy.
Acupuncture properly done by a licensed acupuncturist (not a chiro, md, pt, etc.) is extremely unlikely to cause any type of nerve damage. Statistically speaking compared to the liklihood that your back simply worsened or the disc moved into a position that more serious compressed the nerve vs. acupuncture "caused" it - is about a million to one favoring a natural progression of your back.
Now, it's hard to say much without knowing your entire case, seeing an MRI before and after surgery, knowing the practitioner, etc. But there is one thing that concerns me - if your practitioner said "Neuropathy was difficult to treat and he couldn't help me further" - I would find another practitioner. While neuropathy can be difficult to treat, in all honesty properly practiced acupuncture is one of the very few things that has a track record of treating it. We have any number of cases of people with neuropathy from numerous causes that do extremely well - most of whom tried everything under the sun before they get here.
And it might seem like I'm off putting your suggestion that your problem was caused by acupuncture. If you read many of my responses to similar posts on our forums, I'm not easy on the practitioners side. Your case, however, seems like your back simply worsened and it obviously caused some serious nerve damage. The possiblity that acupuncture "caused" nerve damage is extremely unlikely. About that only thing I could concede to in your case is that perhaps the muscular tension was loosened too much in the area that let the unstable part move into an undesirable state - but, again, walking, turning in bed, getting up and down, whatever, could have done this as well. And while it may seem tied to the acupuncture treatment time wise, it would be an extremely unlikely contributor.
I'll give you an example case of mine as a reverse example. I had a patient that put off properly dealing with his back pain for years, then one day he lifted a light box. This was just enough to have the disc collapse and nearly severed the nerve giving him foot drop. He had surgery and 9 months later he started seeing me because he still couldn't properly feel his foot. 3 months later he was fine.
I mention this story for two reasons - one to illustrate how likely it is that your back itself is the cause and, two, that you should probably have acupuncture from a different practitioner to greatly increase your chances of not living with this for years or more. These types of issues are very commonly treated. And, again, make certain you are seeing a fully licensed acupuncturist - not someone else doing "acupuncture". Ideally this practitioner will also practice tuina (chinese medical massage) and do cupping as well which likely would have been far more helpful than switching modalities and points so much during the few treatments that you had.
Thank you so much for your prompt answer to my questions. I will try to find someone in the 53081 area code or near by that may fill the bill as a licensed acupuncturist. I have been 10 mo. since surgery and had the neuropathy symptoms for 2 years and even longer in the balls of my feet (2009). My back Dr. did sugest massage and or accupuncture and stated it could take up to 2 years to get better. The massage didn't seem to help. I have just returned from Mayo Clinic and they also said a wait of 2 years could be in order and my symptoms may never get better. Mayo perscribed a topical cream of Amitraplene, ketamine, and Lidocaine. After 2 days the cream hasn't helped much.
do you thinl I should let an acupuncturist "go deep" with the needles or should I tell them not to GO DEEP if they bring it up. Is electric stimulation and heat applied to the needles a better way to go than just inserting the needles and manipulating them?
When there is trauma - as in pain, surgery, fear - it can affect the natural polarity in the affected area, or even some distance away, usually in a meridian that travels through that area of the body. But the "frozen" polarity can also be in a muscle, or other body part. The correction is simple. It's easier if there is someone that can use kinesiology with you to test if in fact you have a "locked" or "frozen" polarity, and where that is located. It can affect contiguous areas. The correction is to spin a magnet (low gauss) over the frozen areas, to flip a hand over the area from palm to back of hand, several times (or until kinesiology shows the polarity has successfully been addressed. A third correction is to shine a flashlight or a low lazer on the area. And the fourth method is to bring all the fingers together and hold them about an inch over the area you are treating.Then rotate the hand back and forth as if you were turning a key in a lock. That should alleviate the pain. You might have to repeat the process several times. If the pain and/or numbness is alleviated and then returns, you will know it is time to repeat the process.
Common areas following trauma, including surgery, are the heel of the foot - some place that is painful in plantar fascitis. There are additional places on the feet, legs and back. .