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Pain with needling


I would like to understand more about the question of pain that can accompany needling. Generally speaking, I don't have much pain or discomfort. When I do, it is sharp but fades rapidly. However with my last treatment, I had considerable pain & discomfort all along my left side, which changed some during the treatment, but did not go away. The right side was fine. I've not had this experience before, and was hoping someone could shed some light on the question of what causes pain with needling in general, and more specifically, what a pattern of pain on one side might indicate.

Thank you for your consideration.


Generally speaking there should be no pain from the needling. There are, however, a variety of sensations that go along with acupuncture treatment, some of which may linger after the treatment for a day or so. It is difficult to distinguish these from pain you may have already had, incorrect treatment, or the sensations of energy in an area. The movement of energy, or "qi", can feel heavy, full, warm, etc. - but not necessarily painful. So what I can comment on is limited without full knowledge of your case and the treatment methods used.

The movement of energy and the engagement of normal body processes that happen during acupuncture can have a range of feelings and some patients are more sensitive to this than others. Certain needling methods and styles of acupuncture can also bring this out to varying degrees. Generally the sensations will not last long.

There is no clinical significance, per se, to having sensation all on one side without it matching up with other signs and symptoms. We look at things like a predominance of symptoms on one side - right sided migraine, bad right knee, etc. but as an exclusive symptom brought out by a single treatment, I wouldn't read too much into it unless it doesn't change or worsens.

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