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Referred Pain from Acupuncture


#1


I am deeply troubled by some acupuncture to my lower back that I received from an NHS physio a week ago. He said he was only using short needles in very safe points, but when he put the needle in to my lower back on the left side, immediately I began to feel a deep ache in my back right through to my hip and lower stomach area. He said that this meant it was working as the left side of my back is the worst. After 10 minutes he agreed to pull it out a bit, but this didn't help.

I have now been left with dull aching around the needle sight, but worse, aching and soreness all across my lower abdomen. I also generally have aches and pains intermittantly throughout my whole torso and feel generally achy and under the weather. He says he has never experienced anything like this before and doesn't seem to know what to suggest, neither does my GP.

Anti spasmodics for the stomach, anti inflamatories and hot compressess soothe, but don't seem to be able to reduce the discomfort much. I'm so scared this is going to be a permanent thing and he has touched and damaged a nerve somehow. I felt generally fine before I went into the surgery and now don't know what to do - can anyone help? I'd be so grateful for any advice. Would it be best to leave for a while or try and get some help from a registered acupuncturist at the earliest opportunity?


Intense pain behind knee after acupuncture [from PT]
#2

As I&#39ve written to you privately I will keep this quite brief. First, always have acupuncture from a fully licensed and trained acupuncturist and avoid acupuncture from any other medical professional unless they have also had significant Chinese Medicine training. There is far more involved with acupuncture than simply putting needles where it hurts - which can be problematic at worst and lead to lackluster or no results at best.


Second, we&#39ve answered similar questions many times on the forum. Generally the size of an acupuncture needle and it&#39s flexibility is not conducive to creating any type of internal damage. That is, properly administered there is next to no risk of any issues besides minor localized hematoma&#39s (puncture of small blood vessels which leads to bruising which clears after a few days and is insignificant overall). With improper technique and/or needle placement there is the possibility of local tissue irritation/damage and/or temporary nerve damage. Even in studies where a particular nerve was purposely pierced it was never shown to my knowledge to lead to any type of permanent damage.


With regards to you specifically you have lower back pain which can spread from the pain on the nerves (possibly arising from muscle tension and/or mild disc herniation). The needle then could have led to increased inflammation from soft tissue damage (which would heal in a few days to a few weeks) and possibly spread the sensation. That said, just getting up and off the table or any other move depending on what was going on could have aggravated your disc/muscles could have contributed to this as well - that is there may not be a one to one relationship. In short, pain is very commonly and generally somewhat easily treated with acupuncture so if you see a full trained acupuncturist you should do fine. The aggravation that is happening now should pass after a few days to a couple weeks, heat compresses and/or massage can help. For an acupuncturist I generally recommend seeing someone who also practices tuina (Chinese Medical Massage) or any type of western massage therapy and who also does cupping. You should be fine with someone that has those skills.


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