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Symptoms worse after treatment


Years ago I tried acupuncture for my migraines and it really helped. Recently I decided to give it another go as my headaches were getting harder to control and I’ve been trying to cope for the last 2 years with a torn S1 joint. I’m at my wits end with pain management as they’ve told me I need to just deal with it despite having no quality of life and with the new Dea guidelines no one will prescribe the meds that helped me function.

My first treatment seemed to help until I walked to my car and the pain start getting unbearable and the symptoms were worse the next morning (not my norm). I went ahead and proceeded with the 2nd. I let the practitioner know what happened so she did different points (head, hands & belly). On my way home I got hit with a particularly nasty migraine and had to pull over to take nausea meds. That was 4 days ago, and I’ve been bedridden since. I haven’t had an attack this bad in months.

Previously I always felt better. My practitioner has over 20 years experience and is doing the Japanese style.

Is my reaction normal? The practitioner said worsening of symptoms is usually immediate vs 5-15 minutes later.

I’m trying to decide if I should proceed as we’re aiming to get up to 5 sessions a week as I’m hoping to get off disability in January.


Is this the same acupuncturist who helped you “years ago”? Some flaring up is not required by any stretch, but it is not uncommon for the first treatment or two, particularly if your system is really in a flared up state. I do have some concerns when you say - “we’re aiming to get up to 5 sessions a week”. This is a huge red flag for me about your practitioner and makes me think you should see someone else. While there are differing opinions on this, you should never need treatment more than once or twice a week for chronic conditions. For what it’s worth, I never treat more than once a week and more often even less than that.

I’ve gone into this multiple times on the forum so I won’t again, but you have to give the treatments time to do their thing. Treating too often in my clinical opinion breaks this response and does more harm than good in most cases except some instances of really acute cases (just fell off a ladder, MVA, etc.).

While migraines are definitely treatable if not entirely resolvable, they are complicated and can have more ups and downs over the course of treatment than many other conditions do.


@Chad_Dupuis I really appreciate your response. The practitioner I saw previously was through Kaiser and they limited me to 8 or 10 sessions total (I can’t remember the exact number) and I I don’t remember going more than once or twice a week.

I thought she was just being aggressive with her treatments as we are trying to treat the hip& back pain from the torn S1 joint (primary) in addition to my migraines (secondary).

Also I’m trying to get back to work vs having to go on long term disability (we have a few weeks before I’ll need to start the process).

You’re absolutely correct about migraines being difficult to treat. I currently have 2 neurologist working together to get them under control. We’d gotten them down to the point where; I had them most days but the intensity and duration were down considerably (I was rarely bedridden anymore- I rode my bike went for strolls which flared S1). The headache I mentioned in my original post lasted over 3 days and was med resistant - which hasn’t happened in 2 months. I woke up with another nasty one this morning.

I also have dystonia which is what I think is tearing my joints and affects my migraines. MS has been suspected for a few years but my spinal fluid and brain MRI’s come back okay (one showed demyelination in the brain stem which was gone as of 3 weeks ago).

Long story short, I know I’m not an easy case.

Initially I thought she was being generous as she’s only charging me 2 of my copays a week.
Although I think you’re right that we’re being too aggressive.

We just started last week; we did 2 appointments (back to back); I cancelled the
I’m going to talk to her about spacing the treatments out as she works with my primary’s group. Otherwise I’ll try elsewhere.


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