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Acupuncture Residual Pain

I have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome / RSI in my arm and was recommended by a friend to consider acupuncture as treatment. I try to be open to anything so I went to his specialist. I told her to just place the needles in my arm, shoulder, and back, but she insisted on placing them in my leg and ankle to open up other "channels". I tensed up my right ankle for a second while the needles were in, and experienced sharp pain. When the needles were removed eventually the pain turned into a dull ache, which I was assured would subside in a few days. I has not gone away, however, and I feel a dull ache and tightness in the front of ankle (where all the tendons connecting my foot to my leg are), arch, and shin. This isn't debilitating, but I am afraid that if I exercise with this injury I could worsen it. It's been over 2 weeks since the acupuncture with no healing or subsiding of symptoms.
6 Responses
10389859 tn?1409921868
Was this person performing the acupuncture certified?  Did they explain the procedure prior to inserting the needles?  Sometimes needles are inserted in places where you do not have the pain, so even though you have pain in your wrist it may have been appropriate to insert them elsewhere.  Why did you tell her where to place the needles?

It is not uncommon when a person gets a "shot" to experience discomfort.  For example when a person gets a vaccine they may have pain at the site for several days, but not 2 weeks.  Acupuncture needles are not inserted as deep at needles used for vaccines or medication.  Perhaps some of this discomfort may be from anxiety about the situation.

Have you tried using heat to reduce the pain to your ankle?  Have you considered other forms of alternative treatment for pain like relaxation, meditation, massage, music therapy, pet therapy, etc.

If it continues to bother you, you should consider having a doctor or APRN evaluate it.  
Avatar universal
Thank you very much for your reply.

The woman performing the acupuncture was certified, holding a PhD in oriental and herbal medicine. She explained some of the procedure initially and showed me the needles, but I wish she had explained more thoroughly, especially regarding the risk of flexing while needles are inserted. I told her where my injury was and where it originated from (wrist / forearm / neck / back), but after I laid down she insisted on placing needles in my leg and face for the added benefit of acne relief. The only effect this acne relief has produced is the lingering pain in my ankle.

Initially I waited for it to go away, but since it's been this long, I've recently begun icing and massaging the area, which helps. I asked my orthopedist about it at the end of an RSI-related visit and he just advised me to give it a bit more time.

I posted here to see if anyone else had heard of or dealt with residual injury from flexing during acupuncture. Thank you for the insight and alternative treatment suggestions. Anything helps.
7721494 tn?1431627964
This doesn't sound like severe pain, but an annoyance.

I too would advise you to give it more time. I doubt if the flexing caused the pain -- she probably hit a nerve ending, and it is still angry.

Ice is an excellent analgesic. Alternating ice with warmth can also reduce pain.

Is it responsive to OTC meds like Tylenol or ibuprofen?

Keep working with the self massage, ice, heat packs, and it will calm down.
10389859 tn?1409921868
You're welcome.  As mentioned earlier, give it more time...nerves take time to heal.  Massage brings increased circulation to the area to improve healing.  The ice will reduce swelling, but if you find heat feels better then try this.  Relaxing while you are doing this treatment will also help relax the muscles and your body.

I have had acupuncture with the needles flexing with no problems.  With a little more time, I'm sure you will be fine.  But keep us informed if you continue to have problems. :-)
Avatar universal
I agree, an annoyance would be the better term at its current state. OTC pain meds do relieve it, but considering there is no significant inflammation, I opt to be in touch with my pain. Ice, warmth, and massage seem to be working. I'm also beginning to think you're right about the flexing being irrelevant to the situation, as signs are pointing to this being a minor nerve issue.

Thank you as well for your response. Both you and Foggy2 have provided me valuable peace of mind on the subject. CTS/RSI in my wrist and arm is my real battle, and I definitely didn't want another.
7721494 tn?1431627964
I had some experience with a white San Francisco acupunturist in the 1980s, and frankly, I'll never see a non-asian trained oriental medical doctor again because of negative outcomes, and pain -- as you experienced. This woman used to staple things in my ear cartilage. I also have come to understand that acupuncture is incomplete without complimentary treatment with the proper oriental herbs. I believe American trained acupuncturists to be well intentioned quacks.

However, my wife had good results with a Korean trained OMD, for a GI problem. He treated her with both acupuncture and herbs, which smelled like the devil!

When we have pain, we seek out all kinds of treatments -- I've had them all. These days, I stick with traditional medicine.

Best wishes to you.
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