Pain After Acupuncture Treatment

The most common side effects of acupuncture are things everybody desires: better sleep, more energy, mental clarity, better food digestion and less stress. One or several of these side effects happen consistently for lots of, many acupuncture goers.

Pain After Acupuncture Treatment

Following the publication of an article on the most common side effects of acupuncture, AcuTake got several inquires from readers about certain undesirable side effects of acupuncture and whether they too were common.

And certainly, there are other, less-pleasant side effects of acupuncture. These extra side effects are much rarer than the most typical side effects of acupuncture, but they can and do occasionally happen.

None are dangerous, and all normally are short lived. Still, they are good to be knowledgeable about so that if you do experience them, you understand they’re normal and absolutely nothing to be too worried about.

Infrequent But Possible Side Effects of Acupuncture

In my experience, the following seven side effects can take place after acupuncture.

Worse symptoms

While most people discover a significant enhancement in their symptoms following acupuncture, some feel worse before they start feeling better. In alternative medicine circles, this is often referred to as a recovery crisis. The idea is that as your body begins undergoing the modifications involved in approaching health, things get stirred up. This can cause not just an exacerbation of existing symptoms but also the recurrence of previous disorders that had been inactive.

Acupuncture awakens your self-healing capabilities. With that can come an onslaught of bodily awareness. This typically is a favorable experience but it also can indicate heightened sensitivity or intolerance for things that formerly felt normal. An example of this is somebody who unconsciously adapts to stress by tightening and hunching up his shoulders. After an acupuncture treatment, once this individual’s bodily felt sense has been woken up, his mild upper back and neck tension might start screaming.

The bright side about this side effect is that it’s a sign that things are moving. When it comes to acupuncture, this means that the primary objective is being met. That is, you are starting to transition on several levels from adhered to unstuck.


Individuals can feel erased after acupuncture. A more common result is increased energy, but sometimes the “acu land” impact hangs on a bit longer. This is your body informing you that it’s depleted. Feeling fatigued after acupuncture is not cause for concern, however it is a warning sign that you have to rest.

If you have this experience, relax for the rest of the day. Take a bath that night. Go to sleep early. Come morning, the mix of acupuncture and rest will leave you feeling born again.


Body parts where acupuncture needles get placed can feel sore after needles are eliminated. I’ve found that this most frequently accompanies points in the hands and feet, specifically Large Intestine 4, an acupuncture point situated between the thumb and forefinger. You also may experience muscle soreness away from the needling site if a trigger or ashi point was launched during your treatment.

Discomfort from acupuncture normally dissipates within 24 hours. However, huge trigger point releases can cause residual discomfort that lasts a couple of days. The majority of acupuncturists will caution you about this prior to you leave your consultation.


Although less common than soreness, bruising can take place at the needling site. Often bruising is the outcome of a hematoma, a localized collection of blood that gets initiated when the needle pierces the skin. Contusions, sadly, typically last longer than discomfort from an acupuncture needle. Still, they typically are not anything to stress over beyond the aesthetic inconvenience.

It is unknown why some people bruise from acupuncture. I have a couple of patients who, no matter what I attempt in regards to needle brand, size or strategy, they bruise every time. (Again, I frequently see it happen at Large Intestine 4) Others — the majority — never ever experience bruising anywhere.

Muscle twitching

Whenever I get acupuncture, no matter where the needles are positioned, my right quadricep muscle twitches like crazy. Don’t ask me why. People may experience involuntary muscle twitching during or after acupuncture. I’ve seen this happen in muscles that receive acupuncture needles and, as in my case, on apparently random parts of the body that are far away from any needles.

Muscle twitching is various from full-on muscle spasm. If during or after an acupuncture treatment you feel that one of your muscles is acutely spasming, especially if it’s a muscle that was just needled, inform your acupuncturist. He or she might be able to launch it before you go on your merry method.


This is pretty uncommon, but it can happen — and on very uncommon events, post-acupuncture lightheadedness can result in fainting. Getting up quickly from the acupuncture table can cause lightheadedness, as can coming for acupuncture on an empty stomach. Keep in mind that eating is among the essential things to remember before an acupuncture visit.

When your acupuncture session is over, take your time getting up and move carefully as you gather your things to leave. If you find yourself feeling lightheaded after the treatment, sit in your acupuncturist’s waiting room for a few minutes and take some deep breaths. Acupuncture can be a physically and emotionally intense experience, and often our bodies are not totally recovered at exactly the minute our hour is up. It is alright if you need a little additional time.

Emotional release

In some cases people weep in acupuncture. Not because they’re in pain, however due to the fact that their feelings, which can get suppressed while powering through life, end up being free-flowing. The emotional release that can occur in acupuncture usually is a favorable experience, however it can be unexpected, specifically for people who have the tendency to be more emotionally stoical.

Feeling additional sensitive or tear-prone in an acupuncture session, or in the days that follow, is completely normal. It’s also a sign that the acupuncture is working. Even if you’re looking for acupuncture for a physical condition, increased psychological expression is an indicator that recovery is taking place. From an acupuncture point of view, physical and emotional health are interconnected, so psychological shifts recommend forthcoming physical changes also.

While these side effects are rarely cause for issue, you know your body best. If any of the above side effects seem like they’re too severe or long lasting too long — or if you discover any additional negative reactions to an acupuncture treatment — you should call your acupuncturist.

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