(306) Adverse Effects in Acupuncture

Started by HB KIM, Sep 26, 2010, 10:12 PM

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   While acupuncture is a relatively safe procedure, it is likely that a practicing acupuncturist will occasionally encounter side effects of treatment, such as bruising, hematoma, or fainting. Less commonly seen are adverse events, such as stuck needle, or broken needle.  In rare cases, more serious adverse events have been reported, such as pneumothorax or organ puncture, though these are often due to improper needling technique, depth, direction, or location.

   In the acupuncture clinic, the type of side effects encountered varies according to the acupuncture points used. While there are many points listed in the classical texts of acupuncture for possible side-effects, these may not always be applicable in modern practice. The types of acupuncture needles used now are smaller, finer, and of better quality than what were available at the time these texts were written.  However, as an acupuncturist it is important to be aware of classical side-effects in order to manage all possible side-effects properly.

   Listed below is a chart of adverse events from the classics, and the treatment points that should be used if such events occur in practice. It should be noted that some of the effects are due to improper needling of a point, such as in the case of UB 13 causing asthma and cough. If a patient today has a medical emergency, such as pneumothorax due to improper needling, or the patient is unresponsive after fainting, the patient should be given prompt medical attention by emergency services rather than additional needling. In these cases this information is given for historical and educational purposes only, and is not a substitute for calling 911.

Initial Point:  Side Effect Experienced  -  Strong Stimulation of Treatment Points

SJ 8:  Breathing difficulty, irregular pulse - Use ST 36, SP 6

LI 3:  Hand or motor impairment of the upper limb  -  Use LI 5

HT 2:  A Stuffy feeling in the chest  -  Use HT 7

GB 21:  Dizziness, vertigo  -  Use SJ 23, then ST 36

GB 18:  Fainting  -  Use UB 23

SJ 20:  Dizziness when using harsh technique  -  Use SJ 8

SJ 19:  Tinnitus or ear pain  -  Use SJ 4

ST 1,2:  Blurred vision  -  Use ST 44

GB 20:  Fast breathing, cold sweat, even vomiting  -  Use ST 36

SI 14:  Intercostal neuralgia  -  Use UB 13

UB 13:  Cough, asthma  -  Use LI 10, ST 36

DU 11:  Possible spinal cord damage (by strong stim.)  -  Use DU 1

UB 15:  Suffocated feeling below the xyphoid process  -  Use ST 20
Ren 17:  Breathing difficulty  -  Use UB 17

DU 10:  Weakness of the hands and feet  -  Use UB 40

Ren 9:  Edema of the whole body  -  Use ST 25

Ren 8:  Swelling of the testicles (by moxa)   -  Use Du 4

SP 15:  Difficulty lifting the shoulder  -  Use UB 43

KD 11:  Difficulty urinating  -  Use KD 1

ST 30:  Hernia pain, hypogastric pain and surging pain on the chest  -  Use ST 40

Ren 1:  Needle pain that lasts for many days  -  Needle around the affected area

SP 10:  Fainting  -  Use LI 10, ST 36

UB 56:  Pain of m. gastrocnemius, difficulty walking  -  Use UB 60

UB 57:  Foot cramping  -  Use GB 39

ST 36:  Severe pain due to needling  -  Use the Ba Feng point btw 3rd/4th toes