Published on 01-31-2018
"anon42407" - this is their first post.
Hello! I had acupuncture done for the first time last Friday the 26th of January. I did have some needles put into my head, as well as stomach, legs and arms. I am being treated primarily for digestive issues, hypothyroidism/hashimotos.
Driving home from my appointment I developed what I thought was a tension headache. It has yet to go away and has been present now for 5 days. I have also noticed I have had a low grade fever twice for short amounts of time (99.2-99.5 F).
I did not drink a lot of water before or after treatment, and have heard that this could make me feel bad, but since this is day 5 of the headache I’m starting to get concerned. I was drinking small amounts of caffeine each day (kombucha, matcha and black tea) until a chiropractor advised me not to after hearing what was going on.
I did email my practitioner and she is Chinese and I think the language barrier prevented her from explaining more. She said acupuncture could not cause a headache. But I have yet to get her on the phone and have a good conversation with her.
I am not usually prone to headaches and have never had one last this long.
Any insight or advice is greatly appreciated!
comment by "ChadD" (acupuncturist)
on Jan 2018
Poor reactions to acupuncture by a licensed acupuncturist are fairly uncommon. There are a couple possibilities with regards to your experience.
Generally speaking one treatment isn’t going to do much of anything - so it’s possible that your body is simply fighting something off (flu, etc.). If you were close to getting sick there is a chance that acupuncture can speed the process up (but also minimize symptoms) so it could have kicked something up that would have started anyhow but made it so you didn’t really get sick enough to confirm that that was happening.
Now as you have a thyroid condition, some variations in body temperature are expected and are considered generally a good sign. These types of responses even out fairly quickly within the first few treatments in most cases.
The headache could be some sinus congestion (even if you weren’t sick) that moved around and caused a headache or you have some type cervical disc issue(s) that were aggravated generally more by the posture of receiving acupuncture than by the acupuncture itself.
There are more aggressive needling techniques, etc. that can cause some issues but even those are generally fairly short lived and are less commonly used. If the needling was too strong for you, however, that can lead to side effects even if you ultimately get to a good outcome.
As these types of reactions are rare and could be unrelated to the acupuncture per se, I would give your practitioner 3 treatments total. If you continue to have reactions like that I would find someone else, particularly if they cannot communicate clearly with you. What you have overall is very well treated by a skilled practitioner and you should have no problems from the treatment at all.top Login/Comment
comment by "StephenS" (acupuncturist)
on Jan 2018
If you stopped drinking caffeine, depending on how regularly you were drinking it and how well or not your body tolerates it that alone could account for the headache. At the least it could be part of the equation in addition to what @Chad_Dupuis said.top Login/Comment
comment by "anon42407"
on Jan 2018
Thank you both so much for your responses!
She has over 35 years experience and seems to know her stuff and has all the correct certifications in acupuncture and Chinese Medicine.
She did mention that if my neck was messed up that it could cause an issue, but as far as I know my neck is fine. I do nurse my son though so I have a lot of tightness and tension in my upper back but I didn’t mention that to her as that wasn’t what I wanted treatment for. Perhaps I should? Also a chiropractor that treats my son said your neck goes out of alignment when you are sick (which I just was) and perhaps I need an adjustment?
I did get her on the phone and she just said she believes I was getting sick. I DID have a flu like illness a few weeks ago, which went through my entire family, and perhaps I got it again but as you said the acupuncture has kept my symptoms minimal.
I didn’t cut out caffeine until yesterday. I don’t have very much (a small matcha and some kombucha a day) but think it’s for the best until this goes away.
This is such an incredible resource and I appreciate your fast responses and the time you take to answer these questions!