Can acupuncture make things worse?

Temporarily, yes, but it’s not common. If you’ve been ill for a long time, or your issues are quite complex with lots of different things going on when you have acupuncture treatment it can move a lot of stuck energy. Kind of like taking out the rubbish - it’s not a nice job, you might get bin juice on you, it smells, and they’re heavy and awkward… god forbid one splits. Once they’re outside, your kitchen is less smelly and you feel much better. You had to go through the effort to feel better and create a nicer space to live in. The longer you left the bins in the kitchen… the harder the job. 

 

As with any physical therapy, once you start treatments, you’ll also become much more aware of your body and how you feel - which is a good thing! Although it might not feel like it in the beginning because you’re used to feeling pretty numb. Our bodies constantly communicate with us (usually through pain) to tell us if what we’re doing is harmful. The quicker we pick up these messages, the better. 

 

For example, you might go to see an acupuncturist for headaches. After a few sessions, they might have eased, but now you feel like you have a really stiff neck. You used to have a really stiff neck a while ago but it had been fine for ages… did acupuncture make it worse? The stiff neck was most likely the cause of the headaches, but you weren’t aware it was still an issue until the acupuncture treatment began to work. There are lots of acupuncture points for headaches on the neck and shoulders. If your acupuncturist used those, it would have made you more aware of that area. Over time, and with more sessions, the neck pain should ease too and hopefully create long-lasting relief from your headaches! 

 

The vast majority of people don’t have a worsening of symptoms after an acupuncture treatment, the worst thing that usually happens is a feeling of tiredness immediately after the session which lasts a couple of hours. (A great excuse for a nap).

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