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Nerve pain after acupuncture needle
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Nerve pain after acupuncture needle

Hello,

On friday(4 days ago) I had acupucture done for an ongoing issue with my lower back. (seems to be helping the pain)  The acupuncturist, who is also an MD stuck one needle behind my right knee and I immediately experianced a lot of pain at the site.  He replaced the needle and it seemed to be fine but the area was sore arfter removal and my right foot had some sensory disturbances right away.
Since then I have intermitant pins and needles on top of my right foot and some tingling in my right calf on the outside.  Also in the last day or so I have been experiancing an aching pain behind and on the outside of my right knee and calf.
The sensory stuff seems a little less than the first day but the aching pain is getting worse, with occasional sharp pains.  It actually woke me up this morning.  I have had no noticable motor issues with my foot or leg.  It just feels like the foot is "waking up after being asleep"
I spoke to the acupuncturist who did not seem overly concerned and said to give it a week.  I saw my GP who said that the needle may have damaged a nerve and that it may recover given a few weeks.  He also told me to take a Vitamin B supplement  (no dose though) and some diclofenac.  Unfortunatly, being in Canada I can't just go to a neurologist.

I could find very little about acupuncture needles damaging nerves and everyone tells me this is impossible.  
Can the nerve be injured in this way?
Is there anyway to assess the damage?
How serious is this sort of injury and what is the prognosis and time frame for healing?  Is there anything I should or shouldn't be doing? (ice/heat/rest/exersise etc)

Anything you can tell me would be appriciated since I'm quite concerned about this getting worse or not going away.

Thanks


  
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Avatar_dr_f_tn
Thanks for using the forum. I am happy to address your questions, and my answer will be based on the information you provided here. Please make sure you recognize that this forum is for educational purposes only, and it does not substitute for a formal office visit with your doctor.

Without the ability to examine you and obtain a history, I can not tell you what the exact cause of your symptoms is. However I will try to provide you with some useful information.

Without being able to understand exactly the distribution of your symptoms, I can't be sure which nerve is potentially involved but it could be from the description you provide what is called the superficial peroneal nerve, this supplies sensory innervation to the anterior and part of the lateral calf and the dorsum (top) of the foot. The origin of this nerve does pass sort of behind and lateral (to the outside) to the knee and could theoretically be injured from acupunture, though to my knowledge this is rare, but I am not very familiar with acupunture needles. If there is no weakness in the foot, then damage to the motor fibers (implying more extensive damage) is unlikely. The nerve could have been irritated rather than damaged, and this is expected to improve over a brief period (a few weeks). For severe discomfort, medications used to treat neuropathic pain (such as neurontin) are sometimes helpful and you may want to discuss this with your physician. If symptoms persist, evaluation by a neurologist with a study called EMG/NCS may be indicated, which tests how nerves conduct electricity and how the muscles respond. In the meantime, avoidance of leg crossing or anything else that would place pressure on that area may be advisable. Continued follow up with your physicians is recommended.

Thank you for this opportunity to answer your questions, I hope you find the information I have provided useful, good luck.
2 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
one other thing I forgot to mention is when I touch the back or side of my knee I get tingling in my toes.  This seems to be getting stronger and is quite irritating since everything that rubs my knee elicits it.
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