Patient Information Resources

Centre for Orthopaedics
Suite 10-33/34/35 Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre
38 Irrawaddy Road
Singapore, 329563, Singapore
Ph: (65) 6684 5828
Fax: (65) 6684 5829

Child Orthopedics
Pain Management
Spine - Cervical
Spine - General
Spine - Lumbar
Spine - Thoracic

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I went to a chronic pain clinic for help with constant headaches and neck pain. One of the treatment options is acupuncture. Are there any side effects from this kind of treatment?

Acupuncture involves the use of tiny needles placed in the skin to stimulate acupuncture points in the body. Specific musculoskeletal problems like chronic headache and neck pain can be treated effectively this way.

Some people get immediate relief of painful symptoms with acupuncture. Others notice a gradual improvement over days to weeks. There are very few side effects from this treatment. Most of them are minor. Occasionally a patient will report local swelling, bruising, or skin rash around the area of a needle puncture.

Temporary redness of the skin may develop around the site of the needle. This may occur as a result of the release of hormones into the bloodstream. Rarely, patients feel faint from the needling, a condition called needle shock.

Acupuncture works so well for some conditions that doctors are starting to use it to combat the side effects of other treatment. For example, acupuncture helps reduce nausea in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy.

Most of the serious side effects of acupuncture such as lung puncture, internal bleeding, or increased pain are the result of improperly performed acunpuncture. Patients should only see an acupuncturist who is licensed or certified. It's always a good idea to ask to see credentials.


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