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Bad headache after acupuncture session - is this normal?

Q:  I experienced a really bad headache after my last accupuncture session that has lasted for about 12 hours. Is this normal?

A:  There are a number of what we call in the jargon 'transient adverse events', or short-term side effects, which people occasionally experience after treatment, of which headache is one. This is sometimes because of the treatment itself, and sometimes because the patient has been unlucky enough to eat, drink or do something which has reacted with the treatment. Short term adverse events are rare (two surveys a decade ago put the incidence at lower than 1 in 10,000) and usually pass off after 24-48 hours.
If a symptom persists after two days, it is very important to contact the practitioner and discuss the problem with them. The headache may be attributable to the acupuncture, but may be entirely unrelated. In the case of a headache this may not be an issue, unless it is a particularly severe one, but our members are extremely careful to ensure that erroneous patterns of causation (because something happens after something it must have been caused by it) do not stop someone from getting the treatment they need immediately.
We know that sounds a but alarmist, but the bottom line is that if something unexpected happens after a treatment your practitioner will be as keen as you are to establish what is going on and make sure you get the advice and guidance you need.

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