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Muscle still twitching over a day after acupuncture treatment.

Q: I had acupuncture yesterday afternoon, and it's the night of the next day, and my stomach is still twitching?  I read that muscle spasms are normal after acupuncture, but I was wondering if they really last this long? I had acupuncture for my chronic tension headaches. I had 6 needles; one on each of my upper forearms, one on each of the areas below my knees, and one each between my big toe and second toe. Is it normal to still have these muscle twitches?

A:  The short answer is 'no'.

While muscles in the area which has been needled can twitch slightly when the needle is inserted and may continue to do so for a while, it would be unusual, but not impossible, for a muscle somewhere entirely different to react in this way. You can never rule out the extremely unexpected because acupuncture treatment treats the whole person, so in theory a needle could start a chain reaction which could lead to a palpable change somewhere else. However, changes are more usually functional than structural, i.e. a needle in the foot might make a headache go away but would be less likely to cause an unintended structural event.

That said, we don't think there is anything particularly worrying in what you describe, and we strongly suspect that by the time you get this response it will have stopped happening. If by some chance it does continue, then you should discuss the matter with your practitioner in order to see if they can understand what is going on. If this is a mystery to them it may be worth popping along to your doctor to see if there is something else going on. We say this because most unusual consequences of treatment disappear within 24-48 hours, and something which goes on beyond that may have coincidentally happened at the same time as treatment but not be related to it. In these circumstances it is important to find out what has happened rather than spend time trying to find out what caused it. The process of establishing what it is usually does that anyway.

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