Valerie Ducos, L.Ac.
Asking if acupuncture is "dangerous" signals to me perhaps a fear of this type of treatment modality(?) In a licensed skilled practitioner who is treating for back pain, the risks should be minimal to none. Whenever a needle is being used, there is always a risk of bleeding, infection, or piercing a tissue excessively or in the wrong place. The risker types of acupuncture are those that do deep needling near an organ. Rarely in the US are such techniques used. Speak with your acupuncturist about your concerns, as they should be able to explain the procedure to you and any risks. If you are not satisfied with their explanation or experience, then choose another practitioner or forgo the treatment altogether.
Hope this helps,
Acupuncture is safe if treated by a licensed acupuncturist.
Scott Sang In Lee
Acupuncture is good for your back pain. If you go to see a licensed practitioner, you should not have any danger.
Alexandre Hillairet, DAOM.
Acupuncture is extremely effective in treating back pain. If you go to a licensed professional, who is careful and a referred source all the better, risk of dangers are minimal. It would take a lot of ignorance and error to make dangerous this ancient Chinese method of effective healing which is nearly 5,000 years old. Best of luck!
Most people who receive acupuncture feel better right away, almost all people who get acupuncture feel a stronger sense of wellbeing and relaxation. The most common 'negative' side effects are small droplets of blood released, minor bruising, minor aches where the needle was, dizziness (usually because patient didn't eat first or was very anxious about treatment), etc. Serious side effects like pneumothorax, again, are so rare and only happen with extreme negligence on the side of the practitioner or from untrained practitioners or a completely unexpected accident.
You seriously have more to worry about when taking medications than you ever would with a qualified Licensed Acupuncturist.
1. Swelling, bruising or itching around the needle site. Swelling and bruising are generally very mild and resolve in a day or two. Itching is a very common experience and resolves in an hour or two.
2. Pain at the needle site. This happens occasionally and usually means the needle is a little too close to either a nerve or a capillary bed. If a needle remains sharply painful after insertion, tell your provider and have them either move or remove the needle.
3. When needles are placed over the chest or abdomen, there is a risk of organ puncture. The lungs are the most susceptible to this particular issue.
4. Very rarely, infection can be a concern. Most licensed acupuncturists utilize single use, factory sterilized needles and, in this case, infection risk is very low.
Anyone licensed as an acupuncturist has attended and graduated from a school of Chinese medicine, carries a clean needle certification (CNT) and, outside of CA, is NCCAOM board certified. We have a great deal of training in how to safely and cleanly insert and remove needles. We're also required to keep that training up to date through continuing education.
Where you're rolling the dice is with a non-acupuncturist provider like a PT or a chiropractor. They do not receive the same level of training, do not carry national board certification in the insertion/removal of needles and are not required to maintain these skills through continuing education.
Be well, be confident, we can help.