Acupuncture can be a bit intimidating to those who have never had the treatment, especially if you are afraid of needles. One of the most common questions asked about acupuncture is “does it hurt?” Generally speaking, no, acupuncture is not painful. If you are very sensitive, or sensitive to needles in particular, then you may find it uncomfortable but generally, it does not cause pain. So why does acupuncture not hurt when getting an injection or an IV does?
Needles come in gauge sizes. The larger the gauge, the smaller the needle. Hypodermic needles used in medical procedures are usually around 25-27 gauges, which has a nominal outer diameter of 0.5144 mm to 0.4128 mm. To compare, most acupuncture is done with needles ranging from 32-40, the biggest size being only 0.2350 mm in diameter, less than half of the size of a hypodermic needle. To put it in perspective, an acupuncture needle is around the size of a single strand of hair.
Not only are acupuncture needles incredibly thin, but they are also not pointed and sharp like hypodermic needles. They have a rounded tip, similar to that of your finger. Instead of the painful pinch that you get from inserting a hypodermic needle, you experience pressure.
It is possible for acupuncture to cause some soreness, bleeding, and bruising, although this is not a standard reaction to the process. If you do experience this, you should talk to your acupuncturist, as you may need to avoid specific sites or use a different gauge of needle or have it inserted in a different way.
While acupuncture should not cause pain, some people do experience other negative symptoms when they receive treatment. This can include muscle twitching, lightheadedness, fatigue, and emotional release. Muscle twitching can sometimes not be avoided, although if it is an acute muscle spasm, then your acupuncturist may be able to treat it during your session. To help prevent lightheadedness never go to an appointment on an empty stomach. Fatigue and emotional release are harder to control, though. Fatigue after acupuncture is just your body telling you that you were already worn out and that you need rest, so take the time to rest, relax and get a good night’s sleep. You will feel energized in the morning. Emotional release can also not truly be controlled and feeling sensitive or teary after acupuncture is normal and a sign that the acupuncture is working. This is not a cause for concern, just something to keep in mind.
Acupuncture can be intimidating, but the relief it can give you from symptoms is huge. Whether you have an acute problem or are looking for a more general treatment, we can help you. Contact us today and get started on your healing journey.