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Why are my Muscles Sore After Acupuncture?

21 AUG 2021


Every now and then, a patient will come in for a follow-up appointment and ask if it’s normal for them to be sore after treatment. Usually, they’re asking because they were sore or in more pain for the next few days after treatment, which worried them.

It should be pointed out right away that the majority of patients do not experience any problems following treatment. They are usually in less pain, more relaxed, and more alert. There are a few reasons why a patient may be sore after treatment or for the next 1-2 days. Read on to find out more!




Acupuncture is the insertion of needles into the body at precise points in order to treat various issues. It is considered to be an alternative medicine that originated in China over 2,000 years ago.


When the needles are inserted into your body, they release endorphins that serve as natural painkillers. This can cause soreness in muscles.


More importantly, acupuncture has a history of being effective in treating patients with chronic muscle pain, chronic headaches, and managing chronic conditions like hypertension. It’s also been shown to be more tolerable than many other traditional medicines and procedures.


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    What Types of Conditions are Benefited by Acupuncture Treatment for Muscle Pain & Tension?


    In addition to relieving muscle pain and tension, these treatments have been shown to improve moods and reduce stress levels. In addition, acupressure therapy can help with allergies and asthma symptoms.


    The procedure has become increasingly popular in Western countries because it can be effective in treating certain ailments like chronic pain and stress, which are common among people today.






    While everyone’s experience will differ, acupuncture usually does not cause discomfort or pain.


    It doesn’t have to hurt in order to be effective. It’s good to feel energy as sensations like dullness and heaviness. These are considered positive responses, and they indicate that something is going on.


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      Because the needles are thin and gently inserted, you may not feel them being inserted. When a needle reaches its intended depth, you may experience a mild, dull ache or a tingling sensation. This could indicate that the treatment is working and that the acupuncture point is being activated. You might also experience a heavy or electric sensation. Warmth may be felt at the acupuncture points.


      If you experience any severe or sharp pain, you should notify your physician immediately. Most of the time, pain or discomfort is temporary and only lasts a few seconds.


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        Acupuncture is a holistic, natural treatment that is gaining popularity as an alternative to more traditional methods of pain relief. It has been proven to reduce pain and discomfort, as well as help with issues such as insomnia and addiction. One of the risks associated with acupuncture is post-acupuncture soreness or muscle pain.


        Some people experience muscle soreness after acupuncture treatment because they have tight muscles in their back and they need someone to stretch them out before they receive the treatment. Other people feel muscle soreness after acupuncture because their body has entered a healing state and it is releasing toxins from their cells, causing them to ache.


        The best way for you to avoid post-acupuncture soreness or muscle pain is by getting enough rest before you receive your treatment. You should also ditch any tight clothing.



        So, after acupuncture, why am I feeling sore?


        The first and most common reason is that acupuncture has local effects. Blood flow in the capillaries near the site will temporarily increase when a needle is inserted into the skin as part of the healing process. This increased blood flow can cause soreness or throbbing, which can last long after the needle has been removed. This sensation will usually only last a few hours at the most.


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          Another likely scenario is that your acupuncturist is attempting to loosen connective tissue or work out a tight spot in a muscle. Once the needle is in the skin, it is frequently rotated or manipulated. The effect of this type of treatment is similar to that of a workout: muscles are slightly torn and must repair themselves, and delayed-onset muscle soreness is common for the next few days. Patients frequently report feeling much better after 1-2 days than they did before coming in for treatment. When patients inquire about this sensation, it is actually a good thing! It’s a sign that our treatment is assisting them in breaking through tight, stiff, or constricted areas that were causing them pain or discomfort.




          The most common acupuncture side effects are things that everyone desires: better sleep, more energy, mental clarity, improved digestion, and reduced stress. Many acupuncture patients experience one or more of these side effects on a regular basis.


          Acupuncture has a small number of unwelcome side effects, including:


          • Some people may feel worse before they feel better after receiving acupuncture.
          • Acupuncture can make people feel tired. Increased energy is a more common outcome. The fatigue you experience after acupuncture is your body’s way of informing you that it is depleted. The fact that you feel tired after acupuncture is not a cause for alarm, but it is a sign that you need to rest.
          • After acupuncture needles are removed, the body parts where the needles were inserted may feel sore. Acupuncture-induced soreness usually goes away within 24 hours.
          • Bruising can occur at the needling site, though it is less common than soreness. These bruises are usually painless and last only a few days after treatment. There is no need for treatment; they will go away on their own.
          • During or after acupuncture, people may experience involuntary muscle twitching. This isn’t something to be concerned about; it usually only happens once and is over before you can call an acupuncturist.
          • Post-acupuncture lightheadedness can occasionally lead to fainting. Getting up too quickly from the acupuncture table, as well as arriving for an acupuncture treatment on an empty stomach, can cause lightheadedness.
          • One of the most important things to remember before an acupuncture appointment is to eat. There is usually no risk of fainting, and lightheadedness lasts only a few seconds.


          Immediate Reactions Following Acupuncture (the first 24-48 hours)


          1. Relaxation:


          You may feel deeply relaxed for several hours or even a day. In such a state of relaxation, your concentration may suffer: following conversations or focusing in meetings may become difficult, or you may simply be unable to stay awake. A higher amount of endorphins (the body’s natural morphine in the brain) is secreted after acupuncture treatment, which may explain why you may experience a natural high after acupuncture, according to modern medical researchers. In this situation, the best thing you can do is rest – take it easy and take a nap afterwards, or go to bed early. When you spend more time in a deep sleep state, your body heals faster.


          2. Pain Relief: 


          Acupuncture is well-known for providing immediate pain management and relief. Acupuncture may provide long-term pain relief if you were treating acute pain or injuries. However, if you were treating chronic pain, you may notice that the pain lessened during the treatment session, but it returns after a few hours or even with vengeance.

          In Chinese medicine, we think of energy flow within the body as water flow in a building’s pipelines (when we know it’s there but can’t see it). We know there is a blockage in the drainage when there is a flood in the bathroom. Similarly, when there is pain, the Chinese doctor sees an obstruction in the flow of energy. According to Chinese medicine, chronic pain is caused by a clogged drainage system, and the pipes in the body are rusted.


          Acupuncture works like a plumber, applying pressure at a specific point to flush out the blockage, restoring flow and relieving pain. However, because the pain (blockage) has been present for a long time, the inner layer of the pipe has rusted and much rubbish has become attached to it. When the flow is restored, the rubbish loosens and begins to move and block the flow again. By then, the pain has worsened or has moved to a “new” location. As the acupuncture sessions continue, the flushing work will continue until all of the garbage and rust are removed from the meridians.
          As a result, if the pain worsens after acupuncture, don’t panic or worry; instead, take some sensible steps to help calm the pain, such as resting, applying red flower oil locally, or taking painkillers if necessary. It is critical for the patient to provide feedback to the doctor on how long the pain relief lasted and any changes in the pattern or location of the pain.


          3. Elimination:


          Following an acupuncture session, some patients experience detox symptoms such as increased urination. Some people have told us that they can’t stop going to the bathroom, sometimes up to ten times in one afternoon, without drinking more water. Their bloating and water retention would be significantly reduced, as one would expect. Meanwhile, some people may notice changes in their bowel movements, such as increased frequency, volume, or odor. Both signs of good eliminations indicate that the body is increasing metabolism, or, in Chinese terms, a better energy flow in the kidney and spleen meridians.



          Yes, it does, according to the tens of thousands of patients we’ve treated for symptoms ranging from stiff necks, frozen shoulders to chronic migraines to fertility. Curious to understand how acupuncture might benefit you and try it out? Sin Kang TCM’s acupuncture clinics in Singapore are renowned for our signature no-pain acupuncture technique, delivered flawlessly by fully licensed professional physicians. Make an enquiry with us to find out more.