Hi All hope your well. Just thought I would share this with you all. I had an appointment with pain management clinic last week. When I arrived she asked how I would feel about having acupuncture she explained it helps with pain and joint stiffness. I agreed I'm up for anything that helps. This was last Monday by the way and mondays is my methotrexate day which I did tell the nurse. The nurse said it was fine and went ahead with the procedure starting with my hands and wrists. I had 10 needles in each hand relaxed on the bed for 20 minutes with them in then out and off home no problems. I take my methotrexate around 9ish about 20 minutes later omg I felt awful. My legs turned to jelly I felt like I could not function very light headed and loss of speech the loss of speech might of been due to panic I'm not sure. My husband was all for calling an ambulance but I said no he helped me to the door for some fresh air which did help. I don't know why I had this reaction I've googled it but come up with nothing. I have to go back this Monday coming to have the acupuncture in my feet but am a bit reluctant to do so. On the plus side my hands don't feel as sore or stiff. Any thoughts anyone

23 Replies

  • Acupuncture can make you feel quite weird just after you've had it. You will notice the difference later.

  • Thx for the reply Hector that's reassuring

  • You are welcome. I felt totally wiped out after I had a course for my back. It did help though.

    I was refused acupuncture when I was in full flare.

  • I too had accupunture before I was diagnosed and I went funny like I was going to pass out so it just might be the body's own reaction .

  • Hi thanks for your reply. Had 2 treatments now and still felt the same plus the veins in my hands were throbbing for a couple of days after. Definitely not going back it's not worth it. We need treatment to make us feel better not worse. Take care

  • Oohhwww no ...I'm sorry it made you feel worse ..I don't think I'm going to try it .take care too x

  • I've just had my course of acupuncture cancelled due to the risk of infection while immunosuppressed with Humira. That was disappointing.

  • I've had an extreme reaction to acupuncture. It really surprised me. However, it worked so a weird day was worth it!

  • Hi Helix thanks for your reply. Had 2 treatments now did not feel no pain relief. On the downside the veins in my hands were throbbing for a couple of days after. Decided it's not worth going back I need something to make me feel better not worse. I really don't think the nurse was qualified enough she left a needle in my wrist under my jumper removed it when I got home after i felt it digging in. Take care

  • I have just started acupuncture but at first only had two needles for 10 minutes and that mad me feel very drowsy indeed. My acupuncturist said that I was very sensitive- hence allergic reactions to drugs etc. I am wondering if fewer needles to begin with might be better as it sounds like you had a lot of needles and combined with methotrexate it was too much for your body ? It sounds quite frightening. Six sessions in I still only have 4 needles. I also have acupressure massage which really helps my knees. It's less invasive than acupuncture.

  • Thanks for your reply apbrooke. I thought the same thing when the nurse was putting the needles in especially the ones in my wrist certain spots hurt like mad. Anyway going to take methotrexate on Sunday night rather than Monday see if it helps take care

  • Ahh yes that might help. Wishing you the best of luck. I hope it goes well and you can feel some real benefit from it.

  • Hi I had a few courses last year and it helped a lot with the pain but I'm on a Bisomar now so I don't know if I would still be able to get it but am going to ask my physio

  • Hi,

    I've been paying for Acupuncture to help with nerve pains in my feet and a foot drop. Things have improved a lot and I'm sure the Acupuncture has helped. I've also had another course of Rituximab which I think will also have helped. Each session lasts an hour and I just feel very relaxed afterwards. The number and position of needles changes as she tries to see what will work for me. It's not cheap but I think it's been worth it and I have more sessions booked 17 taken so far!


  • So pleased it is working for you Michelle take car

  • Yes, and I would emphasise to everybody that you need an hour. On my first session, the acupuncture did not work for 35 minutes, yet I see a lot of sessions advertised as 30 minutes. I would be very sceptical of them. You need at least 45 minutes.

    It has brought me immense pain relief and flexibility in my hands and I would never have coped without it. There is a cumulative effect. After the first session, I had no pain and good flexibility for four days. I then booked another session and the same thing happened. I then booked a course.

  • I've used electro acupuncture a lot and it worked wonderfully on my hands and wrists, and to some extent on my shoulder.

    I think it is more effective than conventional acupuncture. It was a bit painful when the needles went in and the first time I had it, it became increasingly painful in my hands during the process. I was actually just about to stop it. However, after 35 minutes the pain suddenly went and my fingers, which had been jammed, started to move - it was such a relief to see them move after they had been jammed for nine months that I almost started to cry.

    I know acupuncture is available on the NHS (but not, I think, electro acupuncture), but my personal view is that it is better left to the Chinese. I go to a Chinese shop/clinic with treatment rooms, which is very nicely done out, and the acupuncturist is a doctor of Chinese medicine. It takes six years to qualify as a doctor of Chinese medicine, which includes acupuncture. The shop/clinic is owned by a Chinese doctor and she has four in South West London and one in the North East of England.

    I cannot explain your reaction but I suspect the acupuncture was not done properly. Did they check on you every five minutes?

  • Hi thanks for your reply no the nurse did not check on me once. I am going again today to have my feet done. I will give it the benefit of doubt and see how I feel today. I might be sceptical but to be truthful there doesn't seem to be much difference my hands just feel the same having said that my joints on my hands are badly damaged I think beyond repair. Take care

  • I know a few people who have had traditional acupuncture on the NHS and said it did nothing for them, albeit they had osteo arthritis (which in three cases was very severe and longstanding). Another lady I know had it for endometriosis on the NHS but did not find it helpful.

    I had electro acupuncture and I also had it on quite a high current. I did not ask for it on the NHS because I felt the Chinese doctors were experts at it. They checked every five minutes to see if I was OK. Also, it was quite painful the first time for half an hour and I was about to give it up. You need at least 45 minutes so you should look for a one hour session. Numerous practitioners only offer 30 minute sessions and that would have been no good to me.

    The first session relieved pain, stiffness and disability, plus swelling for four days. The second session did the same. I then booked a course of ten, and had another course of ten after that. I have joint damage in my hands also. It helped my shoulder quite a lot as well but electro acupuncture and Chinese herbal tablets plus patches are the only things that have worked on my hands.

    I don't feel a nurse in the NHS is qualified to give acupuncture. On its own, it is a three year training but it is usually part of the training of a doctor in Chinese medicine. The nurse should have checked you every five minutes, for a start. I saw a physiotherapist early in my RA condition and she tried "hot needling". She said it is a muted form of acupuncture which she was not qualified in - you see, at least she admitted it. It did help a bit though and she advised me to try acupuncture. Can't quite remember whether she said specifically electro though. I think I must have accidentally hit the jackpot with it because I was in a terrible state.

    Good luck.

  • Hi just back from the hospital starting to have my doubts that the nurse is actually qualified to do this procedure. I was left alone on an empty ward for 30 minutes the needles in my neck had actually dropped out and was in my top. Had 6 needles in each hand and 6 in both feet as well as 1 on the top of my head and 2 in either side of my neck. The ones in my hand were quite painful I'm finding it really uncomfortable and don't think I will be putting myself through it again.

  • It does not sound as if it is being done properly. The needles are supposed to go in along meridians. I can't think what the one in the head was doing. I had them in my hands and wrists and also the one shoulder. I've also had them in the neck which often do help the hands.

    The shop/clinic where I go (or used to go) have lovely treatment rooms. The needles occasionally drop out but this is partly why they keep checking and they are more likely to with the stimulus of the machine. They put the Chinese music on, which I really like, and I drift off half asleep. Afterwards, they do a 15 minute massage with "hot drug oil" which has an analgesic effect. It is all very pleasant. Trouble is, the price used to be a flat £40 for one hour plus a 15 min massage, and you could get big reductions on a course. Now it is £45 for half an hour and a 15 min massage, still with reductions but twice the price. They can't import a lot of their tablets now owing to EU rules so I guess they are making up for it.

    I wonder if it would be worth getting a TENS machine. I think they have them in pain clinics or you can buy them and I did wonder whether they were similar to electro acupuncture.

    There is also a new development in the treatment of RA where they put an electrode under the skin and it passes a stimulus to other areas. This is being trialled in Holland and someone on here has volunteered for it.

  • I do hope some form of pioneering new treatment becomes available soon. Sometimes the pain of this disease becomes unbearable. I think that's why I agreed to have this acupuncture anything to eliminate some of the pain. I'm replying quite late on purpose just to see if I feel any different after my treatment today. The only obvious difference are my veins in my hands are all swollen and sore. I'm definitely not going back. Take care and thanks for the reply it helps knowing that a lot of people on here are on your side and going through the same thing it makes you stronger and a lot of the information given really helps

  • I am a night owl and not working tomorrow (I only do part-time).

    I meant to say that if you do go for electro acupuncture at a reputable Chinese clinic/shop, please note what the Chinese doctor told me. The receptionist (male) was always trying to flog me extra acupuncture sessions and bargaining with me over the cost of the tablets - first it was four bottles for the price of three at £18 each bottle, then that became five bottles for the price of four. I must say they were very good though.

    Anyway, the Chinese doctor (who did not speak a lot of English) told me that I did not need all these acupuncture sessions - by that stage I had had around 20, all crammed in by the receptionist. He said a maintenance dose of one per month was enough, after an initial course of one or two per week. Also, he told me that I should have taken the tablets regularly for six months and then come off them - not to take them all the time.

    I came off them because I was attending the hospital. First the ultrasound scans did show features of RA but the consultant ignored this evidence. I then started the Chinese therapy but kept (unfortunately) an appt at the hospital. The consultant wanted me to come off the tablets and acupuncture and then do an MRI. The MRI confirmed the ultrasound but showed an improvement. Then the consultant decided it was RA. Then I had to come off for something else. Then I tried a DMARD. Then I could not get any more Chinese tablets.

    I think that if I had stayed on them for six complete months and had the acupuncture at the same time, my condition would have cleared up completely. I would not have had a diagnosis but it would not have mattered.

    I wish I had never gone back to the damn hospital. Easy to be wise after the event.

    No, if I were you, I would not continue with something that is making you worse.

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