From 1963 to 2002, 85 cases of peripheral nerve injury were reported in Chinese acupuncture journals (see Table 16-2). When the peripheral nerves are needled, the patient often feels an electric shock radiating to the distal part. When injury is present, the area innervated by the injured nerve may exhibit sensory deficiency, such as reduced sensitivity to touch or numbness, warmth, and pain. Motor deficiency may occur. In the face, the muscles of facial expression and of the eyelids may become unable to contract. In the arm, dropping wrist (radial nerve), involuntary thumb movement (median nerve), atrophy of the thenar muscles, and motion problems with the little and ring fingers (ulnar nerve) may occur. In the lower limb, stiff extension of the knee joint and weak gait (sciatic nerve) have been observed, as have difficulty in foot or toe extension, stepping on the heel, inability to stand on the toes, and dropping foot (common fibular nerve).
Most peripheral nerve injuries are caused by wet needling; a few, by dry needling. This type of injury is usually caused by three factors:
1. Needling of the following ARPs: SI17 (H2 greater auricular), GB34 (H24 common fibular), LI4 (superficial radial), and LI11(H9 lateral antebra-chial cutaneous)
2. Aggressive manipulation of the needles (pistonlike up-and-down movement, rotation)
3. Drug-induced toxicity in the nerves
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