Three cases of hemiplegia after cervical paraspinal muscle needling

Gyu Yeul Ji, Chang Hyun Oh, Won Seok Choi, Jang Bo Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Background context Muscle needling therapy is common for chronic pain management, but the development of unusual complications such as hemiplegia is not well understood. Purpose We report on three cases with hemiplegia after cervical paraspinal muscle needling and propose possible explanations for these unusual complications. Study design Case report. Methods The authors retrospectively reviewed the medical charts from a decade (2002-2013) at Korea University Hospital. The records were systematically searched, and the cases with hemiplegia (grade<3) after needing therapy were collected. No conflict of interest reported. No funding received. Results A 54-year-old woman, a 38-year-old woman, and a 60-year-old man with hemiplegia by cervical subdural or epidural hematoma after cervical posterior paraspinal muscle needling without direct invasion (intramuscular stimulation, acupuncture, or intramuscular lidocaine) were observed. All patients were taken for emergent decompressive laminectomy, and their postoperative motor function improved substantially. Conclusion Spinal hematoma after muscle needling is unusual but was thought to result after a rupture of the epidural or subarachnoid veins by a sharp increase in blood pressure delivered in the intraabdominal or intrathoracic areas after needling therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e9-e13
JournalSpine Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Mar 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Bleeding dynamics
  • Cervical
  • Complication
  • Needling therapy
  • Pain management
  • Spinal hematoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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