Most people seek the care of a chiropractor when they experience back or neck pain, hoping to find relief through the safe and natural method of spinal realignment. However, when you leave the chiropractor, you can often experience new pain. Why is this, and why would something meant to reduce pain lead to more? The short answer is, when you visit a chiropractic clinic, your symptoms may get worse before they get better. While this may sound counterintuitive, this is not a bad thing! In fact, it might mean the treatment is doing its job.
Normal Symptoms After an Adjustment
The most common reaction to an adjustment is soreness in muscles and the back. Your muscles may be used to supporting poor posture or been weakened by injury and are reacting to these systems being interrupted as your body returns to proper form. This change can cause joints to ache as well as muscles.
Some people describe this feeling as similar to the way they feel after a strenuous workout. This does not usually last more than 24 hours, and usually, this time decreases the more your body becomes used to the sensations of adjustments. For some people, this pain does not occur and they feel immediately better, but it is good to know this may happen.
If you are nervous about how you may feel after your adjustment, you should discuss it with your chiropractor early in your appointment. They should help you understand what to expect after your adjustment and provide any relevant aftercare instructions. This also gives you a chance to express your concerns and expectations to your chiropractor so they can be on the same page as you.
What Causes Pain?
The primary reason for soreness is that the body is reacting to alignment being restored. Most people come to a chiropractor with a dysfunctional spine, and in many cases, it has been this way for a long time. Just like working out, your body’s reaction to these changes may be uncomfortable at first, as it learns to work properly again. Your spine impacts your entire nervous system, and as the vertebrae return to their intended position, the shift may be felt in your muscles, ligaments, and joints.
Another common cause of pain is the release of toxins in the body. When the spine is adjusted, toxins are broken up and released into the body, which then needs to filter out these toxins as a part of the immune response. This release provides an extra benefit as it can help to flush out any illnesses that are resting in your body. For this reason, you may also experience a runny nose or need to urinate often to help expel the toxins.
Relieving Pain Faster
Once the initial pain from your adjustment subsides, you will likely notice an improvement in the initial ailment that brought you to the chiropractic clinic. However, there are a few tips that may help you reach this point more quickly. Your chiropractor may also provide some instructions on how to care for yourself, and you should always listen to their advice as it may pertain to your specific injury.
A common way to relieve pain is the use of heat and ice to address soreness and aches. Each temperature is used to help with different issues and may exacerbate certain problems so it is important to talk with your chiropractor if you plan to use this method.
While you may be tempted to be still in reaction to pain, it is actually better to stay active and move around gently. Your chiropractor may provide certain stretches and exercises to decrease soreness and built on the treatment they provided. It is important to practice these with your chiropractor and to be gentle- while you shouldn’t cease movement, you want to be careful with your injuries.
The best way to prevent more pain in the future is to keep your spine and muscles healthy. Regular chiropractic care, correcting your posture, and routine exercise can help keep your spine in alignment and stop any injuries. While starting this process may lead to some initial pain, try and remember that your body is healing and changing which may take time and patience.
Do not be afraid of the pain you might feel after initial adjustments- they are all for a good cause. When you visit AICA Atlanta, our chiropractic clinic is devoted to helping you heal in a safe and healthy way. If you are experiencing any pain, call our team today to begin a path towards alignment!