How to Relieve Pain After a Chiropractic Adjustment? 


Chiropractic adjustment is a natural and potent way of healing your body and balancing the musculoskeletal system. The realignment of the bones and joints results in back or neck pain relief, significantly improving your quality of life.

While chiropractic care is a highly safe method to impart pain relief, muscle and joint pain or soreness following a physical manipulation are not uncommon. However, the soreness is typically temporary and the result of the body adjusting to the new alignments. Regardless, it can be uncomfortable for many people to bear.

If you have scheduled a chiropractic appointment or are suffering from post-treatment muscle soreness, read on to learn all you need to know about how to relieve pain after a chiropractic adjustment.

Why Does My Body Ache After a Chiropractic Adjustment?

Muscle soreness and aches after a chiropractic visit is completely normal and typically occurs for a couple of main reasons. Adverse side effects are extremely rare.

People with misaligned spines adjust to a poor posture. The vertebrae adapt to an abnormal position, and these imbalances become the new normal over time. When forced to move to its original place, it can lead to pain.

Secondly, as your vertebrae move into place due to the spinal manipulation, it impacts the muscles and joints around it that had not been in use due to the misalignment. As these muscles that were previously resting are activated, it often results in soreness. 

If you are a new patient, you can expect mild pain, as you would do by working out after a long break.

How Long Does Pain Last After a Chiropractic Visit?

Generally, the pain after a spinal adjustment is mild and goes away within 24 to 48 hours. You must consult your chiropractor if you experience prolonged or persistently sharp pain or numbness in the affected area. 

You might also experience transient dizziness or a headache following a neck adjustment, which is attributed to changes in the position of the cranial nerves. Again, make sure to inform your chiropractor if this symptom persists longer than usual.

Effective Ways to Manage Post-Chiropractic Appointment Pain

The pain induced by a spinal adjustment goes away after a couple of days. However, you can adopt these simple yet effective steps to cut down its intensity and speed up the healing process:

Ice and Heat Application

Pain management with alternating hot and cold therapy has been in practice for many decades.

Ice therapy after chiropractic treatment can help minimize inflammation and swelling. You can use a cold pack by placing it in the freezer for some time.

Research shows that cold application after 24 hours leads to a significant reduction in pain. It has the following effects on the body:

  • Reduces edema
  • Diminishes inflammation and pain
  • Alleviates pain and muscle spasms
  • Modifies blood flow and metabolic demand of the muscle

Cold therapy is often used in the management of acute musculoskeletal injuries. Therefore, it can also significantly benefit in alleviating discomfort after a chiropractic adjustment.

While cold application lowers inflammation, heat boosts circulation and reduces muscle tension. Heat application plays an important role in resolving nerve pain. 

People suffering from low back pain and sciatica report improvement in symptoms by alternative heat and cold therapies. 

Stay Hydrated

Drinking copious amounts of water keeps you healthy and allows you to get rid of pain faster after the spinal manipulation.

While water does not directly influence the intensity of pain, consumption of good volumes of H2O flushes out toxins from the body released during the procedure, boosting the healing process.

Dehydration adds to levels of perceived pain and fatigue, while hydration reduces them and also mitigates the risk of muscle cramps.

Studies show that adequate hydration after chiropractic treatment can effectively lower discomfort similar to what you experience after working out. If you find it hard to drink extra water, add some lemons and mint to enjoy a lemonade.

Stay Moderately Active

Be it an acute or chronic pain condition, your chiropractor will advise you to take ample rest following an adjustment for the first couple of days. The moderate pain or tenderness after spinal adjustment usually does not prevent you from performing normal daily activities. However, rest is advised to speed up the recovery process.

Having said that, you should avoid sitting or lying in bed for long periods during this time as it could lead to strain and stiffness. Staying active is vital in the healing process. 

Light activities like walking, yoga, or a short swim stimulate the blood supply to the muscles and prevent joint stiffness. The oxygen-rich blood supply to the treated area helps bring down inflammation and pain. 

In contrast, high-impact movements like running and heavy lifting can increase pain. So, it is crucial to keep away from strenuous activity until the pain dissipates. 

Eat Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Several healthy, nutrient-dense foods are known to cut down inflammation levels in the body, helping reduce muscle soreness and pain while improving the quality of life in the long run. You can choose foods rich in omega fatty acids, including salmon, mackerel, avocados, etc., to replenish the body with the required nutrients. 

A handful of nuts and a few berries can also be pretty beneficial. Herbs like ginger and turmeric are widely known for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Adding them to the diet can help lower discomfort after a chiropractic visit. 

Follow Chiropractor-Recommended Exercises

Spinal adjustment relieves pain by restoring the alignment of the joints. However, it does not end there. Performing certain exercises as recommended by your chiropractor after the treatment is at the core of speeding up the road to recovery and maintaining the effects of the adjustment in the long run. 

Your chiropractor will likely prescribe some light stretches and low-intensity exercises to increase strength and flexibility. Combined with the adjustment, it will help restore mobility faster while improving overall health and well-being.

Use Pain Medications

Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help provide pain relief until your body adjusts to the new posture. There are different types of painkiller medications that you can use. The most commonly used systemic analgesics include ibuprofen, diclofenac sodium, naproxen, etc.

The analgesic preparations are also available in the form of topical gels. Local application of the gels provides relief from pain and inflammation. Biofreeze is a pain relieving gel that alleviates pain by activating the cold receptors, and its clinical efficacy in relieving musculoskeletal pain has been proven by multiple reviews.

Final Words

Pain, soreness, or tenderness after a chiropractic adjustment is a natural body response to the new modifications. The muscles and nerves need time to adjust to the newly aligned positions, which leads to short-term pain. The mild discomfort lasts up to a couple of days, but if you experience severe pain or if it persists longer, talk to your chiropractor immediately.

You can alleviate inflammation and pain following a chiropractic adjustment by applying alternating heat and cold and using systemic and topical analgesics. Drinking large amounts of water and consuming anti-inflammatory foods flush out toxins and prevent inflammation as well. 

Staying moderately active and performing light exercises enhances blood flow to the affected muscles, aiding in a quick recovery. 

If you plan to get a chiropractic adjustment for your chronic pain, we recommend you visit the Logan Osland Chiropractic. The experienced chiropractors at our state-of-the-art clinic offer individualized therapies that set you on the path to a speedy recovery. Whether physical therapy or spinal adjustment, the healthcare providers ensure minimum discomfort during and after the treatment.


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