Is Neck Soreness After A Chiropractic Adjustment Normal?

neck soreness after a chiropractic adjustment

People schedule a chiropractic treatment to feel better but often experience neck soreness after a chiropractic adjustment. This muscle soreness is typical. People experience neck pain differently, and those new to chiropractic care might feel sorer because of the procedure.

Find out what happens during a chiropractic adjustment so you can expect how to feel when the chiropractor completes the appointment. Getting a neck adjustment doesn’t always mean you’ll experience discomfort. In most cases, you’ll feel much better after chiropractic care.

What Happens During a Chiropractic Adjustment?

A chiropractic neck adjustment can make some people feel worse. The reactions vary; some people feel happy about their aligned spine, while others experience sore neck muscles. Suppose you schedule a chiropractic visit for a neck adjustment and experience pain after; it’s not a reflection of your body or the chiropractor. The aches usually go away within a day or two.

Before your chiropractic treatment, you’ll have a consultation with the chiropractor. You can explain why you need chiropractic care, whether because of chronic neck pain, shoulder pain, a stiff neck, lower back pain, or an injury. If your primary care physician recommends the service, they’ll supply your medical records to the practice for more information.

You’ll get started when the results show you need chiropractic treatment. Once you lie on the table, the chiropractor applies pressure to the problem areas of your spine for cervical manipulation. You might hear cracking or feel twisting or pulling along with the push. These are regular occurrences during chiropractic treatment.

4 Potential Reasons for Neck Soreness After a Chiropractic Adjustment

Consider these four reasons if you experience neck pain after a chiropractic adjustment. One or more of these issues can cause discomfort after a neck adjustment.

Balancing Overused Muscles

Many people have poor posture, which means they use their muscles unintendedly. You might pull your back muscles while other muscle groups overcompensate to make the difference. You can have knots in your muscles when they stretch or compress too much.

A chiropractic adjustment aligns your spine and the muscles alongside it. The muscles release tension as the chiropractor applies pressure. This type of change in your body can give you sore muscles, as you might experience after a deep tissue massage.

Once your body aligns, you’ll start using the correct muscle groups. You might feel ongoing soreness as your body exercises these rarely-used muscles. Over time, you’ll get much stronger, and consistent chiropractic care can help.

Regular chiropractic care straightens your spine and helps you practice proper posture. A neck adjustment can also help align your spine and decrease neck pain. All your muscles will align to better support your body and bones.

Misaligned Spine Is Adjusting To Correct Posture

Your body always wants to be aligned, using the correct muscles and bones, and allowing nerves to communicate with other systems. That’s why you experience discomfort when you slouch over the computer or slump on the couch. But if you sit that way often enough, your body gets used to that posture and adjusts the muscles.

It’s not a good thing when your body adjusts to poor posture. The lack of discomfort when you slouch doesn’t mean your body isn’t in pain. It’s adapted and knows you aren’t changing positions, so it uses other muscles to support your frame.

Going from poor posture to the ideal alignment from spinal manipulation is a significant change. You won’t experience neck pain like you used to, but your back might still feel sore. This discomfort isn’t because the chiropractor did something wrong. It means that your body is now using muscles it wasn’t using before.

Your cervical spine takes time to adapt to the proper alignment. The soreness might frustrate you, but it’s gone after several days. You’ll notice that you stand up straight and experience less discomfort when you sit and lie down. A neck adjustment can help keep everything aligned.

Your Nerves Are Making Adjustments

When you experience spinal pain, misaligned vertebrae can compress your nerves. This compression prevents your nerves from communicating with the rest of your body. It can cause digestive issues, which negatively affects your bowel movements.

After your first neck pain treatment, you might feel worse. This sensation should lessen within 24 to 48 hours as your nerves adjust to the change. They’ve experienced compression for so long that they need time to expand and communicate with your other body systems, as they could not do for a long time.

Regular chiropractic care, including a neck adjustment, can help keep your nervous system performing at its peak. You won’t feel the same soreness each time. You’ll feel better after each visit as your body and nerves get used to the process.

Activating Understimulated Muscles

At the chiropractic adjustment, your chiropractor gently moves your vertebrae into the proper position. This change might sound subtle but shifts the cervical spine, muscles, and nerves. You’ll find that you have sore muscles when you stand up straight because you’re using new muscles. Once understimulated, they’re now getting correct use.

It’s normal to have sore muscles when you activate them after such a lack of use. This condition is especially true if you’re recovering from a significant injury, which might have put some muscle groups out of commission while you heal. A neck adjustment can help you get your body back on track. Then you can slowly build up the under-stimulated muscles.

What To Do if Neck Soreness Is Worse After a Chiropractic Adjustment

Experiencing neck pain and muscle soreness after a spinal adjustment is normal, especially if it’s your first appointment. It will feel like you had a deep tissue massage or massage therapy, but the soreness eases within a day or two.

You should contact your chiropractor if you’ve had chiropractic treatment and continue to feel worse. They understand your body and know what it just went through, so they can help you understand your feelings. They’ll know if the soreness relates to your neck adjustment or is something more severe and will advise you on what to do next.

In a chiropractic adjustment, normal discomforts are “detox symptoms,” including:

  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Soreness

Most times, rest will ease the symptoms. Your muscles release tension in chiropractic treatment, and your body needs to adjust to its new alignment. Time will make it better. You can drink plenty of water before and after your appointment to keep the muscles hydrated, alleviating the soreness.

You can also find pain relief using these suggestions:

  • Apply moist heat to the tender areas. It will quickly penetrate deep tissue to reach the muscle and reduce the soreness.
  • Soak in an Epsom salt bath. The salts contain magnesium and sulfate, which break down in the water, and your body absorbs them.
  • Eat a healthy meal. Your body needs the nutrients of a balanced diet. The ideal diet can provide enough vitamins to help your body function properly.


Feeling muscle soreness after spinal manipulation is normal, but you don’t have to live with severe neck pain. You can expect moderate soreness from your neck adjustment, but it shouldn’t last longer than two days.

Always contact your chiropractor if you’re in severe pain. They can give you advice on how to alleviate the discomfort. After your body is in alignment from the chiropractic visit, you’ll feel the difference in your nerves, muscles, spine, and posture.

About Dr. Osland

Dr. Osland is one of the most sought-after chiropractors in Ventura county. With Chiropractic clinics in Oxnard and Ventura, his services are available to many Southern California communities.