If you're new to the world of receiving chiropractic care you may have questions following your first visit. Your body has just undergone a medical procedure, and all medical procedures come with some side effects. The question is always "what's normal and what's not?" At ChiroCare of Florida, our goal is to help our patients become as informed as possible regarding the side effects of chiropractic adjustments so that they know what to expect each step of the way.
The great thing about chiropractic care is that it's non-invasive and entirely holistic, meaning there's little to no risk of side effects. One of the most common questions we hear regards pain associated with treatment. Is soreness after chiropractor visits normal? If you're sore after chiropractor visits–don't worry. That doesn't mean things went wrong. Pain after chiropractic adjustments can sometimes be expected. It's usually very mild and resolves quickly.
However, most patients report relief, relaxation, and ease immediately following an appointment. Many state they experience positive sensations as their musculoskeletal system aligns, muscles release tension, and oxygen and blood flow improve. These adjustment effects help release serotonin in the brain, boosting mood and helping people feel happier as pain lessens.
Keep reading to learn why it's normal to feel sore after chiropractor visits and when and when not to worry.
What Are Normal Side Effects of a Chiropractic Adjustment?
Not all side effects are bad, and in fact, some chiropractic side effects can actually signify that your treatment is working, even if they may feel weird. In most cases, side effects are nothing to be concerned about, though you should take note of them and report back to your doctor on your next visit. If anything worrisome happens and you are wondering whether or not it's normal, call your doctor right away to discuss your symptoms. Below are some common, perfectly normal, side effects of a chiropractic adjustment.
Soreness and Aching
Mild soreness and muscle aches are especially common post-chiropractic adjustment if your doctor has been doing muscle work. Sometimes prior to performing an adjustment, a chiropractor may need to loosen the surrounding muscles using pressure or special medical tools to improve the chance of movement.
You're going to experience some aching and soreness afterward if you've had muscle work done before an adjustment. This soreness usually greatly reduces or goes away entirely in 24 hours. If it persists longer than that call your doctor. The pain may be similar to what you experience following a deep tissue massage.
Additionally, if you're undergoing treatment for an injury of any kind, such as a dislocated joint, you may experience some pain at the site that was worked on. This is normal, though the pain should be a mild soreness and not extreme.
Similar to the aching and soreness you may experience if your chiropractor has performed muscle work before an adjustment, you may experience some bruising depending on the intensity of the work. This is normal, but again should be minimal and not severe.
Changes in Bowel Movements
Many people don't realize that chiropractic care can have an effect on the way our digestive system functions. If you've been feeling backed up lately, following a chiropractic adjustment you may find that this issue resolves itself.
Mild Cold Symptoms
You may experience what you recognize as symptoms of a cold following a chiropractic adjustment but don't worry, it's not contagious. This happens when there is a toxic release, or toxins start being eliminated from your body via chiropractic care. These symptoms are actually a positive sign, though again, should not be severe or chronic.
There are a variety of other symptoms that you may experience after visiting the chiropractor, and each person will vary in their individual experiences. Your doctor should tell you what to expect when they perform the procedure, and if they don't, please ask. Again, if you are ever concerned with a symptom you experience post-chiropractic adjustment, call your doctor to discuss what you're feeling, or seek immediate care if the symptom is serious.
What Are Some Things to Never Experience after a Visit to the Chiropractor?
While there are a variety of symptoms that are common post-chiropractic adjustment, there are also several things that you should never feel after being adjusted. Some of them can be extremely frightening and may signify a major problem, prompting immediate medical care.
Trouble with Speech
While muscle soreness is common post-chiropractic appointment, you should never experience trouble with, or loss of, speech. This can signify a major injury to your spinal cord and needs emergency medical attention immediately.
Sharp, Shooting Pains with Movement
Again, while certain levels of soreness are common, you should not experience new sharp, shooting pains with movement after visiting a chiropractor. This may signify a strain to a certain area, or that an area has become misaligned. If you experience sharp, shooting pains, especially shooting pain that travels, post-chiropractic treatment, call your doctor right away to discuss the symptoms.
Loss of Movement
While stiffness following a chiropractic visit may occur, you should never experience the loss of movement in any area of your body. Whether it's your neck, fingers, toes, or arms, there should never be a loss of movement. If you experience this symptom seek medical help right away.
While some patients may experience mild dizziness after a chiropractic adjustment, you should never lose consciousness following a visit to the chiropractor. If this occurs you should seek immediate care, even if you feel better immediately afterwards. Also, even if you believe that the two events are non-related, this symptom should be brought to your chiropractor's attention as soon as possible after you receive medical care.
Similar to loss of movement, you should not experience a new feeling of numbness anywhere in your body following a chiropractic adjustment. If you experience this symptom seek medical care immediately, as it may be the result of a nerve issue.
There are many symptoms that a patient may experience following a visit to the chiropractor. Some are completely harmless and normal, and others signify serious medical issues. Whether or not you think they are consequential, if you experience pain or any symptom of concern you should discuss these symptoms with your doctor.
Soreness After Chiropractor Visits
If you're worrying about being sore after chiropractor appointments, preparing yourself with some pre-visit expectations is essential. While some post-treatment discomfort may occur, usually, this isn't the case. Many common misconceptions regarding chiropractic treatment cause undue nervousness in patients.
First, many people worry that "chiropractors aren't real doctors." While chiropractors do not hold medical degrees (MDs), they have Doctor of Chiropractic degrees, making them highly advanced in their field. Additionally, many fear that the typical cracking and popping sounds associated with adjustments mean the treatment must hurt, which is rarely true. Others think that treatment just helps back and neck issues and don't know that chiropractic care for headaches, chronic health conditions, post-surgical recovery, and more is available.
Many don't experience any pain after chiropractic adjustments but rather feel immediate relief. Effective and targeted adjustments can have a real-time impact on pain points, meaning as soon as a muscle or joint aligns properly, all feels well. People often experience an increased range of motion, less stiffness, and significant pain reduction.
When You Do Feel Sore
If you're sore after chiropractor visits, this can also be a sign that your body is healing. Some dull aching or pain may present in the area, especially when treating muscles with built-up scar tissue. This is even more true if you're receiving treatment for recovery from an injury. Just as bones and muscles ache when they're out of place, it may take some time to feel "right" once they're in place again.
If you're undergoing physical therapy as part of your treatment plan, you may notice a temporary increase in pain following sessions. This is an entirely normal healing reaction as you rebuild strength. You're re-teaching your body how to work correctly, which can come with some discomfort. Some refer to this as "therapeutic discomfort." At your initial consultation, your chiropractor will discuss these expectations with you, provide an estimated "treatment recovery period," and re-assess your plan as you go for optimum results.
Addressing Apprehension, Fear, and Anxiety Through Open Communication
The fear of soreness after chiropractor visits is often one of the main hurdles patients overcome at the beginning of treatment. That's why we're here to help ease your mind, sitting down with you beforehand to provide an overview of treatment and address any questions or concerns.
We'll discuss your treatment recovery, any rehabilitation effects or possible rehabilitation reactions, and the complete healing process, and let you know what post-chiropractic soreness is normal and what's not. Chiropractic treatment can significantly help muscle soreness, back pain, headaches, and more, and we want you to feel entirely comfortable before you begin the process.
Often, patients find that after sessions, they feel better! A vast majority report no pain resulting from the treatment at all and instead feel relief, happy, and much more relaxed. Many say that their overall wellness levels improve, not just the point of pain we're treating.
At ChiroCare of Florida, we develop treatment plans that often accept insurance. If you're looking for a chiropractor Aetna covers, contact us for more information. We're here for you throughout your entire course of treatment, and there is no question that is too small to ask our experts. Our mission is to ensure each patient's safety and well-being as we help to relieve any pain and heal injuries.
Contact us today to schedule a chiropractic consultation and see if treatment is right for you.