If you're new to the world of chiropractic care, you may be wondering what is and isn't safe or conducive to recovery after receiving your first chiropractic adjustment. Or, even if you've been receiving chiropractic adjustments for years, you may suddenly be wondering if you've been hindering your treatment by participating in certain activities post-adjustment.
Chiropractors often discuss what you should do after a visit, but they don't always discuss the things you absolutely should not do. ChiroCare of Florida wants to ensure that our patients are as informed as possible, so that their chiropractic care is as effective as it can be. We want our patients' pain to reduce, and remain reduced as they go on to live better quality of lives post-chiropractic adjustment.
Things You Should Never Do after a Chiropractic Visit
There are a number of things that you should never do after a chiropractic visit. The reasons for refraining from certain activities after you have left your chiropractor's office include the possibility misaligning the spine again, worsening an injury, or causing a new injury. You may be reversing the progress of your treatment by doing the wrong things post-chiropractic adjustment.
Don't Go to Another form of Treatment Immediately Following Your Visit
While it may seem tempting to go to your masseuse immediately following a chiropractic adjustment, it may not be a good idea. This is because your chiropractor will want to know how effective the treatment you received at their office was.
Did it help with your pain? Did the stiffness you were experiencing improve? Can you move your knee better now? These are all common questions chiropractors have for patients after their first visits. Each chiropractor can use different chiropractic adjustment techniques based on the type of pain you're experiencing and if you've gone directly from one form of treatment, such as a chiropractic adjustment, to another, such as massage therapy, it will be difficult to tell which method the improvement came from. This makes if difficult to develop the best course of treatment for a patient.
Don't Think of a Chiropractic Adjustment as a One-and-Done Solution
Treating issues with the spine or muscles is an on-going process, and is one that can take time. If you've suffered an injury due to a slip and fall, playing sports, or in a car accident for example, healing will take time. A single chiropractic adjustment is not likely to solve the issues a patient presents.
While it may bring some immediate relief, your course of treatment will need to continue on to ensure that you heal to the fullest extent possible. You should follow your chiropractor's advice on when to receive your next adjustment. They may recommend that you come more frequently at first, and then gradually step down to longer spans between visits as your condition improves.
Don't Go Home and Try to Re-Adjust Yourself
This is common and it's a hard thing to avoid. Everyone feels the need to crack their neck, or turn around in their seat to crack their back once in a while. If you're receiving chiropractic care for an injury or condition, however, this is one of the worst things that you can do.
A chiropractor goes through many years of school and extensive training, studying the bones and muscles of the body to learn how they interact and how to identify medical issues. Trying to adjust yourself, or asking a friend to something such as walk on your back, can cause a lot more harm than good. Not only can it reverse the work your chiropractor has done post-adjustment, but it poses a great risk for injury.
Don't Immediately Participate in Strenuous Activity or Exercise
Especially if you're seeking care for an injury, it's extremely important that you don't participate in vigorous exercise or strenuous activity immediately following an adjustment. If you're seeking care for a condition such as a joint dislocation, muscle, or ligament tear, or serious sprain, immediately returning to intense exercise can cause much more damage.
Your muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones need time to heal, and just because you have received a chiropractic adjustment doesn't mean that you're ready to return to the game full force. Instead, speak with your chiropractor to develop an exercise plan for your recovery. Your chiropractor may want to see how your range of motion improves in a torn shoulder, for example, before giving the okay to return to sports.
In addition to refraining from sports or heavy exercise post-chiropractic adjustment, you should avoid things such as lifting or moving heavy objects (like furniture), climbing on ladders, etc. This is another way to possibly re-injure or prevent healing in the area you are seeking treatment for.
But, Don't Just Sit around All Day
Post-chiropractic adjustment does require your body to maintain some movement to see the best effects. It's been shown that sitting for extended periods of time can cause strain on your back, increasing the risk of herniated and compressed spinal disks.
Maintaining light movement, by walking, doing light chores around the house, or errands around town is actually good for your back post-adjustment. This is because it helps your spine get used to the changes caused by the adjustment and can actually help the adjustment to hold. If you're stuck at your desk all day for work make an attempt to get up every 30-60 minutes for a quick walk around the office to help relieve the tension that builds up in your back.
Don't Ignore What Your Body Is Telling You
Do you suddenly feel like you're in more pain than before you received a chiropractic adjustment? Are you experiencing stiffness in an area that never bothered you before, or are you just unsure if you're supposed to feel the way you feel?
While mild soreness can be common after some chiropractic treatments, you should never ignore what your body is trying to tell you. If you feel that something just isn't right, or if you're wondering if what you're feeling is normal, pick up the phone and call your chiropractor. They will be happy to answer any questions or concerns you have regarding your treatment and any side effects. If you experience anything extreme, such as loss of movement, seek immediate medical attention.
Never Ignore Your Chiropractor's Medical Advice
Listening to the advice of your chiropractor is a crucial part of treatment. After all, they are a trained medical professional who has treated injuries and conditions such as yours many times. The advice that they give is always for your benefit, and not because they don't want you to have fun.
While it may be tempting to play basketball on a Saturday afternoon, if your chiropractor advises against it due to your knee injury, it's important that you listen to their advice. If you're concerned that the instructions your chiropractor has provided either aren't necessary or aren't possible, communicate with them. You chiropractor will be able to go over your treatment plan with you, explaining why certain activities are okay and why others aren't.
If you're concerned that you won't be able to adhere to certain parts of your treatment plan, let your chiropractor know up front. If they know the way you feel, they may be able to develop another effective plan with you, enabling you to heal and return to your everyday activities as quickly as possible.
Things You Should Do Following a Chiropractic Adjustment
With all this talk of things you should never do following a chiropractic adjustment, you may be wondering what you should be doing after you leave the office. Here are a few things that will help your chiropractic adjustment be as beneficial as possible, and help you to feel your best post-chiropractic adjustment.
- Stay hydrated. Drinking lots of water is always good for you, but after a chiropractic adjustment it's even better. Drinking water will help keep your muscles and spine flexible.
- Sleep in correct posture. It's recommended that after seeking chiropractic care you sleep either on your back or on your side. If you need extra support to stay in these positions you can use pillows, or purchase a full body pillow.
- Schedule a follow-up appointment. Your chiropractor will want to schedule your next appointment to make sure that your treatment is working and evaluate next steps in the process.
After a chiropractic visit there are many things that you should and shouldn't do to ensure you get the most out of your visit as possible. The only way to know for sure the limitations that apply to you is to speak with your chiropractor and follow their advice.
If you're seeking chiropractic adjustment or care contact us today to schedule a consultation. We provide care to people of all ages, for a wide variety of conditions. With offices located throughout South Florida, we're never too far away.