Is It Normal To Feel Worse After Chiropractic Treatment?

For most people, chiropractic treatment makes their pain improve almost immediately. But this isn’t guaranteed to be the case. 

There’s nothing more frustrating than making the first steps towards improving your back pain, and then finding you feel worse after your first treatment. This is an understandable cause of concern for chiropractic patients, but we’re here to assure you that feeling stiffer, more tender or more uncomfortable after your chiropractic treatment is extremely common and, while annoying, isn’t something to worry about. 

Read on to understand why some patients can feel worse after their treatment, plus how you can help ease the process along and start to feel better quickly.

  • The nature of pain means you’re almost bound to feel worse before you feel better, whether you have an adjustment or not. It’s much like going up and down a hill – you have to reach the top before you can start an easier descent. Often, patients have chiropractic treatment at the height of their pain and still have to start the journey into full recovery. Chiropractic treatment jumpstarts this process and sometimes causes temporary discomfort before the body inevitably starts to feel better again.
  • Chiropractic treatment involves a slight movement of the vertebrae, which can lead to joint irritation. This can make you feel sore and uncomfortable before your body adapts to the change, much like when you first start working out at the gym and your muscles ache from the exercise. Over time, your body will adapt to these adjustments.
  • If you’re brand new to chiropractic care, there’s a good chance that years of spinal stiffness and muscle tension have built up in your body and may take some time to heal. Sometimes, your first treatment can make existing tension or pain seem more obvious because you’ve got so used to it over the years. This is perfectly normal and is an important step towards full recovery. 
  • Chiropractic treatment is a process, not a quick fix. While it’s true that many people feel better immediately after their first appointment, the nature of chiropractic work means that everyone needs to keep at it to enjoy the full benefits. Even if you feel sore and uncomfortable after your first treatment, it’s important to get your body used to the adjustments. 
  • If you’re feeling sore after your treatment, we would suggest going for short gentle walks and holding a hot water bottle against tight muscles or a cold pack against swelling or inflammation. Eating enough magnesium also helps to lessen cramps, which you can find in dark chocolate, avocados and fatty fish. It’s also a good idea to invest in a good Vitamin D supplement to maintain your bone health in the colder months.


If you are concerned about feeling sore after treatment then do have a chat with us so we can check you out.

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