“Help – My Back Hurts More After a Chiropractic Adjustment!”

Many people seeking help from a chiropractor are suffering from back pain or discomfort; in essence, they’re looking for that much-needed pain relief from a medical professional. But what happens when your back pain is worse after a chiropractor visit? Does that mean that the treatment didn’t work? 

The short answer: no.

But in order to understand why this happens, we need to understand what the treatment entails when you enter chiropractic care.

What It Means if Your Back Pain Is Worse After a Chiropractor Visit

It’s not uncommon for patients to leave a chiropractic visit feeling sore or sometimes may even feel worse than when they came in. If this has happened to you, don’t panic! This is one of the normal potential side effects of visiting the chiropractor

You see, chiropractors use non-invasive treatments to help properly align your musculoskeletal system. This can treat a variety of conditions, including: 

  • Migraines
  • Knee, back, shoulder, and neck pain
  • Whiplash
  • Range of motion issues
  • Sciatica after a car accident
  • Herniated discs
  • And more

Why Your Back May Hurt More

In the process of treatment that involves spinal manipulation as well as the movement of muscles and joints, it’s not uncommon for the muscles to have to adjust to the movement, which results in soreness. 

This soreness, it’s worth noting, is related to the movement of the bones and not the pressure applied by the chiropractor. This is one reason your back hurts more after a chiropractic visit. Over time, your body will acclimate to these adjustments, meaning you’ll feel less soreness. You can also apply an ice pack and heat pad to help reduce the length of the soreness. 

If your soreness is persistent and debilitating, consider seeing a physical therapist as there may be other issues affecting your back. 

In other words, lower back pain that’s worse after a chiropractic adjustment is nothing to worry about – unless it becomes severe, but we’ll touch on that below. 

Aside from a sore back, you may also feel ill following a chiropractor visit – but this is, counterintuitively, a good thing! 

Are You Feeling Ill After a Session With a Chiropractor?

A proper alignment will jumpstart your immune system. Think of it like getting a flu shot or vaccine: you may feel sick following the treatment, but that’s just your body improving its defenses for when it actually faces an illness. 

Your back also impacts your digestive system, so you may see a change in bowel movements in addition to a sore back after a chiropractic adjustment. This won’t last long and is usually nothing to worry about. 

However, if you do have IBS or other digestive issues and find that they are exacerbated following an adjustment,  you should consult medical professionals regarding how best to proceed with your treatment. 

How Do You Know if You’re Experiencing Typical Back Pain After a Chiropractic Adjustment

As mentioned above, some back pain after an adjustment is normal; that doesn’t mean that all pain is. 

If you’re experiencing severe pain, soreness, or other issues following your chiropractic adjustment, then you should consult with your chiropractor, physician, and physical therapist. 

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A good rule of thumb: if the pain is minor or on the lower end of moderate (i.e. doesn’t impair your ability to go about your day as normal and dissipates in a few hours to a day or so) then you’re in the clear. 

If, however, it persists longer than a few days or is very acute, you should again consult a medical professional. 

Avoiding Back Pain After a Chiropractor Visit With Customized Care

One of the best ways to prevent your back pain from getting worse after a chiropractic adjustment is to ensure that you’re seeing medical providers who will take the time to understand your needs and build a personalized treatment plan. 

Too often patients receive a one-size-fits-all treatment which can result in undue back soreness and pain following treatment. 

You won’t have to worry about that, however, at White Pine Health. 

We personalize all our treatment plans to fit your specific needs. This ensures that your treatment will minimize post-adjustment soreness and pain while providing long-term pain relief. 

We offer a full range of physiotherapy, massage therapy, and athletic therapy in addition to chiropractic services, ensuring that you’re benefitting from a full spectrum of medical professionals. 

White Pine Health offers virtual physiotherapy sessions, giving you access to health-improving physiotherapy care right from home. Contact us to book a free 20-minute video session today.

Tahmineh (Tammy) Kamza

Physiotherapist Dry Needling Provider Hydrotherapist   Tammy graduated from the University of Toronto with an “Honors in Science” and obtained her Doctorate in Physical Therapy in the United States. Her thesis, ‘Effects Of Exercise In Falls Prevention In Community-Dwelling Older Adults’ took almost 2 years to complete. She finished her manual therapy designations from trained professionals of St. Augustine University in Florida. Finally, got her Dry Needling certification from the prestigious organization Kinetacore, a leading post-graduate program in North America. Aside from manual therapy and dry needling, she is well versed in hydrotherapy, taping and corrective exercise. She is a true believer in active therapy, thus her treatment goals always include an emphasis on physical activity with aim of improving client’s functional abilities.

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