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What Does an Adjustment Feel Like?

When it comes to doctors, dentists, and chiropractors, many individuals have an innate fear. Whether the reluctance comes from fear of a negative diagnosis, undesired physical contact, or fear of the unknown, it seems all too common that people put off medical treatments. While some individuals might find visiting a chiropractor for the first time to be exhilarating, the reality is that many individuals are afraid of what is unknown to them or erroneously believe that chiropractor visits may be painful. When it comes to missed or unscheduled medical or dental appointments, fear of pain is often cited as one of the top reasons.

Historically, treatment from a chiropractic doctor began as an alternative to surgery and pharmaceutical drugs. Fast-forward to today, the Journal of the American Medical Association still recommends chiropractic treatment before resorting to an invasive procedure. Chiropractic care is a safe and effective branch of medical care that is beneficial for relieving pain and improving many ailments, thereby promoting healing, and restoring individuals to optimum physical health.

If you are still feeling apprehensive, make an appointment with our healthcare professionals to discuss how we may help you and answer any questions you may have by calling (866) 668-0108. You may feel relieved after knowing just what to expect, and as always, there is no commitment required. One of the most important things to note is that chiropractic adjustments relieve pain and never induce it.

However, many individuals still wonder just what they may be in for if they decide to receive chiropractic therapy. Therefore, we created a list of six things you may not know about when it comes to receiving an adjustment from a chiropractor:

1. Chiropractic Adjustments Don’t Hurt

One of the most prominent reasons people avoid going to see a chiropractor is the belief that adjustments will be painful. Adjustments made by a chiropractic doctor may be a bit uncomfortable initially. Still, frequently many patients wish they had seen us sooner. If you have ever popped your own back or neck, you will have a good idea of what an adjustment may feel like. Many individuals often equate this sensation with relief, and some even say that it feels good. Restoring the spine’s alignment and putting joints back into a full range of motion is often relieving and offers resolve from painful pressures and medical impairments. Adjustments are painless but may feel slightly uncomfortable, depending upon the amount of tension or inflammation in the area being worked on. Like any other exercise or therapy, some individuals may feel somewhat sore or tender after treatment, especially after the first session, but this is considered normal and is not described as painful. Feeling slightly dizzy after a session is also a normal side effect. However, the benefits of chiropractic medicine far outweigh any minimal side effects, which are exponentially less than traditional drug therapies, injections, or surgeries.

2. Popping or Cracking Noises Are Normal

When a joint in the body is adjusted, you will often hear a vacuum sound of gas being released inside the fluid found within every joint. This action may be thought of as being similar to a suction cup being pulled off of something and creating a popping sound. This sound is not bones being cracked or broken and contrary to myth, popping your joints is not harmful. However, not every adjustment will make a cracking sound. Many adjustments may not make any audible noise. It is a common misconception that no noise means that the adjustment wasn’t successful. Low force adjustments or joints that do not have a gas build-up will not create a sound. Often the “scariest” adjustment that people are fretful about is the popping of the neck. While this may make a loud audible popping noise, neck adjustments are safe and effective.

3. You Will Feel Changes Almost Instantly

Depending on the medical issues you are experiencing and the severity of any problems, almost everyone will feel an improvement immediately after receiving an adjustment. However, suppose your condition has gone untreated for some time. In that event, you may feel a bit off when getting adjusted to the proper alignment, as your body has been accustomed to being out of alignment for so long. Responses to adjustments can vary, and most everyone reports having positive change, having more flexibility in certain areas, and feeling more relaxed. You may, however, feel tired after a session, akin to a heavy workout at the gym. This is normal. Muscles that have been stuck in improper positions for some time may feel sore from being worked.

4. There Are Internal Changes That You Might Not Feel

While some changes after an adjustment you will feel right away, others you may not feel at all. Yet, internal changes still happen after an adjustment. When normal energy flow is restored and the central nervous system can communicate freely, you will notice changes in how you feel. Your central nervous system controls internal organs, hormones, and millions of cells. Studies have additionally shown that chiropractic adjustments stimulate the thalamus, a region in the brain known for its roles in motor and sensory processing, as well as emotions and alertness. Adjustments also have been proven to relieve inflammation, reduce stress, and improve the immune system.

5. These Changes Are Verifiable

Changes after chiropractic adjustment sometimes may not be seen or felt. This can make it difficult to tell whether or not an adjustment was successful. For example, a 2013 study published by the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapies found that changes in the subject’s spine were apparent on an MRI, even though the subjects stated they felt little to no changes. Additionally, a study in 2007 found that chiropractic adjustments improve brain function and overall body health. Additional studies have shown that chiropractic therapies reduce cortisol, increase sleep patterns, and even reduce behavioral health symptoms. After adjustments, you should notice improved performance or increased mobility, improved energy levels, and improved cognitive function.

6. Toxic Release After Chiropractic Adjustment

After your first adjustments, you may feel symptoms similar to a slight cold or flu and may be referred to as toxic release after an adjustment. Roughly ⅕ of all first-time patients experience these symptoms. However, do not fret, as this is a good sign! The release of toxins is a sign that the body is healing. When it comes to toxic release, you may experience (or not at all):

  • Minor headaches
  • Night sweats
  • Runny nose
  • Stuffy nose
  • Fatigue

Again, most individuals do not experience these symptoms at all, but if you do, do not worry! They are temporary and signify that your body is on the mend and is releasing toxins that have built up in the body.