Why is Pain After An Adjustment Sometimes Worse?

Most patients that we see in our office get excellent results after adjustments.  They feel like they have more range of motion, less pain and feel like they have a better quality of life.  But what happens, if after an adjustment, you actually feel worse or the pain seems to increase?  Is it because the doctor did something wrong?  Most likely not and I will explain why.

Most of the patients that walk through our doors are looking for some type of pain relief or a decrease of the current symptoms that they presently have.  Most of these issues are problems that have been there for quite some time and have just recently manifested themselves as pain or some other type of problem.

Our bodies are great at being able to function when we have these types of issues without too much pain or uncomfortableness.  The body changes the way muscles work and change how the joints move, to help reinforce and pick up the slack for the joint that is not functioning properly.  This is a great temporary fix and can last for months or even years.  There comes a time though, when those muscles and joints can no longer pick up the slack and that is usually when symptoms begin (low back pain, hip pain, shoulder pain, headaches, etc.)

This is the point where most individuals seek out help from our offices.  After that first adjustment, people expect to feel better, and when the pain does not change or gets worse, frustration and confusion sets in.  What I always like to tell my patients after their first adjustment is to not be alarmed if the pain gets worse.  It’s like getting back into an exercise routine for the first time after a long layoff.  Your muscles and ligaments in your body are going to be a littler sore because they aren’t used to being pulled and stretched.  The same thing happens after an adjustment.  Your body is beginning to reset itself and is stretching muscles and ligaments and starting the road back to “normal.”

Understanding the change in symptoms and being proactive about helping to manage them, like icing the affected area and not allowing the pain to keep you in sedentary positions, will help you recover faster and allow the doctor to give you adjustments that are more effective to get you back on track.  If you are fed up with pain or are dealing with chronic issues that seem to continue to crop up, a visit to one of our offices may be a good idea to see if the issue is being caused by nerve pressure.


-Dr. Bradley Mealy

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