Is It Normal to Feel Worse After Seeing a Chiropractor?

Oct 7, 2020

Is It Normal to Feel Worse After Seeing a ChiropractorWith so much technology, we are often used to instant gratification in current society. We can transfer money, talk to family, and find information in seconds. So it might be hard to accept that when you visit a Snellville chiropractor, you may not be relieved of all pain right away. You may feel doubtful that your adjustment worked when you leave feeling sore- but this is actually very normal! If you feel worse after your appointment, there’s no need to worry, and the good news is the discomfort will usually subside within 24 hours.

Reasons for Soreness After an Adjustment

At first, it may feel counterintuitive to learn that a chiropractic adjustment meant to relieve pain can lead to immediate discomfort. But when you understand the way the spine and body work, there are a few good reasons this happens.


A chiropractic adjustment is the first step to help your body heal from something as serious as a car accident injury or misalignment, but it is merely kicking off the process. As a reaction to the gentle adjustment, you will experience temporary soreness and fatigue, in a phenomenon known as retracing. Retracting is a direct response to the removal of misalignments in the spine.

The reason for your pain before an adjustment is a spinal path that is blocked, crooked, or obstructed in some way. This leaves the nervous system hindered so that communication throughout your body is impacted negatively. By visiting a Snellville chiropractor, you are taking the right steps to revive that communication.

As the body returns to alignment, this is the process known as retracing. It may feel painful because it is responding to a number of stimuli at the same time, as nerve function is restored, toxins are released from the body, and body fluids begin to freely move across the body again. This can send your body into a short, temporary panic mode that manifests as soreness until the new state of health sets in.

Discomfort in the Muscles

In general, muscles are sensitive to physical manipulations and pressure- this is why they are often sore after a new workout. Muscles that have tensed in response to pain may be released during an adjustment, leaving them tender from the extra work they have been doing. This can lead to soreness.

This does not mean that your muscles are sore because of the gentle adjustment your chiropractor has performed- the force is applied in a calculated manner designed to allow this relaxation. Joint manipulation can also send signals to the muscles that lead to tenderness and pain, making this feeling a sign that your adjustment was successful.


During an adjustment, your muscles may be moved in a manner unfamiliar to them, causing sensations you are not used to. Muscles are particularly susceptible to reflexes that can be triggered by the hands-on approach, which may be triggered to reset muscle tone. This can lead to reflexes that calm the body, but in some cases, they may also cause soreness and tenderness.

Ways to Handle Post-Adjustment Pain

For most people, these effects will subside in about 24 hours and do not require any intervention. It is also true that the more adjustments you have, the less pain you are likely to experience after each one. Your muscles become familiar with the type of manipulation and react less intensely, and as you address your misalignments, the body has less retracing to do.

However, if your soreness persists or is causing you severe discomfort, there are a number of ways you can manage the pain naturally.

  • Heat and Ice: Alternating a heating pad and an ice pack is often a great way to reduce pain. The heat will allow better circulation, while the ice will reduce inflammation. Neither should be applied for over 20 minutes at a time.
  • Massage: Lightly massaging any sore areas yourself can help improve blood flow. Do not press hard enough to cause yourself any further pain.
  • Stretching: Walking, swinging the aching body part around, or gentle exercises suggested by your chiropractor can all improve blood flow and speed up healing.
  • Hydration: Being well hydrated before an adjustment provides cushioning for your muscles, but it can also be helpful after the fact. Drinking water regularly will prevent general muscle pain as well!

At AICA Snellville, our chiropractors take a gentle and natural approach to your adjustments, always seeking to help reduce pain as much as possible. If you are at all nervous about visiting a Snellville chiropractor, our team will walk you through the process and answer any questions so that you feel prepared for what will happen both during and after your adjustment. Contact us today to get started!