Pain is the main complaint patients have when they come to see Dr. Nathen Horst for the first time. Whether it is for a tight lower back, frozen shoulder, or sore neck, patients all want relief from their pain. However, they may not be prepared for even more pain immediately following an adjustment. When this happens, some patients will simply assume chiropractic adjustments are not useful. They may either go to another chiropractor, or give up on it altogether.
No Pain, No Gain
Patients may be surprised to find out that not only is short-term increased pain perfectly normal after a chiropractic adjustment, but it may actually be a vital part of the healing process. If the spine is out of proper alignment, it (along with the attached muscles and tendons) will be under a great deal of stress. Over time, this can result in a buildup of toxins.
When the chiropractic adjustment properly realigns the spine, these stresses are released, along with the toxins. The end result of this toxin release may be a temporary increase in pain, usually lasting no more than 24 hours after the adjustment. The pressure from the adjustment may also cause headaches, pain, muscle cramps, or joint stiffness. Patients are highly encouraged to call Dr. Horst’s office to schedule a follow up visit if their symptoms do not subside after 24 hours.
Reducing the Pain
There are several things patients can do to alleviate or reduce pain following a chiropractic adjustment.
- Keep hydrated: Drinking plenty of water after a chiropractic appointment will help flush the released toxins out of the system that much faster. The sooner the toxins can be flushed out of the system, the faster the pain or other side effects of the adjustment will begin to subside.
- Cold or heat: Ice packs or cold compresses may help relieve pain. Apply the ice pack for 20 minutes every two hours. In other cases, a heating pad may help reduce pain and cramping. Discuss with Dr. Horst whether to use cold, heat, or a combination of the two to help give relief.
- Pain relieving medications: Over the counter medications can be taken for headaches and muscle soreness. Take as directed on the bottle.
- Strengthening exercises: Exercises such as yoga and Pilates, between chiropractic adjustments, will help keep the spine and overall core strong. The movements are slow and gentle, which will not place excessive strain on the spine. They will also help the body hold the adjustment for a longer period of time.
- Getting a good night’s sleep: Getting a proper amount of rest after a chiropractic adjustment will help reduce the amount of pain the patient experiences. When we are asleep, the body is healing itself by reducing inflammation. Make certain the mattress is firm enough to properly support the spine. Sleeping on either the right or left side in a fetal position will also help protect the spine.
When patients understand that a temporary increase in pain level is a perfectly natural response to a chiropractic adjustment, they can be reassured. This will also help their healing process.
Contact Horst Chiropractic today.