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Does Chiropractic Hurt? Find Out the Truth

Massage therapist giving a deep tissue massage.

“Does getting a chiropractic adjustment hurt?” is a question that sparks curiosity and concern in equal measure. Many people wonder if the benefits of chiropractic care come at the cost of enduring pain. The truth, however, is that chiropractic treatments are designed to be as comfortable as possible and are performed with precision and care. In this article, Essential Chiropractic aims to dispel myths and provide transparent insights into what you can expect during your adjustments. Let’s dive into the nuances of chiropractic care and uncover why it might be the solution you’re looking for without unnecessary pain.

Does Chiropractic Hurt During an Adjustment?

Chiropractic adjustments generally do not hurt. Most people experience a sensation of mild pressure as the chiropractor performs the adjustment. This pressure is often accompanied by a popping or cracking sound, which is the release of gas bubbles in the joints. The experience is usually more startling than painful. However, if you have a more serious condition, temporary pain might occur as the chiropractor addresses the underlying issue.

A common concern is that chiropractic adjustments might involve significant pain or discomfort. This is typically not the case. During an adjustment, the chiropractor aims to help locked or injured joints move again without straining or spraining them. The temporary discomfort that may arise is usually due to the specific area being treated, especially if it is inflamed or injured. This discomfort is short-lived and often followed by a sense of relief and improved mobility.

Common concerns or myths about chiropractic pain:

  • Chiropractic adjustments are always painful.
  • The cracking sound during an adjustment indicates something is breaking.
  • Adjustments can cause severe injuries.
  • Only people with severe pain need chiropractic care.
  • Chiropractors are not real doctors.

Post-adjustment, it is common to experience some minor soreness or stiffness. This is similar to the discomfort you might feel after a vigorous workout. As your body adjusts to the realignment, these sensations typically dissipate within a day or two. Applying an ice pack to the affected area can help alleviate any residual soreness. Overall, the benefits of improved mobility and pain relief far outweigh the temporary discomfort experienced during or after the adjustment.

Common Side Effects of Chiropractic Adjustments

After a chiropractic adjustment, it is common to experience side effects such as soreness, stiffness, and mild discomfort. These sensations typically arise due to the body realigning and adapting to changes made during the treatment.

The reason for these side effects is primarily due to the healing process. Chiropractic adjustments target inflamed or injured tissues and muscles, which can lead to temporary soreness as they begin to recover. This is a normal part of the body’s response as it starts to correct and heal the affected areas.

To alleviate post-adjustment soreness, applying an ice pack to the affected area can be very effective. Regular applications of ice can help reduce inflammation and ease any discomfort you might feel. Additionally, gentle stretching and staying hydrated can also support the healing process and minimise soreness.

It is important to note that these side effects are generally mild and temporary. Most patients find that any discomfort subsides within a day or two. The overall benefits of improved mobility and pain relief far outweigh the short-term discomfort experienced after a chiropractic adjustment.

Addressing Common Myths: Does Chiropractic Hurt?

Chiropractic manipulation is generally not painful. The purpose of an adjustment is to help locked or injured joints move again without straining or spraining them. Many people mistakenly believe that chiropractic adjustments are inherently painful due to the popping or cracking sounds heard during the process. However, these sounds are simply the release of gas bubbles in the joints and are not indicative of pain or damage. Most patients experience a sensation of mild pressure, and any discomfort is usually minimal and temporary.



Chiropractic adjustments are always painful.

Most adjustments involve mild pressure and are not painful.

The cracking sound means something is breaking.

The sound is the release of gas bubbles in the joints.

Chiropractors are not real doctors.

Chiropractors are trained and licensed professionals.

Chiropractic care can cause severe injuries.

When performed correctly, chiropractic care is safe and effective.

The safety of chiropractic treatment is well-established. Millions of people worldwide undergo chiropractic treatments daily with very few side effects reported. The key to a safe and effective chiropractic experience lies in choosing a registered and licensed professional. These practitioners undergo extensive training to ensure they can provide care that helps improve mobility and alleviate pain without causing harm. Studies and patient testimonials consistently show that chiropractic care is a safe and effective treatment method for a variety of musculoskeletal issues.

What to Expect During Your First Chiropractic Visit

During your first chiropractic visit, the chiropractor will conduct an initial assessment to identify the underlying issues causing your discomfort. This assessment often includes a detailed medical history, a physical examination, and, if necessary, in-house x-rays to get a clearer picture of your spine and musculoskeletal structure. This comprehensive evaluation helps the chiropractor pinpoint the specific areas that need treatment and develop a tailored plan to address your concerns.

Steps during the first chiropractic visit:

  1. Medical History Review: The chiropractor will ask about your medical history, including past injuries, surgeries, and current symptoms.
  2. Physical Examination: A thorough physical examination will be conducted to assess your range of motion, posture, and spinal alignment.
  3. In-House X-Rays: If needed, x-rays will be taken to provide a detailed view of your spine and identify any abnormalities.
  4. Diagnosis: Based on the assessment and x-rays, the chiropractor will diagnose the specific issues causing your pain or discomfort.
  5. Treatment Plan Discussion: The chiropractor will explain the proposed treatment plan, including the types of adjustments and the expected duration of the treatment.
  6. Initial Adjustment: If appropriate, the chiropractor may perform an initial adjustment to begin addressing the identified issues.
    It is important to understand that the initial pain or discomfort that brought you to the clinic may not be completely resolved after the first adjustment. Chiropractic care often requires multiple sessions to achieve full relief and long-term benefits. The chiropractor will schedule follow-up visits to monitor your progress and make necessary adjustments to your treatment plan. Each session builds on the previous one, gradually improving your mobility and reducing pain.

Testimonials and Expert Opinions on Chiropractic Pain

A common reason people delay visiting a chiropractor is the fear of pain. Sarah, a long-time sufferer of back pain, was initially apprehensive. “I was really worried that the adjustments would hurt,” she recalls. “But after my first session, I was pleasantly surprised by the relief I felt without any significant discomfort.”

Dr. Justin Cough, D.C., who graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic, underscores the safety and minimal pain involved in chiropractic adjustments. “The pressure felt during an adjustment is usually mild, and any discomfort is typically brief,” he explains. “Our goal is to facilitate natural healing and sustainability for our patients.” Dr. Cough’s extensive background in coaching various sports further supports his expertise in providing effective, pain-minimising treatments.

Misconceptions about chiropractic care often stem from a lack of knowledge. Patients frequently believe that the popping sounds during adjustments signal pain or damage, which is not the case. These sounds are simply the release of gas bubbles in the joints. Medical professionals also sometimes share these misconceptions, leading to unfounded scepticism about chiropractic practices.

Knowledge is crucial in alleviating fears about chiropractic adjustments. Understanding that these treatments are designed to improve mobility and relieve pain without causing significant discomfort can help patients feel more at ease. Expert opinions and positive testimonials play a vital role in debunking myths and reassuring those considering chiropractic care.

Final Words

Chiropractic adjustments are generally not painful. Patients may feel mild pressure and hear a popping sound as gas bubbles release in the joints. Though addressing serious issues might lead to temporary pain, most experience minimal discomfort.

Common side effects like soreness and stiffness are part of the body’s healing process and can be alleviated with ice packs. When carried out by registered professionals, chiropractic care is safe and effective.

Understanding that chiropractors aim to help the body move freely can dispel fears about pain. Embrace the benefits of chiropractic treatment and achieve optimal wellbeing.


What toxins are released after chiropractic adjustment?

A: Chiropractic adjustments can potentially release stored toxins from inflamed or injured tissues, which the body then eliminates through its natural processes, such as urination and sweating.

What are the disadvantages of chiropractic care?

A: Some disadvantages of chiropractic care include the potential for temporary pain, the need for multiple sessions for full relief, and possible soreness or stiffness post-treatment.

What do doctors think of chiropractors?

A: Many doctors acknowledge the benefits of chiropractic care, especially for musculoskeletal issues, but opinions vary widely, with some sceptical about its broader claims.

How do chiropractors know where to adjust?

A: Chiropractors determine the areas to adjust through a combination of patient history, physical examination, and sometimes imaging tools like x-rays.

What are the chiropractic benefits and disadvantages?

A: Chiropractic benefits include pain relief, improved mobility, and non-invasive treatment. Disadvantages may involve temporary pain, multiple sessions, and potential soreness or stiffness.

Is chiropractic pseudoscience?

A: Chiropractic is not pseudoscience; it is a recognised healthcare profession focusing on diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal issues, with a strong evidence base supporting its effectiveness.

What does a chiropractor do for lower back pain?

A: Chiropractors treat lower back pain through spinal adjustments, which realign the spine, reduce nerve irritation, and improve mobility and function.

Does the chiropractor hurt the first time?

A: The initial chiropractic adjustment may cause mild discomfort or soreness, which is generally short-lived and similar to post-exercise pain.

Do chiropractic adjustments hurt?

A: Chiropractic adjustments are generally not painful, though temporary discomfort or soreness may occur, especially if addressing more serious issues.

Is it actually good to go to a chiropractor?

A: Yes, visiting a chiropractor can be beneficial for treating and managing musculoskeletal issues, improving mobility, and reducing pain through non-invasive techniques.

What are the chances of getting hurt at the chiropractor?

A: The chances of getting hurt at a chiropractor are very low when treatment is performed by a registered and licensed professional. Chiropractic care is considered safe and effective.

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