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Is It Normal to Be Sore After an Adjustment?

chiropractic-adjusting-equipment-sq-400You might have found yourself asking, “Hey Doc, is it normal if I am sore after an adjustment?” The simple answer is it’s common, especially if it’s your first time getting adjusted. The body’s response can vary based on factors like age. For instance, a 50-year-old is likely to experience more soreness compared to a 16-year-old.

The Possible Reasons

But what might cause the soreness? For starters, inflammation. Many people who live with chronic pain have a lot of fibrotic or scar tissue in their bodies. An adjustment can cause inflammation as it breaks up scar tissue. It’s similar to the stiffness experienced after a vigorous workout at the gym.

Reactivating the Mind-Body Connection

Anyone who’s had chronic pain and long-standing joint damage, coupled with new nerve endings called nociceptors, will most likely experience post-adjustment soreness. These nociceptors, being sensitive to pain, “turn up the volume” on the pain receptors. However, retraining your brain to understand that movement is safe and normal will gradually dial down the pain. Regular adjustments usually help to complete this retraining over approximately four to six sessions.

What Can Be Done to Alleviate the Soreness?

While feeling sore after the first few adjustments is typical, certain measures can help ease the discomfort. For instance, using ice after an adjustment can help decrease inflammation. Additionally, staying active is a key part of recovery. The more movement introduced to the joints, the faster the brain adapts to the changes.

Lastly, it’s important to note that even regular patients with years of chiropractic experience could occasionally feel sore after an adjustment. Several factors, such as dehydration, poor sleep, and sedentary lifestyles, could contribute to this—sort of like a recipe for soreness.

So, is it normal to be sore after an adjustment? Yes, it could be. However, such occurrences usually decrease with frequent visits and eventually lead to a healthier body movement pattern.

Have further questions on this or other chiropractic-related topics? Let Dr. Dan or Dr. Pascal know during your next appointment or email us at


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