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Chiropractic Adjustment Side Effects: What You Need to Know

Understanding Chiropractic Adjustments

Chiropractic care is a popular form of alternative medicine that focuses on diagnosing and treating mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system, particularly the spine. While it’s generally considered safe, it’s important to understand the potential side effects that can occur after a chiropractic adjustment.

The Role of Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care is based on the belief that the body has the ability to heal itself if given the right conditions. Chiropractors aim to create these conditions by correcting spinal misalignments, known as subluxations, which they believe can interfere with the nervous system and result in various health problems.

The Process of Chiropractic Adjustments

During a chiropractic adjustment, the chiropractor applies controlled force to specific joints, moving them beyond their usual range of motion. This is often accompanied by a popping or cracking sound, which is the release of gas trapped between the joints.

Common Side Effects of Chiropractic Adjustments

Temporary Discomfort and Soreness

It’s common to experience some discomfort or soreness in the area of the body that was adjusted. This is similar to the muscle soreness you might feel after a vigorous workout. It usually subsides within a few days.

Headaches and Dizziness

Some patients may experience headaches or dizziness after an adjustment. These symptoms are usually temporary and can be relieved by drinking plenty of water and resting.

Fatigue and Cold-like Symptoms

In some cases, patients may feel fatigued or even have cold-like symptoms after an adjustment. This is often a sign that the body is adjusting to the treatment and working to heal itself.

Less Common Side Effects

Worsening of Underlying Conditions

In rare cases, a chiropractic adjustment may exacerbate an existing condition. If you have a chronic health condition, it’s important to discuss this with your chiropractor before receiving treatment.

Stroke: A Rare but Serious Side Effect

Although extremely rare, there have been reports of strokes occurring after chiropractic adjustments, particularly those involving the neck. It’s believed that the rapid movements can cause a tear in the artery walls, leading to a stroke.

Minimizing Side Effects: Tips and Tricks

Post-Adjustment Care

After a chiropractic adjustment, it’s important to take care of yourself. This includes staying hydrated, eating a balanced diet, and getting plenty of rest. These simple steps can help your body recover and minimize any potential side effects.

Staying Hydrated and Active

Drinking plenty of water can help flush out any toxins that may have been released during the adjustment. Light exercise, such as walking or stretching, can also help reduce muscle soreness and stiffness.

When to Seek Medical Help

Recognizing Serious Side Effects

While most side effects of chiropractic adjustments are mild and temporary, it’s important to be aware of the signs of more serious complications. These can include severe headaches, loss of sensation or strength in the arms or legs, difficulty speaking, or loss of consciousness.

The Importance of Prompt Medical Attention

If you experience any serious side effects after a chiropractic adjustment, seek medical attention immediately. Early intervention can help prevent long-term complications and ensure your safety.


Chiropractic adjustments can be an effective treatment for various health issues, particularly those related to the musculoskeletal system. However, like any medical procedure, it’s not without potential side effects. By understanding what to expect and how to care for yourself after an adjustment, you can maximize the benefits of chiropractic care while minimizing any potential risks.


  1. What should I do if I feel severe pain after a chiropractic adjustment? If you experience severe pain after an adjustment, it’s important to contact your chiropractor or seek medical attention immediately.
  2. Are there any conditions that make chiropractic adjustments unsafe? Certain conditions, such as severe osteoporosis, spinal cancer, or an increased risk of stroke, may make chiropractic adjustments unsafe. Always discuss your medical history with your chiropractor before beginning treatment.
  3. Can I exercise after a chiropractic adjustment? Light exercise, such as walking or stretching, is usually safe after an adjustment. However, it’s best to avoid strenuous activity until any soreness or discomfort has subsided.
  4. How often should I get a chiropractic adjustment? The frequency of adjustments depends on your individual health needs and goals. Your chiropractor can provide a personalized treatment plan based on your condition.
  5. Can children receive chiropractic adjustments? Yes, children can safely receive chiropractic care. However, the techniques used are often different than those used for adults and are tailored to the child’s size and development.

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