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What Not to Do After a Chiropractic Adjustment

Feb 6, 2024

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Hey there! If you’ve recently had your first chiropractic adjustment at “The Disc Chiropractors,” congratulations on taking a step towards better spine health and overall well-being.

This blog is aimed at the overachievers, whether that be getting back to sports or finally being able to do the housework that makes you feel so proud, we understand that you might be eager to get back to your regular activities, but it’s crucial to remember that proper aftercare plays a significant role in maximizing the benefits of your treatment.

In this blog, we’ll walk you through the do’s and don’ts after a chiropractic adjustment, focusing on the things you should avoid, preventing hindering your treatment and risking relapses.

Chiropractic adjustments are gentle manipulations performed by our skilled clinicians to mobilise your spine and alleviate pain caused by various conditions, additionally, our specialist equipment transcends standard traditional treatments and can help to regenerate slipped discs and un-trap the nerves that cause conditions such as sciatica. These treatments aim to restore proper joint function and promote the body’s natural healing process but are often used in cases which are already deemed pretty severe and feature treatments that predictably require caution as they can create so healing inflammation in order to improve.

After your initial chiropractic treatments, one of the essential things you may need to do is rest. Your body needs time to heal and adjust to the changes made during the treatment. This is particularly important for patients who are suffering from spasms and sharp pains. Rest doesn’t necessarily mean heading back to bed, it just means cutting out the things in your day that aggravate your problems.

Avoid jumping back into your usual routine immediately. Give yourself some downtime to recover fully. Our DISC team will have undoubtedly given you advice on how to keep moving and what mobility drills can be employed to try to reduce inflammation and improve your recovery time and regain your sense of control over your discomfort.

These can be performed regularly throughout the day; we normally recommend a couple of minutes of mobility work every (waking) hour when in spasmodic pain. In the case of sciatica with the focus being on the sharp leg pain; we recommend performing your drills whenever the pain is at its sharpest for some patients which can mean every 10-15 minutes if they are proving successful.

The important thing to acknowledge at this stage is that whilst mobility work, a brisk walk or light stretching can be beneficial, engaging in strenuous activities right after your initial adjustments can undo the progress made during the treatment. Activities that put excessive strain on your spine, such as heavy lifting or high-impact exercises, should be avoided. Instead, it is important opt for low-impact activities that support your recovery without causing further inflammation.

The cliché in this storyline is the patient who feels a great sense of relief after the first few sessions, understanding that this is the relaxation of the musculature and a reduction in the inflammation is paramount; any underlying damage, for example, the herniation in a disc case, will not have had time to heal the damaged tissue and will be ready to relapse at the first sign of excessive stress.

It is essential as well to acknowledge just where you were in your fitness levels prior to starting treatment. Getting an injury can be a big ol’ kick up the ass, and yes, you may be eager to get back to your previous best in the gym, but if it’s been several years since you’ve seen a gym then being overeager to dive in at the deep end is especially dangerous.

On the flip side, if you’ve been coping well with regular exercise during your injury without it being the obvious cause of your pain, then continuing these activities, that keep you happy is still likely appropriate. However, we may need to moderate the level of activity, dropping the intensity to maybe 75% of your normal activity, whilst your body has time to heal and get used to the changes and interventions being delivered.

Additionally focusing on quality over quantity of exercise is important, form as always is key. Our expert clinicians will be coaching you on how to engage your core properly, which is essential whilst continuing to exercise, or even if you’re just performing chores around the house… If you can’t keep the core engaged, then you are in danger of an unnecessary relapse.

Essentially here at DISC Surbiton, we have a simple “Traffic Light” system via which you can judge the activities you perform and rate their likelihood to advance your inflammation and pain.

  • Green Light – No or Mild pain during activity, fades quickly within 20 minutes of stopping.

Continuing at this level should help support your rehab goals and therefore should be encouraging and repeated as often as possible.

  • Amber Warning – moderate or increasing pain during activity, which continues after stopping the activity for numerous hours.

Adaption is needed, form, quality, speed, quantity, or type of exercise should all be considered and adjusted accordingly in order to return the exercise to a green light scenario.

  • Red Light – sharp or shooting pains, continuing past the first few reps/minutes of exercise, additionally pain that continues for many hours and especially if still felt the next day is not advisable.

Stop and discuss with your clinician at the earliest opportunity.

In addition to moderating your activity or exercise levels, there are many sneaky bad habits that we often fall into that could be hampering your progress and need to be addressed:

Maintaining proper posture is crucial for the effectiveness of your chiropractic care. Be mindful of how you sit, stand, and move throughout the day. Poor posture can undo the benefits of your treatment and slow down your healing process.

To that end we recommend you reduce your screen time; this may seem like the opportunity to catch up on your favourite shows or scroll through social media, but excessive screen time can impact your spine health negatively by applying strain on your neck and back.

Many of us have no choice but to plough on through our working day, but employers should be made aware of your current situation (it is illegal for them to discriminate against you for having pain), and regular stretching breaks, reducing hours or working from home should all be options that should be considered.

For the more physical worker, lifting heavy objects can strain your back and interfere with the healing process. If you must lift something, remember to use proper lifting techniques, such as bending your knees and keeping the object close to your body. If you are suffering repeated twinges or sharp pains performing these actions your body is sending you warning signals that something bigger and more sinister is likely around the corner.

Hopefully, it goes without saying, drinking enough water is essential for your overall health, including your spine health. Staying hydrated supports the healing process and helps your body function optimally.

Overall, pay attention to how your body feels after any chiropractic adjustment but especially in the early days. If you experience any discomfort or pain, don’t ignore it. Communicate any concerns with our chiropractors, who will be more than happy to assist you.

Coupled with this, for those undergoing the “miracle” results we know can be associated with chiropractic care, please do still follow your clinician’s initial protocol as it’s been set for a reason, and pain is not the only variable that we are tracking, come in let us know how good you feel and let us assess what changes can be made to your plan.

Keep in mind that healing takes time. Everyone’s recovery journey is different, but with the right aftercare and patience, you’ll soon experience the full benefits of your chiropractic adjustment.

**Conclusion**

Congratulations! You’ve learned what not to do after a chiropractic adjustment. Remember to rest, avoid strenuous activities, maintain good posture, limit screen time, stay away from heavy lifting, stay hydrated, and avoid high-impact exercise. Always listen to your body by doing so, you’ll give your body the best chance to heal properly and enjoy the full benefits of your treatment at “The Disc Chiropractors.”