Do Chiropractic Adjustments Hurt?

When it comes to adjustments there are two types of people – those who spend their free time on YouTube watching “cracking” videos, and those who find the whole concept a bit scary. While it’s great to see people enjoying “big” adjustments, even we chiropractors sometimes think these videos look a bit extreme! This week, let’s debunk some myths!


What is Chiropractic anyway?

Firstly, let’s go back to basics – more people than ever are trying Chiropractic, but we’re still seeing tonnes of people explore our approach for the first time.  Chiropractic is a holistic approach to treating various musculoskeletal issues, which involves gentle adjustments to the spine (sometimes other parts of the body).

Chiropractic adjustments can provide relief from back pain, neck pain, headaches, and other musculoskeletal issues without the need for medication or surgery. It works by realigning the spine and joints, which in turn enhances mobility, flexibility, and overall joint function. While many people just use Chiropractic as a way to reduce or manage pain, regular chiropractic care also promotes better posture, improved nerve function and better overall movement, which has many benefits for everyday life.


What Is a Chiropractic Adjustment?

It’s essential to understand what a chiropractic adjustment entails. A chiropractic adjustment, also known as spinal manipulation, is a hands-on approach used by chiropractors to realign the spine and improve joint function. This manual therapy involves applying controlled and targeted force to a specific joint or joint to restore proper movement and alleviate pain. What’s critical to understand is that the amount of force required relates to the size of the person as well as the area of the spine being adjusted – when you see bodybuilders and rugby players on youtube getting adjusted they really might require a “big” adjustment – but for most people, the amount of force required is actually very little.


Do Chiropractic adjustments hurt?

When it comes to the sensation experienced during a chiropractic adjustment, it varies from person to person. Keep in mind that many people who arrive at the chiropractor do so because they are already in pain! For the vast majority of people, the sensation of an adjustment is some mild pressure – very often, there is also a popping or cracking sound as the joints are adjusted. The noise is not anything to do with the bones themselves, it’s actually the release of gas bubbles in the joints, exactly the same as the sound you hear when you crack your knuckles.


Post-Adjustment Care

While most people don’t experience any pain from an adjustment itself, after a chiropractic adjustment, it’s not uncommon to experience some minor soreness or stiffness, similar to what you might feel after exercising. This is a natural response as your body adjusts to the realignment, and you can treat it in the same way as you’d treat a strain or overwork in the gym.  Again, keep in mind that chiropractic isn’t a magic bullet – if you were in pain when you came to the clinic, you’ll still be in some pain when you get home (hopefully though, a bit less!). It takes a few adjustments for most people to be totally free of a painful complaint and often a few more before the issue stops returning after a few days.

We always give our clients personalised care advice after their first few adjustments, but in general you can support your body by:

Staying Hydrated – Drinking plenty of water helps flush out toxins released during the adjustment and keeps your joints hydrated.

Ice Therapy – Applying an ice pack to the treated area can help reduce inflammation and alleviate soreness. Cooling gels like Biofreeze can also help here.

Gentle Movement –  Engaging in light stretching or walking can help maintain joint mobility and ease any stiffness. In fact, a gentle walk home after an adjustment is a great idea if possible.


Have questions about Chiropractic?

When our patients tell us that they wish they’d come to the clinic sooner, we often find that it was a lack of knowledge that held them back. The question of whether chiropractic adjustments hurt is just one which comes up often – we’re sure you can think of loads more!

If you’re considering chiropractic care but have questions, please don’t wait to get in touch – just give us a call and we’d be very happy to answer them!


Coming Soon

As a quick heads up, we’ll also soon be offering FREE information and back pain workshops, another great option for those who want to find out more about what we do – watch this space for updates!



Blog by / April 23, 2024 / Blog

Dr. Paul Irvine is a doctor of chiropractic who graduated in 1994 with a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of NSW and in 1996, attained his Master of Chiropractic degree from Macquarie University in Australia. He practised in North Sydney for 5 years before he left Australia to travel and practise in the UK. He joined Complete Chiropractic in 2003 (est 1999) and took over the clinic in 2007