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After waking up to serious neck or back pain and toughing it out for a day or two, you finally make it over to the chiropractor. You feel much better right after your treatment, but within a few hours, you’re feeling worse. What gives? Did your chiropractor do something wrong? Here’s why it’s normal to feel worse after an adjustment.


Pain is one of the last symptoms to present, but for many of us, it’s the first sign that really gets our attention. By the time we’re noticing real pain, the issue has been troubling us for some time. That’s because the body does an impressive job of picking up the slack when certain joints aren’t functioning properly. At some point, the surrounding muscles just can’t handle the extra demand, and things start to go south.

This is when pain becomes noticeable, or you “sleep badly” and wake up with a sore neck. People may expect a chiropractic adjustment to relieve their pain instantly, but that’s not always the case. It’s not uncommon to actually feel worse for a day or so following your treatment. That’s because the muscles and ligaments surrounding the affected joint have been pulled and stretched. As they reset in proper alignment, it’s natural to notice tenderness.

Fortunately, you have options to manage your recovery. Dr. McSweeney here in Reno always includes massage to warm up the ligaments and muscles before treatment, which is helpful for reducing recovery time. She can offer recommendations for home care as well, such as icing, an OTC pain medication for inflammation, or specific stretches and movements to practice or avoid.

If you’re dealing with ongoing pain, a visit to Dr. McSweeney may be just what you need to feel better. Addressing the root of your pain isn’t always an instant fix, but proper attention, treatment, and time should be all you need to see improvement.