Should a Chiropractic Adjustment Hurt?

 Should a Chiropractic adjustment hurt is one of the most common questions asked of me from new people in my office. Truthfully, sometimes a chiropractic adjustment can hurt. However, just because it hurts it does not mean it hurts you.


In other words, occasionally a chiropractic adjustment can cause some temporary pain or discomfort. This article addresses why that is not necessarily a bad thing.


One of the most common causes of joint pain is restricted motion in that joint. The research is clear that every joint must go through full range of motion every 24 hours or scar tissue and adhesions are forming that will lead to arthritis and degeneration.


After a surgery on a joint, it is wise to see a physical therapist. The purpose of this is simply to restore the proper motion of the joint. This can allow for a return to normal joint motion and prevent the buildup of scar tissue and adhesions that will lead to arthritis and degeneration of the joint. One of our patients recently had a surgery on their knee to repair damage from a sports injury. After the surgery, their visits to the physical therapist were not always comfortable. Most of the time, these visits are never comfortable and always cause pain. The forceful movement of the joint is necessary in order to restore motion and it does and should hurt but it will not hurt you.


One visit to a physical therapist won’t restore full joint motion after a surgery. Each visit progressively works on restoring a bit more motion until full joint mobility has been accomplished. Each visit will hurt but it will not hurt you. In fact, if you are not willing to go through the “hurt” the physical therapist is causing, you will have much bigger problems later.


Imagine your knee having a surgery and you don’t go through the immediate “hurt” caused by a physical therapist in order to restore motion. What if you waited a year, or two, or five, or even decades before you decide to get the joint moving? Do you think you would have arthritis and degeneration then? Do you think if you have years or decades of arthritic buildup it might hurt worse than if it was addressed within days?


I’m not suggesting that every visit to your chiropractor should hurt. Most of the time it actually feels good. But you can be reassured that if you get some “hurt” after your chiropractic adjustments occasionally then what you are doing is more than likely helping you a bunch.


A series of chiropractic adjustments is very similar in purpose to a series of physical therapy sessions. The goal of every adjustment is to restore motion as much as possible to the joints. If the problem has persisted for decades, it could hurt a bit, but it won’t hurt you.