How should you take care of yourself after your chiropractic treatment? Clearly, after-treatment care advice is dependent on your specific condition, but here are some general guidelines, which apply particularly to back pain.

What to do after Chiropractic treatment

After treatment, although you shouldn’t overstrain yourself, it’s also important that you don’t just go to work and sit all day long! 

Keep active

The most important thing is to keep in gentle activity and not sit still for too long. Please don’t plan any long car journeys or travelling if possible.  It’s just not going to help the muscle relaxation and the improved mobility that’s been achieved during treatment to last; the joints will simply stiffen more quickly!

Having said that, you should aim to help the muscles and joints to relax. Don’t strain too hard and stop any activity if you feel it’s aggravating your condition.

Rest your back lying down

Lying semi-supine (on your back with the knees bent or raised) is the best way to rest your back. Please see resting your back lying down for more details.

  • 1
    Lie on your back and place a pillow under the head to raise it slightly.
  • 2
    Bend the knees with feet flat on the floor, raise the knees onto a chair or rest them on top of a pillow.
  • 3
    Rest fully for around 20 minutes, without straining the neck to look at the television, your phone, or to read a book.
  • 4
    To get up, gently roll onto all fours and slowly stand up. Avoiding trying to sit up from the semi-supine position, as it may strain the lower back muscles.

Other general guidelines for after your chiropractic treatment

Do:

  • Aim to help the muscles and joints to relax

  • Vary your activity
  • Move regularly and gently
  • You can swim, walk, exercise just as you feel comfortable
  • If you want to stretch, just gently
  • Rest your back lying down

Avoid:

  • Sitting or doing any one activity too long
  • Heavy lifting or heavy work if possible
  • Bending over too long, for example with housework
  • Travelling long distances
  • Playing sports too hard

  • Overstretching muscles hard or repetitively

Home care for athletes and sports treatment

Keep active gently, but don’t rush back to the sport. Make sure not to over stretch too hard or too often, which can worsen the pain by turning it into a repetitive habit, which just becomes a repetitive strain! 

Cross-training for athletes is very helpful. In short, keep exercising gently, but do alternative exercises that are comfortable and that don’t aggravate your main condition. Please read the full article for more information.

Going to the gym and playing sports

After adjustment the joints will be ‘looser’ for a couple of days, and therefore potentially more susceptible to re-straining, so it’s important not to overdo it and to avoid excess exertion if possible. 

If the adjustment has helped an acute or recent injury to feel a lot better, please remember the ligaments and muscles that have been strained are in a vulnerable state and can easily restrain during this period, so take it easy! 

Whilst some athletes may have adjustments before or during competition, a healthier balance of taking it easy and allowing the joints to settle is recommended. Vary your activity, walk and move gently, but avoid strenuous lifting, or bending (for example with the housework, DIY or gardening). 

Ice or Heat Treatment 

Ice treatment is often recommended when inflammation or swelling is suspected, even if it is not visible.  Occasionally heat can be used, but must be used with caution, as it can increase or aggravate your condition if it is inflamed. Please see Cryotherapy for more information about ice treatment. 

Soreness after Chiropractic treatment 

It is not uncommon to feel some aching, bruising, soreness or tenderness to the touch after Chiropractic treatment for a couple of days. This is often accompanied by clients reporting their sharp pain has settled, or the joint movement does feel freer.  Usually this is nothing to worry about and settles quickly. 

Some of my best results are when clients say they were sore for a few days but then feel much better! I also feel there is a balance between specific joint manipulations to the locked joints and deep muscle release to the tender spots. More intensive treatment initially can cause more of a reaction, but the condition may settle sooner, sometimes with less treatments required. 

The soreness after treatment can also depend on how able you are to look after yourself, for example if you have to work, or make that long car drive, you may have more soreness than if you’re able to look after yourself in the best way. So stick to the advice above wherever possible to get the most benefit out of your chiropractic treatment!