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Causes of Lower back Pain-1
Dr. Roy VogelJan 23, 2018 3:10:34 PM5 min read

Why Does My Back Hurt Worse After Visiting The Chiropractor?

Is it Normal to Feel Worse After a Chiropractor?

Sometimes your back may hurt worse after visiting a chiropractor. Back pain can ruin your plans for the day, or make you call off of work.

When you visit a chiropractor for Back Pain Relief, you never think that you will still experience any pain after your visits.

But you do.


In this blog, we take a look at a few reasons why you are still in pain after your trip to the chiropractor, and how to adjust to chiropractic care.

Table of contents:

Nothing is more debilitating than having a back that’s out of whack.

From picking up your child to bending over and grabbing the newspaper, your back is integral to everything that you do.

A sore back just makes life harder!

The natural solution to curing a back that isn’t feeling quite up to par is to visit a quality chiropractor.

Related post: What happens when you crack your back?

What if you use that correct logic but after your adjustment, your back still hurts just as much, if not more?

This could include:Pain after getting a chiropractic adjustment

  • Significant soreness
  • Difficulty with overall movement
  • Pain sufficient enough to deter otherwise easy daily tasks


Chiropractic Goals and Possible Effects

Should patients feel more pain in your back after receiving chiropractic care? When it comes to the spine, and back specifically, the goal of a successful chiropractic session is to eradicate inflammation and reduce overall pain.

The areas of relief mainly focus on joints, ligaments, and muscles.

The intention is to achieve this well-being through the use of:

  • Massaging
  • Ultrasound
  • Electrical stimulation
  • Spinal manipulation

It’s important to note that common side effects of chiropractic adjustments are tiredness, minor headaches, and slight discomfort in adjusted locations.

Your body may be used to being out of alignment. So, when your spine is back in alignment, it will take some getting used to, which may cause you to feel sore.

So what else has occurred to hinder the success of your chiropractic visit and leave you in a significant amount of pain?


Two Main Reasons for an Increase in Back Pain After Visiting the Chiropractor

1. Disc Herniation

If the annulus fibrosus, basically the tough, outer layer of your discs that compose your spine, is torn or stretched too far you have a disc herniation.

Once the annulus fibrosus has torn the softer, interior part of the disc can seep out and negatively affect surrounding nerves.

Back Pain after seeing a chiropractor

There are multiple common names for a disc herniation that may be more familiar, such as a pinched nerve or slipped disc.

Symptoms of a disc herniation can create pain and numbness that you may actually feel more in areas surrounding your back like neck or legs, however, the root of the problem is located in your lower back.

Important note: a disc herniation is not caused by getting a chiropractic adjustment.

Common causes that lead to a herniated disc are repetitive lifting, improper lifting techniques, and contact sports.

Also, it is believed that when informed of the herniated disc your chiropractor is able to create an individualized treatment using heat and ice therapy and manipulation to reduce pain and discomfort.

However, if you or your chiropractor were unaware of the pinched nerve, during a massage or other spinal manipulation technique it is likely the disc herniation was heavily aggravated.

This could easily lead to aches and pains that affect more than just your back.

What if it is less serious, despite still being an unpleasant pain, than a herniated disc?


2. Irritated Ligaments and Muscles

Remember, the focus and goal of a chiropractor is to heal painful joints, muscles, and ligaments with noninvasive methods.

Through massage and manipulation of the spine, chiropractors try to realign and straighten your body and alleviate curvature imbalances.

The problem arises when the chiropractor attempts to perfectly straighten the spine and meets heavy resistance from your body.

Once a person has reached adulthood, it is very likely that any sort of curvature that has developed over time is as good as permanent.

Hurt worse after seeing the chiropractor

At this point, even the greatest of efforts provided by your chiropractor will bring minimal long-lasting results without the use of passive traction devices like these.

What is happening in return is your muscles and ligaments are being shifted in ways that have become unnatural, despite being considered “aligned.”

This could result in greater pain than initially described or even pain in areas of the body that had otherwise felt perfectly fine.


Can a chiropractor injure your spine?

There are a few actions you can take if you notice extra pain in your back after seeing your chiropractor.

Take Temporary Healing Measures

Perhaps your chiropractor accidentally skipped the procedure of telling you step by step what to expect following your most recent adjustment.

A very common side effect that causes soreness and potential is inflammation naturally caused by the chiropractic adjustment.

Why is this common?

Consider the last time you hit the gym after taking a few months (or years) off. Or think of braces working on teeth.

In both examples, you have the body existing in one way, yet something – the exercising and tightening of the braces – pushing it from its idle state. Therefore, discomfort is likely to occur.

For more information on common side effects of spinal manipulation, check out The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.

An easy and healthy way to help battle inflammation you feel in your back is by using an ice pack.

The ice acts as an anti-inflammatory agent by slowly the blood circulation around the sore area.


Talk Directly to Your Chiropractor

The most important intention of the chiropractor is to heal you and make you feel better.

Whether or not the increase in pain was an oversight on their part, it is still important to consult them for further information.

Most patients are not experts, and likely you were not the chiropractor’s first patient.

During your next visit, make sure to ask your chiropractor the following two questions:

  1. How should I feel after your treatment?
  2. What possible reasons could there be for such a spike in soreness?


As imperative as it is to understand the benefits of chiropractic care, you should also understand common risks and side effects that can occur during your chiropractic treatment.

But there is still plenty of reasons to see a chiropractor.

A good, caring chiropractor will have no problem hashing out the details to best optimize your visit for all future adjustments. It's sometimes normal to experience pain after seeing a chiropractor, but there are simple solutions and remedies. 


Talk to one of our expert Chiropractors at Arrowhead Clinic by clicking the banner below to schedule a Free Chiropractic Consultation appointment.

Free Chiropractic Consultation | Arrowhead Clinic


Original blog written here.


Dr. Roy Vogel

Dr. Vogel has been a chiropractor with Arrowhead Clinic in Decatur, Georgia since 1992. He provides outstanding care, often working with patients who have work or auto accident-related injuries. Dr. Vogel offers a range of treatments, including chiropractic adjustments, physical therapy, and rehabilitation. He brings over 26 years of experience caring for patients with debilitating head, neck, and back pain. Dr. Vogel obtained his doctoral degree in chiropractic medicine from Life University. As a professional, he keeps himself updated on the latest advancements made in the field of chiropractic services. Dr. Vogel is devoted to ensuring his patient's recovery and well-being. He takes his time to understand symptoms so he can accurately diagnose and treat injuries ensuring the continued health of all his patients. One of Dr. Vogel’s car accident patients recently stated, “The customer service here is top tier. I got into an accident and was sent to this office for treatment. The ladies are so nice and welcoming and the chiropractor's top priority is your recovery.” Dr. Vogel is available for free, same-day consultations Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 a.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.