Should Chiropractic Treatments Be Painful?

On YouTube, it’s possible to find compilations of chiropractic adjustments featuring very audible cracks and gasps from patients. You may even wince in sympathy from watching these. However, the fact is that chiropractic treatment is generally painless. After all, two of the major goals of chiropractic are to decrease pain and increase mobility.

Does this means that there will never be any discomfort associated with your chiropractic treatment? No, but in terms of pain, you can think of chiropractic adjustments like therapeutic massage. Both may sometimes be intense and occasionally cause mild discomfort, but you often feel less pain and more relaxed afterwards.

Comprehensive Examinations
When you first establish care with a chiropractor – and at appropriate intervals thereafter – your chiropractor will take a full medical history and perform a complete physical exam. Chiropractors are medical professionals, and histories and physicals are two of the most fundamental and useful tools that a healthcare provider has at their disposal. Unfortunately, during your physical exams, your chiropractor may elicit some pain as they attempt to diagnosis your problem. This is particularly true if you are having pain and stiffness with joint movement.

Localizing the Pain
Your chiropractor will localize your pain and any abnormalities before performing any treatment. This often requires your cooperation since your chiropractor obviously cannot tell how painful an area is just by visual inspection. Also, it is sometimes necessary for a chiropractor to narrow down your problem to a very specific area. For example, you may report that “it hurts between my shoulder blades.” Your chiropractor will need to palpate, or feel around, to further localize the specific vertebral level in order to know exactly where to apply treatment.

Speak Up
Just as you would let your dentist know about a particularly sensitive tooth, you should also tell your chiropractor about any painful regions. Speak with them before your examination and treatment, apprising them about any troublesome areas. Also, don’t stop communication once treatment begins. If your chiropractor performs an adjustment or applies a treatment you find painful, speak up. The last thing your chiropractor wants is for your visit to be unpleasant.

Ask About Pain Relief Measures
If you notice that you’re routinely sore a day or two after your chiropractic treatments, ask your chiropractor about appropriate measures to dull or relieve the pain. They may recommend application of cold or heat, anti-inflammatory medication, or specific stretching techniques or exercises. Most chiropractors can also provide nutritional support and diet advice to help reduce pain.