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Does chiropractic care change when you are in pain?

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A new study came out this month, published in JMPT, that talks about an experiment that the researchers performed. They hooked up electrodes to the patients, and they measured the response that their back muscles had when they were adjusted.

We know that when you have your low back adjusted, there is a reflex response in your muscles that gets them to relax. It’s like hitting the reset button on your tight and achy muscles. It’s pretty fast, too. Way faster than any effect stretching can have on your muscles. Like, immediate.

It turns out, when you are in pain, you have a slightly slower response. When you are in pain, your muscles are tight. Guarded. When you get adjusted, your muscles take more time to respond. It’s still an effective form of pain relief, though, as we see in the NASS and CCGPP guidelines. It just responds differently when you have more pain.

This is why, when you are hurting, your expectations of how an adjustment should feel is altered. You might have to have different expectations. An adjustment won’t be as crisp as when you are adjusted for athletic optimization, or your routine upper back ache.

Dr. Lloyd

I'm a chiropractor who specializes in correcting and relieving back and neck disorders. I have found that when you increase the mobility of your spine and joints with chiropractic care and follow up with this with improving muscle coordination with targeted exercises,then improving your function will also improve your pain.

Comments 4

  1. I never would have thought about the differences in how my body would react to adjustments when I’m in pain. Having a reset button on my muscles would be really great, especially when I’m in a lot of pain. I also really liked the way you talked about expectations. I loved your insights. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I think this is a great article, on a great chiropractic website. I’ve bookmarked your blog so I can come back to it, in fact. I’ll probably use a lot of your topics with my patients! Keep the chiropractic fire burning… change some spines, change some minds!

  3. What most patients don’t understand is that chiropractors are primary care physicians. This means that patients don’t need a referral to see a chiropractor. Because of Optum Health’s study, it is wise for patients to see a chiropractor before they see any other provider.

  4. What most patients don’t understand is that chiropractors are primary care physicians. This means that patients don’t need a referral to see a chiropractor. Because of Optum Health’s study, it is wise for patients to see a chiropractor before they see any other provider

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