Does chiropractic care change when you are in pain?

Ryan Todd Lloyd, DCBack, San Francisco Chiropractor

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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.

Ryan Todd Lloyd, DC

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.