Is Neck Soreness After a Chiropractor Visit Normal?

Neck soreness after a chiropractor visit is normal, especially if your body is still adjusting to treatment. If your chiropractor has just realigned your spine, including your cervical spine located in your neck, some amount of minor soreness or pain is to be expected.

Not everyone experiences neck soreness after a treatment like chiropractic adjustments, though. Alternatively, bothersome, prolonged, or severe pain could be a sign of something serious, so you should alert your chiropractor immediately.


Why Chiropractic Treatment Can Cause Soreness

When patients first visit a chiropractor for spinal manipulation, they may do so in response to various symptoms, including neck pain and soreness. Mayo Clinic explains the chiropractic treatment process in this way:

  • At your first session, the chiropractor will have you lie down on a table especially designed for patients receiving chiropractic adjustments.
  • Once you are comfortable, the chiropractor will start to adjust, or manipulate, the area causing your neck pain.
  • The chiropractor may move the area in several different ways. Their actions may feel fast or slow, sharp or gentle. Regardless, you should not feel significant pain.
  • Sometimes, the patient’s joints crack or make other sounds during treatment. This is normal and nothing to worry about, but you can talk to your chiropractor if it concerns you.
  • Once you finish the session, you can ask your chiropractor any remaining questions you have, such as how long it will take for treatment to work or what side effects you should be mindful of.
  • Depending on your condition, you may only need one session to experience relief, or you may need to return for additional sessions over a period of weeks, months, or years.

As Mayo Clinic also notes, some people do experience side effects after treatment, including “headaches, fatigue or pain” at the treatment site. These symptoms may last from a few hours to a few days, but they should not cause you undue suffering or inconvenience.

Manipulating bones and joints can come as a shock to your system, no matter how professionally it is done. Your body might need some time to adapt to the changes the chiropractor has made. Minor pain is a sign that your body is adapting.

How to Treat Neck Soreness After Chiropractor Adjustments

There are several actions you can take if you are sore after a chiropractor’s treatment.

First, assess your pain level. Is the pain serious enough to prevent you from moving your neck or to interfere with your life in any way? This is rare, but if it happens to you, call your chiropractor right away.

If you experience only a mild nagging pain, you should still inform your doctor. However, they have likely already warned you about this side effect and suggested several ways you can cope with it, including:

  • Resting the neck as much as possible
  • Applying heat or ice packs 
  • Sleeping in a position that minimizes stress on the head and neck
  • Taking over-the-counter pain medicine

In many cases, neck soreness is so mild that even these interventions are not necessary. Nevertheless, make note of any unusual feelings or symptoms you experience post-treatment and share them with your care provider.

It is always best to keep your doctor informed of everything that happens to you. This way, in the unlikely event that your condition worsens, they will have an easier time figuring out what is wrong and how to help you.


Preventing Post-Treatment Neck Soreness

It is not always possible to predict who will experience side effects after chiropractic care. The best thing you can do to ensure your visit goes well is to receive treatment from a chiropractor who:

  • Has received proper training
  • Is certified with a recognized board or organization to provide chiropractic care in your area
  • Is willing and able to answer your questions to your satisfaction

Any chiropractor you visit should be more than happy to discuss their credentials and address your concerns. Otherwise, they may not be qualified to provide chiropractic care, which could increase your risk of experiencing side effects. Do not allow them to treat you.

Another way to reduce the risk of harmful side effects is to be completely honest with your chiropractor about:

  • All of the health conditions you currently have, not just the one you are seeking treatment for at the moment
  • Any past medical events, such as a stroke or cancer, even if you have fully recovered from them
  • Treatments you have already undergone or are still undergoing for all current medical conditions, including medications and surgeries

Some conditions, such as a past stroke, may increase your risk of developing harmful side effects from chiropractic adjustments. Find a chiropractor you can trust, and then be as forthcoming as possible about your health. They will ask you a series of questions that may help you focus your responses.


Benefits of Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care is noninvasive and often painless or nearly painless. This makes it a promising option for those who cannot (or do not want to) take medication or go through surgery and rehabilitation.

When performed by a certified, qualified professional, upper cervical chiropractic care helps many people overcome:

  • Headaches
  • Neck pain
  • Whiplash
  • Head injuries, such as concussions
  • Temporomandibular joint issues

That said, chiropractic care is a medical treatment, and just like every other medical treatment you undergo, it carries the risk of side effects.

It is normal to be sore after a chiropractor visit. If this happens to you, you will want to know that you can rely on your chiropractor to take your concerns seriously and help you tackle any unexpected issues.

Learn More About Our Chiropractors

Neck soreness after a chiropractor visit is normal and does not necessarily mean something has gone wrong with your treatment. Specific Care Chiropractic would be happy to work closely with you throughout your treatment to make sure everything goes to plan—and that you always have someone to speak with about your concerns. Call (239) 369-9109 to book an appointment today.