Can Chiropractic Adjustments Cause Headaches in Cornelius NC?

Prospective chiropractic patients understandably have many questions and concerns when deciding whether to undergo certain procedures. One of the most prevalent questions patients often have is “Will chiropractic adjustments cause me a headache?” To answer this question thoroughly, it helps to have some background understanding of what exactly chiropractic adjustment is, and what its overall purpose is.

What is Chiropractic Adjustment?

A chiropractic adjustment is a treatment in which trained specialists use their hands, or a small instrument, to apply sudden, controlled pressure to a spinal joint. The purpose of chiropractic adjustment, sometimes referred to as spinal manipulation, is to improve spinal motion and improve the body’s overall function. The procedure can also help reduce pain and discomfort and is often used to supplement traditional medical care.

What does Chiropractic Adjustment Treat?

Generally speaking, each patient will have a unique reason for seeking out chiropractic care.  Regardless of the specific reason for seeking help, all chiropractic adjustments are designed to impact your musculoskeletal system. The musculoskeletal system, or locomotor system, is a human body system that allows your body to provide movement, shape, stability, and support.  Anatomically speaking, the musculoskeletal system comprises two different systems: the muscular system and the skeletal system.

Chiropractic adjustments are often utilized by people who need help managing the following conditions:

  • Arthritis
  • Healing after moderate/severe accidents, especially those where whiplash occurred.
  • Joint Pain and Dysfunction
  • Neck Pain
  • Sciatica
  • Frequent Headaches 

and more.

Will My Chiropractic Adjustment Result in Headaches?

Given that many patients seek chiropractic adjustment as a means to manage and alleviate headache pain, it’s only natural to be concerned with possible side effects including worsening headache symptoms. Although chiropractic adjustment is extremely helpful for many patients, it’s still important to understand why you may experience certain side effects, especially those linked to further head pain.

Is it normal for chiropractic adjustments to cause headaches? The answer is a bit more complex than a simple yes or no. If you find yourself experiencing a headache after an adjustment, the key is to look at the bigger picture for context clues. If you experience a headache after an adjustment session, this is not automatically cause alarm as it is a well-documented side effect. However, if you are experiencing chronic headaches after every session, this would be considered atypical. As long as your headaches are not persistent, and occur after every session, it’s okay to experience this side effect, to a certain extent.

Why Do Headaches Occur After a Chiropractic Adjustment?

As previously discussed, during an adjustment, your Cornelius chiropractors will use their hands to apply a quick, but controlled, force to the spinal joint. Naturally, our bodies are designed to react to stimuli of this sort, making it possible for a headache to occur in response. In general, headaches occur as a result of exposure to certain toxins and chemicals. Once you undergo a chiropractic adjustment, signals are released into the body. The sudden nature of chemical release can result in a headache.

In the vast majority of cases, your headache will be temporary and can be expected to fade away in a short period after the conclusion of treatment. Traditional remedies like an ice pack or over-the-counter medication should be adequate in treating any residual symptoms. Simply put, experiencing a minor headache is not cause for alarm. Headaches are often indications that the adjustment is working, as they confirm that toxins are being flushed into the bloodstream, where they will eventually leave the body.

Chiropractor Cornelius NC

When Should I Be Concerned about Headaches?

Given the fact that many patients seek out adjustment to help alleviate pain surrounding headaches, if you are experiencing worsening symptoms that are persistent and unwavering, it’s always best to be upfront with your chiropractor. Even though chiropractic adjustment has proven to be highly successful in treating pain, it’s not always a one size fits all solution. Sometimes other factors at play might be causing the treatment to be ineffective. Talk to your chiropractor if your headaches occur after every treatment, or, if they are prolonged and severe, making it hard to get relief past a realistic timeframe.

Always Communicate with your Chiropractor

Finding a chiropractor whom you feel comfortable with is key. You should feel comfortable discussing your history, current ailments, and other pertinent information about your pain. Your chiropractor should, in turn, be willing and able to answer any questions you have with transparency and honesty. They should also validate your symptoms, and help you find the proper solutions by actively listening to your experience. After all, you are the resident expert on your body, and can likely tell when things are awry.

It’s also crucial to find a chiropractor who is licensed and experienced. An experienced Chiropractor Cornelius NC can deal with sensitive body systems pragmatically, without jeopardizing the overall health of your body. When executed properly, chiropractic adjustment has many benefits and has proven effective in treating and managing pain. It also helps to find a chiropractor that you can trust. Trust can help alleviate any nerves you may have, especially if it’s your first time undergoing this type of procedure.

Other Post Treatment Side Effects to Consider

If you experience a headache after your chiropractic adjustment, be aware that this is not in itself a cause for immediate concern. The very presence of a headache often indicates that toxins are being released from the body. This makes you more susceptible to experiencing a painful reaction, especially if it’s your first time undergoing the procedure.

In addition to headaches, you might experience a few other potential symptoms like fatigue, muscle tension, nausea, dizziness, dehydration, irritability, and sleep disturbances. To some degree, many of these symptoms are normal. However, always talk to your chiropractor if you are experiencing persistent or severe symptoms. They’ll be able to tell you whether what you’re experiencing is a simple side effect, or something worth looking into further.

At Lakeside Sports Chiropractic and Physical Therapy in Cornelius, NC, Dr. Jennifer Lidstrom and her team of experts is here to help answer all your questions.  Please feel free to contact us today.


The information provided in this blog post is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as professional advice. The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical or healthcare advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your chiropractor, physician, or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.
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