Does Chiropractic Treatment Have Any Side Effects?

Updated on March 18, 2023

Chiropractic treatment is a nonsurgical procedure used to treat the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system disorder. The treatment puts more emphasis on the spine and your body’s function. Chiropractic physicians or chiropractors are trained and licensed to perform chiropractic treatment.  

Chiropractic therapy is often used to treat bones, muscles, connective tissues, and joint-related problems. And when you go for chiropractic treatment, like to a chiropractor Longmont or in any treatment center near your place, you hope to return home feeling relaxed, refreshed, and relieved. For most individuals, this is what exactly happens; however, not everyone has a positive experience with chiropractic treatment. In this guide, you’ll be taken through some of the side effects of chiropractic treatment. 

What To Expect During Chiropractic Treatment 

During chiropractic treatment, chiropractors perform subluxation, which adjusts the spinal misalignment. Most individuals think it involves painful cracking and forceful movements of the Spiner and neck; however, this is never the case.  

Spine adjustment is very gentle and painless. Most chiropractors rectify this issue by gently nudging and tapping instead of using immense force. Before undergoing subluxation, a chiropractor will assess the spine and determine the adjustment angle. Here is a checklist of what things a chiropractor needs to go through before the procedure; 

  • The direction in which the spine has been misaligned. It’s a vital point since the spine can bend and pivot in any direction. 
  • The amount of force needed to realign the patient’s spine. 
  • Should the chiropractor adjust a patient’s spine while on their side or stomach? 
  • Assess for aspects that would hinder a successful procedure. 
  • Check if the patient is relaxed for a safe and painless treatment. 

Does Chiropractic Treatment Have Any Side Effects? 

Yes, chiropractic treatment is known to have some side effects; however, the impact of spine manipulation is often harmless. These side effects usually arise within a short period post-chiropractic adjustment and wear off after 24 to 48 hours. Below are some of the common side effects of chiropractic treatment; 

  1. Neck Pain and Headache 

Manipulating the neck (cervical spine) is considered a safe procedure. The primary goal of this manipulation is to reinstate the standard range of motion, enhance joint movement, relieve muscle spasms and get rid of pressure or tension within the neck. 10% of individuals who undergo this procedure tend to develop neck pain and headaches. The Recovery period is relatively short, and one can use ice to aid in speeding the recovery period. 

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  1. Dizziness 

Dizziness is an uncommon side effect of post-chiropractic treatment. Less than 5% of patients have been reported to have experienced it after the procedure. To recover from this side effect, you’ll need to rest, consume light food and drink lots of water until it subsides. 

  1. Soreness 

Soreness or mild aches are the main side effects of chiropractic treatment. These side effects account for approximately two-thirds of chiropractic treatment patients. You’ll likely develop sore muscles or aching joints, particularly around the treated area, and they’ll set shortly after chiropractic treatment and can last about 24 hours. You should apply ice to the affected area to reduce the pain. 

  1. Fatigue 

Although some clients tend to be more energized and relaxed post-treatment, this is never the case for everyone. Tiredness or fatigue will sometimes kick in, and it accounts for about 10% of the clients. Unlike soreness, fatigue is short-lived. And to fasten the process, you should refrain from strenuous tasks until it wears off. 

What Are The Causes of Post-Chiropractic Treatment Side-Effects? 

The primary goal for visiting a chiropractor is to feel better; however, why do people go back home feeling worse? Although these side effects don’t occur more often, here are reasons why they tend to happen; 

  1. Spine Realignment 

When you visit a chiropractor for subluxation treatment, it might activate muscles that haven’t been used for long. And now that these muscles are back to work, they will feel sore, just like starting a new form of exercise. At times, these muscles will cramp up, causing more pain- fortunately, these effects are short-lived and will wear off once your muscles become more assertive. 

  1. Detoxification 

During chiropractic treatment, you’ll improve your blood flow and reduce tension; as a result, your body will release poisons and toxins from your system. Detoxification has external side effects, from sniffles to headaches, fever, and fatigue. Fortunately, once the toxins are released, you’ll feel relaxed and rejuvenated; however, this will take approximately 24 to 48 hours.   

  1. Nevers Awakening 

Post-chiropractic treatment, compressed nerves can be reawakened. It’s vital for full recovery; unfortunately, it can resurface feelings from your past injuries. To recover from these pains, you should consider visiting your chiropractor more often. 

What Are The Risks Associated With Chiropractic Treatment 

Probably you’ve come across claims that associate severe complications with chiropractic treatment. Although some claims can be accurate, most stories have no evidence. VBA (vertebrobasilar artery), a form of stroke, is one of the common allegations associated with chiropractic treatment.  

Furthermore, critics claim adjusting the cervical spine can lead to hemorrhage and brain stem injuries. Although this might not be impossible, no documented incidents can back this evidence. However, severe effects can occur if an inexperienced and reckless chiropractor performs the process.  

When performed by a trained and licensed chiropractor, chiropractic treatment is safe. Serious complications are rare in chiropractic treatment, but they might occur, and they can include lower spine nerve compression and herniated disk. 

With that said, you shouldn’t have a chiropractic treatment if you’ve the following conditions; 

  • Cancer of the spine. 
  • Severe osteoporosis. 
  • Upper neck bone abnormality. 
  • Risk of stroke. 
  • Tingling, numbness, and loss of strength in your leg or arm. 

You’ll have a successful chiropractic treatment by keeping these aspects in mind. 


Chiropractic treatment does not have severe side effects, with most being temporary and requiring not more than 48 hours to wear off. For a successful procedure, you should consider working with a licensed and well-trained chiropractor; failure to do so might develop some adverse risks associated with chiropractic treatment malpractice. Otherwise, when done correctly, chiropractic treatment remains a perfect solution for severe neck problems and chronic back pain.