Caring for Your Body: After an Adjustment & During Correction

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What happens to your body after an adjustment?
The most important thing that happens to the body following an adjustment is the more normal movement of the joint, which restores normal brain-body, and body-brain communication. In normal circumstances, the spine is constantly feeding information about its movement and position to the brain. A tremendous amount of the brain’s functions are dependent on this normal communication from the spine for function. This is why so many disease processes come from vertebral subluxations (when the spine is out of alignment, not moving correctly, and blocking neural communication. A chiropractic adjustment, as opposed to someone just “popping” a spinal joint, can only occur when a subluxation exists in that area. A proper adjustment restores more-normal movement to the area, moves it toward normal alignment, and restores normal brain-body and body-brain communication. Most of the response from the adjustment cannot be felt by the person receiving it. The vast majority of the nerves involving the main neural highway between the brain and body are not “feeling” nerves. This is why you can’t feel or perceive in any way as the heart builds disease for some 20 years before finally reaching the “tipping point” resulting in a full-blown heart attack. But what the patient often experiences is pain relief, better movement, and an overall sense of well-being from an adjustment. In my over 25 years’ experience, approximately 5-10% of the time the patient feels worse following an adjustment. Often when a joint has not moved properly for 10 or often many more years, getting it moving can be painful! Much as a person who sat on the couch for 10 years without exercising decided to get up and run a 35-minute 10K. This response can be normal and is usually short-lived. Possible soreness following an adjustment should never be a cause for alarm. The most dangerous thing is leaving the body that dysfunctional!
What should you not do after an adjustment?
A person should avoid rubbing or twisting the spine or excessive movement of the spine following an adjustment. For the most part, do not worry too much about what you do! A person may need some additional rest as their body and brain are processing a lot of new information and energy following an adjustment!
Should I stretch after a chiropractic adjustment?
VERY gentle stretching can be beneficial. Too much poking, prodding, or stretching, however, can set the body backward. Mostly just do what you regularly do (unless that involves wakeboarding flips, bouncing too hard on a trampoline, or wrestling grizzly bears.)
Should you drink lots of water after a chiropractic adjustment?
Drinking lots of water can be tremendously beneficial after an adjustment. Subluxations cause a lot of unhealthy inflammatory chemicals to build inside the area surrounding the joint. Water can help tremendously in flushing these chemicals out.
Is it OK to work out after an adjustment?
The rule of thumb here is to do what you’ve already been doing. A lot of people feel a big burst of freedom and energy after an adjustment. If you’ve been consistently working out, go ahead and do it following your adjustment. If you haven’t been off the couch in years, do not go and run a marathon no matter how you feel! LISTEN to your body!!!


It's super important to us, as I know it is to you, that you get the very, very best results from your care. So what I'm talking about today is how to get the best results from your care, how not further to damage your spine during the corrective process, and how to make sure that when we look at that second set of films that we're going to get to see how much correction you got, you get amazing results, not just feeling better, which is really, really important, but also functioning better, and that your X-rays show great correction when we view them. Okay, so this is really, really important stuff so watch this all the way through. So, first of all, the first adjustment, especially if it's your first adjustment ever... But often, if it's your first adjustment by us, people get some soreness or some discomfort, which is very normal. So it can be stiffness; soreness in the area can feel like muscle soreness. People even get headaches very, very frequently. So we are moving joints. The way we analyze your spine very, very specifically, every vertebra to the fraction of a degree and a fraction of a millimeter, we're going to get exactly where that problem is, and we're going to get that joint moving.

In some cases, it hasn't been moving for 15, 20, or even many more years than that. So we have to make sure that it's going to get moving the way it's supposed to. You're not here to waste your time and money by not getting results, so we're going to do the adjustments that will give you the fastest results. So what happens often is that joint gets moving, hasn't moved for a while, and it's stiff and sore. It's like if you were to duct tape your elbow and leave it that way for 15 years and then suddenly take off the duct tape and move it, it might be a little bit painful process. I don't know, those of you who've had the great joy of wearing braces on your teeth, you may have noticed that when they tighten up the braces, they get sore. This is very, very similar. And the same thing comes with your blocks, which we'll talk about in a moment. But headaches are normal too. Not very often, I'd say, maybe 1 in 20 people get a headache, but it is common because headaches are caused by a lack of or changes in blood flow to the brain.

So when we get an adjustment, there's a flood of blood up into the brain. And so when there's more blood, and in some of your cases, less air in the head and more blood... Just kidding. But when there's a lack of blood flow to the brain, and then all of a sudden, the rush of blood, can cause a pounding headache. That's normal. So it's very important to get that chiropractic is different from medicine. Medicine has some wonderful benefits, but the purpose of most of the medicine is to shut the body's functions down so you don't feel symptoms. Our job is to wake the body up, and in that process, you may feel some discomfort and pain.

So here's what to do and what not to do. Number one, don't pop it or twist it. If you have to take medication where... The last thing we want to do is shut the body down, but if you're too sore, some Advil Ibuprofen isn't the end of the world, but it does shut down the function of your nervous system. And if you can avoid that, I would. Drink some water. It's amazing what water can do to relieve stress and tension in the spine or in the joints and stay hydrated anyway because it helps all parts of the body, okay?

So should you ice it? I get that question a lot. I don't love ice because ice creates more inflammation after you stop using it. But if it's really sore, you can ice for 20 minutes on-40 minutes off, for as long as you want, okay? So if you have questions about your soreness, if you have questions about anything, feel free to ask us any time. I've been doing this for over 25 years, taking care of patients when you include them in the clinic. I've never heard a dumb question. And that's not just false niceness or some weird thing. Do you have questions about your body? This is your body. We love questions, whether it's about your adjustments, whether it's about your rehab and your blocks. So I'm going to talk about some common questions we have with blocks.

Your block... We call your Dennerolls. Most of you have Dennerolls. They're very, very different for each person. And in fact, I hear this a lot, "Oh, my cousin came over, and I let them use my Denneroll." Please don't ever do that because it's really common that what's good for one person is the exact opposite of what another person needs. So do not... It's like prescribing... It's like you take a prescription medication, and you let your brother take it, or something like that. That is not a healthy idea. It's very, very dangerous, so do not let other people use them.

But how often do we use our blocks? As you may know, we've probably already explained to you, twice a day, every day for 20 minutes. Less than 1% of the people we care for can do 20 minutes right away on the block, so please do not just lie on them 20 minutes right away. I have a good friend of mine, a chiropractor, and he's an amazing chiropractor. He took care of a Navy SEAL instructor. And he told the guy to go home and do these neck exercises, told him to do 10 reps and then build slowly. The guy went home that night and did 1000 reps of the neck exercises. He came in the next day, and he couldn't move. Please don't be that person. I love the enthusiasm. Do it right, as we've told you. When it comes to your neck exercises and strengthening, when it comes to your blocks, build a little bit slower. Our nervous systems are sensitive to big changes, but the key is to build steadily. So let's say it's pretty common for someone to be able to do 3 minutes on their blocks in the very beginning. It's really common that those are painful, and it's like your brace is tightening like we talked about a minute ago. It takes some time to be able to build up to that corrective load.

Now that said, you need to be at at least 10 minutes on those blocks before they'll actually permanently change your spine. The curve is amazing. We've actually mapped these curves to the way human ligaments and muscles change in shape. For the first 10 minutes, it's called... What we call elastic deformation. Means it stretches quickly, it moves quickly, but then if you get off, it goes right back down. But between the 10 and 20-minute mark, it's a slower change to the angles and to the positions, but it's more plastic deformation, which means that it's going to hold for longer and longer. So between 0 and 10 minutes, it's beneficial, really only that you're getting toward that 20-minute mark. Most people build around a minute a day. If you're super athletic or used to moving your spine a lot, you may move a little bit more quickly. If you've been in a lot of pain or have inflammatory conditions like fibromyalgia or anything like that, build slowly, but please build.

Some people may only improve 10 seconds a day. Maybe they can only do 30 seconds in the beginning. Just make sure you're moving in the right direction. It's much, much better for you to go on the blocks 1 minute the first day, and you're not too sore, so the next day, you do 2 when you try that out. Maybe you got sore at 2 minutes, well, back off a little bit. Maybe a minute 30, and then build just steadily. It's much better that you do not get too sore, so you don't skip 3 days or something or skip a day. You're much better off just chipping away at it and building very, very steadily.

Just what I suggest is a brush that limits every day. Don't crush right through it so you're super sore, but just brush that limit up every day, and your time will increase. It is very normal, especially if you have a block in the mid-back or the lower back, even in the neck. It's super normal to feel like... It's going to feel wrong for a lot of you, just like if you put your hands like this, there's a normal way for you to put your thumb, and the other way feels super weird. Doing those blocks can feel super weird, and more than this, it can be painful. Just gently push through it. Again, if you have questions, please ask us because we're here to help you. We're here to support you. By the same token, if you're unsure if your blocks are in the right place. If they're close, it's still pretty good. But if you want to be as close as possible, ask us. I don't care if you ask us every single time you're in. What that means to me is that you're doing your work and doing the work enough to have the questions. So if you have them, that's great, that's awesome, okay?

So the other thing is, make your schedule here in the office. Make your traction schedule, and make your adjustment schedule. Those are super important. If I get, "Oh, doc, I was feeling great, and then it hurt again." But you missed a whole week of appointments, that might be why, okay? And so the other question that I get is, "If I'm doing traction in the office, should I do my blocks on the same day?" Yes, though they inter-relate and they support one another, they're different. And the benefit of the... I'm going to make a video on this, totally separate. But the benefit of doing the blocks at home is you can do it twice a day, every day. It stops you from having to be in this office 4 hours a day. Which, we know you love us, but you don't want to be here 4 hours every single day. So the block supports it. But the blocks aren't as powerful as the tractions we can do in the office. So your traction is usually three or maybe four times a week. If you're here from out of town or out of the country and you're staying locally in a hotel, we may have you here for 4 hours a day so we can do your traction for that long, but they're very separate. Even on the days, you do your traction, you do your blocks.

Now, you may be sore and want to cut back on your time on your blocks during that day that you did traction. Have somebody wisdom, tune into what it's saying. But still, just get on there for at least a few minutes. One thing that I forgot to mention 'till just now is there's this really cool invention, and Amazon has them. I don't remember the name of it. On Amazon, it has them, they're these glasses that you put on, and it's like a periscope. So I'm looking straightforward, but I'm reading like this clipboard. I'm looking forward, but I'm reading the clipboard. This helps you watch your favorite shows or read your favorite book while you're on the blocks. So I type in periscope glasses... It's these mirror glasses. They were like 15 bucks, not super expensive. A great way to go is to do what you want to do while you're doing it. So make sure I'm talking about this. So your posture regularly, while you're going through your day, you should be sitting straight up. Everyone pretty much knows this. What I see a lot is not just kids but a lot of us getting this text-neck thing by tucking our chins down like this.

This will not mess up your life much to make this one change. Instead of going like this, bend forward at the hip and hold your clipboard, your book, your phone, or whatever your device, hold it like this. If you look at this, I'm bent at the hips instead of bent at the spine. This is really, really rough to bend like this on your spine. Lean forward just like this. So that's a really important way to preserve the correction we're doing. And then when you're in your bed every night, we sleep about a third of our life, 8 hours a night. So that means by the time we're 45 years old, we will have been asleep for 15 years. That's pretty amazing, isn't that? So how we sleep is going to make a big difference. I've made a lot of videos on this, but you want... Your bed, in general, should not be super firm. People think the firmest bed is the best, but with our modern posture and culture, our bodies do pretty well with a semi-soft mattress. Your head should not be stuck jam way forward but should be near flush with the bed.

A Denneroll pillow is an excellent pillow, you can ask us about that, and it keeps your head back and influences the curve in your neck positively that we want. So the best position to sleep is going to be every time on your back, unless, of course, you're pregnant, especially late-term, you should be sleeping on your left side. So if you're going to be on your side, we don't want to be all twisted and kinked up. We want our ankles, knees, hips, and shoulders mirrored. We don't want to be all twisted around, and we want our head level. So we want a pillow that's going to support our head to be level, not kinked down or kinked up, just like that.

Lastly, very importantly, chiropractic's purpose is to wake up and bring healing and life through your nervous system. A lot of people think that we're working on joints and we're popping joints till the joints feel better. What we're really, really working on is the brain-body connection. We're working on getting the nervous system in a state of healing through correcting the structure of the spine. When the structure is normal, the body is always in a state of healing, much better than when the structure is abnormal. So that is the purpose of what we do. So you can really, really enhance your correction to your spine, improve your body's ability to correct, but also bring healing and peace to your nervous system and, therefore, to your whole body by programming-in time for rest and relaxation.

Sleep, of course, but time for meditation, and if you're inclined to prayer, time for prayer. The time when you're tuned out and relaxing. There are millions of different kinds of meditation. We're all coming from different places as far as meditation. Some people are scared of it like they're praying to the wrong god or something like that. But to me, meditation can just be a time of just peace and relaxation, with no input into that nervous system. Doing box breathing, I have a video of inbox breathing. You can do that. You can read scripture. You can read a Bible verse and just sit and just ponder that. But the time when we're not constantly looking at our Instagram, and our Facebook, and our LinkedIn, and whatever. Our nervous system is not made to have such powerful input into it all the time. So especially if we're on blocks, and we're doing traction and these things, give your body time to rest and recover during that sleep, but also during the wakeful time. But when we're in meditation, our nervous systems can regenerate, and restore and accommodate much, much more correction, okay?

So I hope this has been helpful on how to get the most correction as quickly as possible and how to get the greatest results. As always, as I said before, please ask questions if you have them. I've never heard a bad question. So till next time, we'll see you soon.

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