Dear Dr. Wendy,
I have had chiropractic care for neck pain in the past. I feel great after an adjustment, but the pain always seems to come back after a few days. Why doesn’t the adjustment last?
— Audrey G.
This is a tricky question to answer because there are many different reasons that a person might not “hold” a chiropractic correction for as long as they would like. Unfortunately, it usually takes some detective work on your part to figure this out.
There are three major categories of factors that cause subluxation (misalignment of the spine causing interference to the nerve system). These categories are physical, chemical and emotional.
The physical reasons are the most obvious. Most people only think of major traumas like car accidents or falls, but your body experiences micro traumas every day. If you get adjusted and then go right back to the offending activities which caused the problem, it is likely you will continue to have those symptoms. Our daily stresses and strains show up in our posture and how we move. These behaviors or habits can cause subluxation. It can be something as simple as continuously carrying a purse or bag on the same side of your body, wearing high heels, sleeping on your stomach, crossing your legs or looking down at a phone or computer monitor for long periods of time.
The second category is chemical. This is the food we eat, the air we breathe, the water you drink, everything you put on your skin…you get the point. Underlying inflammation from toxic burden is the most common cause of this subluxation pattern. If you are struggling with chronic inflammation, you will struggle with holding an adjustment. And while there are many factors that drive an inflammatory process in your body, the most common is a cruddy diet.
Emotional issues are another cause of recurring subluxation. When you are stressed (or angry, or frustrated) your muscles become tight. This burden can cause muscle contractions or change fiber length in the muscles. Chronic tension can cause subluxation, and these emotional stressors can also cause chemical changes in the body.
We don’t live in a bubble, but most of these stressors can be corrected once you identify the cause and make changes. The benefits will be numerous, including a lasting correction from your chiropractic adjustment!
**This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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Do you have a question to ask us? Please email them to Askcoach@haydenhealth.com. Dr. Wendy Cunningham is a doctor of chiropractic, certified acupuncturist, and has her master’s degree in nutrition.