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What is Chiropractic

What Toxins Are Released After Chiropractic Adjustment?

Your back pain is getting worse day by day – and no, it has nothing to do with aging. Over-the-counter painkillers have rendered it useless to get rid of your chronic back pain, but you still have hope. Your hope for curative treatment for your back pain leads you to the doorstep of a licensed joint chiropractic specialist’s clinic. And after your first visit, you realize there must be some truth to your neighbor’s high praise and those countless 5-star reviews for chiropractic practice that you read online.

But, the moment you step into your chiropractor’s clinic, you get warned about the toxic release which might possibly follow after getting your joint adjustment. What are they talking about?

What is Chiropractic?

Chiropractic is a form of therapeutic alternative medicine directed toward the musculoskeletal and nervous systems of the body. In chiropractic care, licensed chiropractors perform manual maneuvers to the spine to correct misalignment of the body, and overall, increase the mobility of the joints. 

What Does A Chiropractic Adjustment Do?

Misaligned joints can lead to chronic back pain usually, but can also cause pelvic pain, headaches, neck and jaw pain, and pain in ankles and knees. 

Advance chiropractic joint adjustment can be used to reduce chronic joint pain in the body as well as restore the relationship between the body’s structure and its function. It can also help to increase energy in the body, making you active and healthier in addition to a straightened posture.

Some of the diagnostic tools that can help chiropractors decide the course of treatment include:

  • Knowing about your symptoms sometimes isn’t enough – imaging tests can help devise a coherent treatment plan for your spinal joint adjustment. Imaging tests such as Digital X-Rays, Computed Tomography (CT) scans and Magnetic Resonance Imaging scans can help a chiropractor learn more about your musculoskeletal anatomy. 
  • A Diagnostic Thermal Imaging test provides greater insight into the way the nervous system reacts to stimulation and functions – it comes in handy to provide a plausible diagnosis for joint pain, and in turn, devise a workable treatment plan.

A chiropractor may use their hands to elicit an externally controlled force to the spine or perhaps, use instruments to aid in spinal adjustment pain reduction. 

Some of the instruments include Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation units, Electrical Muscle Stimulation units, as well as Activator Adjustment tools which reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation in the body as well as restore joint flexibility and mobility.

Other equipment used in chiropractic adjustment consists of padded chiropractic tables where patients usually lie face down and slightly propped up for the chiropractor to have easy access to their joints. In this way, the chiropractor can safely elicit pressure on the spine or perform targeted maneuvers that can help align your joints. 

These manual maneuvers are usually directed to enable a joint to extend beyond its range of motion, creating a popping or cracking sound. This sound is created as tiny pockets of entrapped gases, majorly nitrogen oxide, oxygen, and carbon dioxide, ‘pop’ and escape the cavities of your joints, making room for your vertebrae to return back to their original position. This popping sound, similar to the one elicited whenever you crack your knuckles, is neither painful nor dangerous. 

Why do You Feel Weird After Chiropractic Adjustment?

If you’re feeling weird after or during your first chiropractic adjustment session, we would like to tell you that it has nothing to do with malpractice; it is just your body adjusting to entrapped toxins released into your body. Feeling ‘weird’, ‘stiff’, or ‘fatigued’ as soon as your joint pockets pop, is actually a good sign of your body undergoing detox. 

What Toxins Are Released After Chiropractic Adjustment?

Apart from gases, your body also releases toxins that have been locked away and entrapped within the capsules of the joints. These substances, known as toxins, comprise two types which come from pollutants found in pesticides, lead, and aerosol, as well as polychlorinated biphenyls found in the environment. 

Other toxins can be found in food products such as those which might be organic but grown on the contaminated ground as well as processed food and preservatives.

Throughout the course of your life, these toxins and metabolites can play hide and seek until they eventually get hidden away for good within your joint capsules. Release of these toxins during a chiropractic adjustment is known as ‘toxic release’ which allows your body to excrete them either via skin, urine, or feces (stool).

While toxic release sounds dangerous and harmful, it is actually your body’s way to restore a connection between your nervous and musculoskeletal systems. You might feel tired and fatigued, but this is only due to the body’s countless efforts to restore the regular flow of energy in your body.

As your body gets flooded with toxins, you might experience symptoms that would be slightly similar to the ones caused during a drug detox. These symptoms might be vague like those experienced during the flu, or enough to give you a scare. 

  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Fever and fatigue
  • Headaches, migraines, or dizziness
  • Bowel issues such as diarrhea
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Night sweats 
  • Nausea

Caring After a Chiropractic Joint Adjustment

Managing symptoms of toxic release doesn’t involve a tedious care regimen. 

Eat and Drink Healthy – Maintain your water intake (at least 2L a day) so that your urinary system can flush out toxins from your body faster. Fruits and veggies contain antioxidants which might help your body adjust better during the toxic release. You can also drink fresh fruit slushies or veggie smoothies as they would be rich with ample amounts of vitamins and minerals, as opposed to processed juices. 

Sleep and Get a Good Night’s Rest – Try to sleep for at least 8 hours every night so that you can tackle your way through weary symptoms and restore the flow of energy in your bloodstream. Sneak in a nap here and there to minimize discomfort. This will also help to reduce soreness for days after a chiropractic adjustment and minimize health risks.

Exercise Regularly: Exercising while being tired might appear counterintuitive, but it is actually a great way to help your body get upright and active during the toxic release. With energy pumping through your system, your body will readjust quickly to the toxic release as well as help you release toxins by sweating. If you’re not ready to go for strenuous exercises, yoga might seem idealistic. One of our favorite poses is the Cobra Pose, which will help you stretch your spine and restore energy flow to the entire body – plus, it is soothing and relaxing at its best. 

If these cold-like symptoms take a toll on your body, try revisiting your chiropractor or a GP for concerns. Over 20% of patients experience flu-like symptoms and muscle stiffness following a chiropractic joint adjustment session. But, the presence of symptoms of toxic release makes it safe to state that your spinal manipulation treatment is already kicking in and will soon exhibit successful results.

This blog is for informational & educational purposes only, and does not intend to substitute any professional medical advice or consultation. For any health related concerns, please consult with your physician, or call 911.

Medically Reviewed

Last reviewed by Dr. Syra Hanif, M.D. on 03/20/2023

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  • About The Author

    Dr. Syra Hanif M.D.

    Board Certified Primary Care Physician

Dr. Syra Hanif is a board-certified Primary Care Physician (PCP) dedicated to providing compassionate, patient-centered healthcare.

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