WHAT TO EXPECT AFTER AN ADJUSTMENT
- Immediately following an adjustment, patients report a variety of responses. Some feel better immediately. Many express a sense of well-being, of being "in balance," or of being taller. A few experience slight dizziness or light-headedness. The majority of our patients experience gradual, steady improvement. Spasms, sharp pain, and "catches" are usually the first symptoms to be relieved.
- Refrain from heavy lifting or other strenuous activity for 2 hours following your adjustment.
- Patients beginning the correction of a chronic or long-standing problem may develop soreness after an adjustment. Though not typical, if soreness occurs, it usually lasts no more than 24-48 hours after the initial adjustment. Those patients usually describe it as feeling as though they'd done some kind of hard work or new exercise they were not used to doing.
HEAT / COLD
- The best home remedy for acute pain, along with rest, is the application of cold to the painful area. We recommend using ice for 20 minutes per application. Do not put ice directly on the skin.
- Occasionally, with more chronic or long-standing problems, patients will find heat to be more beneficial. Sometimes alternating heat and then cold gives the most relief. However, applying heat to a new injury or acute problem will often make it worse!
SLEEPING / RESTING
- Lying down is the simplest way to relieve pressure on your neck or back. Bed rest gives the muscles a chance to rest and not have to support and "splint" you, therefore relieving pressure. Prolonged bed rest over days however, is not a good idea. Optimal healing requires joints to continue going through their proper range of motion.
- It is best to sleep on your side or on your back with your knees bent. A pillow under or between your knees will often relieve pressure on your knees, hips, and low back.
- It is not a good idea to sleep on your stomach with your head turned to the side. That rotated position forces your head up and to the side, which may strain your neck and jaw and promote the loss of normal spinal curves.
- A very soft sofa or sagging, non-supportive mattress may cause strain to your spine. The lack of good sleep posture may make it difficult for you to hold your adjustment and maintain spinal alignment.
- A rolled towel under your neck when you are on your back, or the use of a specially shaped neck pillow, will likely provide neck comfort and aid a proper neck sleeping posture. The raised portion should be under the base of your neck, not the upper portion.
- It is best not to sleep on more than one pillow. If you need extra elevation to aid breathing, it is better to sleep on a wedge pillow or put blocks under the legs at the head end of your bed than stress your neck.
- If you are having a neck or mid-back problem, do not read or watch TV lying on your side braced on an elbow.
- To get up from bed or rise from any reclining position, you may find it easier to turn on your side or stomach and push your body up with your free hand, then swivel to a sitting position. If you have difficulty getting up from the floor, crawl to a chair and use your arms to help you climb.
- It is best to sit in chairs that are firm; chairs or sofas that you sink into do not support your low back. "Aim" for the back of the seat when you sit in a chair.
- A small pillow behind your low back may help support your spine and relieve pain while sitting.
- You may cross your legs at the ankles, but crossing at the knees may strain your low back, hips, and sacroiliac joints.
- If you are likely to fall asleep while sitting, get some support for your head and neck or lie back so your head doesn't fall forward and strain your neck.
- With an acute low back it is wise to select a chair with arms so you may use your arms to help you get into and out of it. A rocking chair may provide gentle low back exercise.
DRIVING OR RIDING IN A VEHICLE WITH A LOW BACK PROBLEM
- Move your car seat closer to the steering wheel than usual if you can. It will enable you to sit more upright and provide for better posture and spine support.
- Be sure the small of your back is well-supported. A folded towel or small cushion behind your low back may help.
- To get into your car with the least amount of twisting stress, sit on the seat; pivot with your legs together, reverse that motion to get out.
- A thick wallet in your back pocket may cause you to sit cocked-up on one side and contribute to a lower back problem.
- Consider backing into your parking spot when you come here for care. Then you will not have to twist around to see behind you right after your adjustment.
- Walking is one of the most beneficial exercises you can do as you improve. It tones the body and stimulates circulation. Take fairly long strides. You are not walking fast enough unless your arms swing naturally. Three miles per hour is plenty fast.
- It is best not to stand in one position too long. When you bend forward at the hips, as in shaving or brushing your teeth, keep your low back straight and bend your knees to relieve low back stress.
- If you're having a neck or upper back problem, holding a telephone between your neck and shoulder will contribute to your problem and slow your recovery.
- With a mid-back problem, lifting at chest level with your arms outstretched, like reaching into a back seat or over the side of a pickup, is very stressful for your spine and should be avoided.
- Rotating your shoulders to grab something or twisting while in the process of lifting will often aggravate a low back or mid back condition.
- If a person has an acute condition, we prefer that he/she refrain from vigorous exercise during the initial 1 or 2 weeks of care.