Common Side Effects of Chiropractic Treatment

Chiropractic treatment is widely known as a safe and non-invasive option for reducing pain and improving your state of health without resorting to medication. When you have an initial consultation with a practitioner, they will go over your health history, pain you’re experiencing, medications you’re currently taking, lifestyle, and diet. They will then determine whether chiropractic care is your best treatment option or if you should be referred to a different specialist for more severe health concerns.

While extreme side effects are not common, most side effects experienced by patients are very short term, disappearing within hours or the next day and do not pose a health risk. According to a study from PubMed, common side effects experienced by both new chiropractic patients as well as those who have had treatment in the past include:

  • Discomfort where the adjustment occurred (66%)
  • Pain in areas other than where the adjustment was done (10%)
  • Headache or fatigue (10%)
  • Nausea or dizziness (rare, less than 5%)

Side effects are most common when you first begin your treatment sessions and are more commonly experienced by individuals who have had long term issues, such as chronic back pain due to aging or poor posture. Depending on the state of health you are in, you might experience other reactions after your first few chiropractic sessions.

Toxic Release

There is a potential for your body to release toxins after a spinal adjustment, which is a good sign that you are reacting positively to the treatment. If you experience a slight cold or flu afterwards, this is essentially a detox. Again, this is not very common and if it does happen to you, it shouldn’t last very long.


While also not very common, headaches do happen sometimes after being adjusted, especially after a difficult neck adjustment. Keep track of the pain and if it continues for longer than a day, consult with your chiropractor. They should have some suggestions and remedies in their office if needed such as ice packs. 

If you do consistently experience severe headaches after a few treatments, your chiropractor should be able to use alternative or gentler techniques that can be just as effective.

The side effects after chiropractic adjustments are usually minor or non-existent. If you do experience any of the above, know that it is normal and should mean your body is responding positively. Keep your chiropractor informed about what is happening so they can decide if a new treatment plan is needed.