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FAQ: What Does A Chiropractic Adjustment Feel Like?

This is a question that I get asked regularly. For those who aren’t experienced with chiropractic care or new patients who are having their first appointment, this is a common curiosity for many. It is natural to feel reserved about something you may not have experienced before. I love talking to new patients about the benefits of an adjustment and ‘how it feels’. It is important to me to communicate this clearly with patients to build a trusting doctor-patient relationship.

There are many different kinds of adjustments (also called manipulations) that can be applied to any joint in the body. A manipulation is defined as a highly trained procedure in which chiropractors (or other trained health practitioners) use their hands or a small instrument to apply a quick and controlled force to a joint. It is a low force with high velocity, meaning it happens quickly and does not hurt. The main goal of a manipulation is to restore motion and function to a joint or area of the body.

I will walk you through what a patient can expect for a manipulation. The patient is positioned differently for each specific manipulation. This can include, but is not limited to laying on your side, laying on your stomach or back, or seated. Once properly positioned, the practitioner places their hands on the patient as needed, typically close to or directly on the joint(s) that are to be targeted. The practitioner then applies a quick and controlled thrust to the targeted joints. And that’s it, manipulation procedure is complete! The patient is comfortable and often feels a sense of general relief. You may also hear a ‘pop’ noise during the manipulation, which is simply gas being released from your joints when controlled pressure is applied (read Dr. Allie’s post about this for more information).


As mentioned, there is usually no pain and most people feel great relief, relaxation, and increased mobility. After the manipulation, patient rarely experience minor side affects that may include a mild ache, small headache, or minimal fatigue. If this occurs, it is temporary and usually only lasts for a day or less.

Most people quite enjoy getting adjusted as they feel much better from it. It is comfortable and gentle. With that being said, each treatment plan is individually tailored to each patient and no one is forced to participate in anything they don’t feel comfortable with. As I mentioned earlier, effective treatment starts with effective communication and trust.

If you are curious how chiropractic care can help you, Dr. Elysse is accepting new patients!


Author: Dr. Elysse Pilon, B.A. Kin (Hons), D.C., C.Ac

Chiropractor | Acupuncture Provider | Paediatrics | Custom Orthotics


Please note that this is for educational purposes only and not intended as specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns make sure to consult one of our knowledgeable health practitioners at Lawrence Park Health Clinic.

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