Can Chiropractors Adjust Too Much?

When it comes to how often patients should be adjusted, there’s a difference of opinion amongst chiropractors: Is it better to over-adjust or under-adjust? In other words, is a patient better off receiving more adjustments than necessary, or can chiropractors adjust too often?

I’ve met chiropractors who proudly recommend over 100+ adjustments per year! On the opposite end of the spectrum, I know chiropractors who only recommend semi-annual checkups.

Personally, I’m of the opinion that the fewer adjustments a person needs, the better off they’ll be… More importantly, the longer they go without needing to be re-adjusted, the healthier their spine and nervous system are… But let’s see what the developer of the Chiropractic profession had to say about this issue (emphasis his):

“Frequently over-adjusting CREATES new conditions which average Chiropractor may alibi as retracing when in fact it is what HE is doing that creates NEW dis-ease growths.”

Bear in mind, the intended audience for this statement was his fellow chiropractor, not patients. So please forgive the technical jargon… Here’s the basic translation: “Doctors, if you adjust patients too often, you’re going to create new problems. When this happens, don’t try and justify it by saying it’s part of the healing process.”

Dr. B.J. Palmer dedicated his life to transforming chiropractic care from a “family secret” into a worldwide healing profession. He succeeded. If anyone has the authority to speak on the efficacy of a chiropractic adjustment, it’s him. At the very least, his opinion is worth considering.

In the decade that I’ve been adjusting patients, I’ve never once thought to myself, “Man, I really should have adjusted that patient more often.”

So why am I sharing this information with you? It’s because many patients think the first question to ask when searching for a chiropractor is, “Do you accept my insurance?” — As a chiropractic insider, I’m here to tell you that should be the last.

Hopefully this demonstrates why it can be more important to ask, “How often do you expect to see me?” or if you’re currently under chiropractic care, “Am I getting adjusted too often?”


Need a Second Opinion?

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Great site, Dr. Tanase! But, I feel confused now after reading this post. Now I’m worried that I’m getting adjusted too often. I see this happening – being adjusted once to twice a week for a few weeks now, and when one issue gets corrected another arises. And, really, is there ever a cure (or even something close) for back pain or are we deluding ourselves? I’m fortunate to have insurance and affordable co-pay, but it definitely adds up. When do we know when to back off with care? I wonder if my chiropractor will give me BS answer or genuinely not know…

    Charlotte, many times a patient’s visit frequency is higher in the early stage of care. It’s important, however, that your doctor uses some type of objective assessment to measure your progress. Guessing is not okay in my book. As long as the doctor can demonstrate progress, then I wouldn’t sweat it. If they’re offended by your interest in how they know you’re getting better, then there’s a problem.

Hello Dr. Tanase,
My Name is Rachel and I am 14 years old. I was In a bicycle accident on June 9, 2010. I was knocked out for almost 10 minutes. I suffered from a servere concussion and a broken hand. After a couple weeks went by, I noticed that my headaches were not improving. My doctors thought they were a result of my concussion, so they didn’t do anything for me. A few more weeks went by and I continued to get headaches on a daily basis. I went to a neurologist and he recomended chiropracic care. 3 months after the accident on September 1, 2010, I began chiropractic treatment. I have been getting 3 adjustments a week ever since. I’ve felt little to no improvements with my headaches. Am I being over adjusted? Can you think of anything else that I can try?

I have been going to a chiropractor for three times a week for about a month0 it started with allergy tightness in the chest (which he solevd) – then stomach issues (which he solved)…but then I increasingly found it difficult to sleep and then not at all (one night) – can I be overstimulated by the treatments??

(Ps: his correction for the sleeplessness has totally thrown out my neck and back – which is area I never have problems with! I am afraid to go back!!)

    Soozan, this sounds nearly the same situation to mine. Did you ever solve your issues or have it improve?

Hey Doc Tanase, this is Dr. Bucknell from your graduating class at Logan. Ironically, I got an email about this article from a patient down here in Mobile Alabama asking for my take. While I’m with you that most Chiropractors over-adjust without reason and without direction, I think we have to be real careful about throwing blanket policies on frequency. I could throw out scenarios all day long to argue the point, but some patients do in fact need to start more frequent, NOT determined by symptoms but by evidence. I’ve been doing advanced spinal correction care per mixed CLEAR Institute, Pettibon, Maximized Living, and other protocols for about 6 years now and while we can correct spines faster and cheaper than most could hope to do in the mentioned 100+ visits, there is the occasion where someone starts every day. In fact Dr. Woggon, the world’s current leading authority in scoliosis correction adjusts 6 or more times a day, every day, for weeks to achieve correction. Unless we can prove to do it faster and show it on xray, we’d be tough to argue him with any authority. In my experience, I find it tough to predictably and consistently correct spines without adjustments twice a week minimum and an hour or more of home therapy daily. Many of the best I know say more. We all have had the “patient who miraculously heals” but not with consistency. Side note, we will be releasing the first ever study done on predictable spinal correction protocols in 2012 in collaboration with half a dozen other doctors. This study will make it very hard for the average doctor to justify a 60+ visit care plan.

I know what you’re getting at, and while I agree 95%, there is exception when the Chiropractor knows what they’re doing and can PROVE results. Important for someone stumbling on this and reading into it. Bottom line for patients, know your Chiropractor’s credentials.

    I just received a care plan that involves 70 adjustments over the next 12 months. Is there somewhere that I can view the study that you are referencing above? Thanks in advance,…

    Michael, I am interested to know if “predictable spinal correction protocols” study has been released. I am a soft tissue practitioner and sometimes I need to refer for some high velocity treatments. I have recently created an alliance with a chiropractor who is of the belief of many adjustments. I would like to read more before I send my clients to them in faith of me. Thank you!

Thanks for commenting, Mike. Glad to hear from you!


I just started seeing a chiropractor for lower back pain. I was told that I have pretty severe forward head posture (nearly 60cm more forward than what is considered normal). I was also told that one of my hips is about 20cm higher than the other. My chiropractor has recommended that I get adjusted three times a week. While my lower back pain is interfering quite a bit with my daily functioning, I’m worried that this may be a bit excessive. I was recommended that I have three adjustments a week for a four week period and then have my x-rays taken again to see how the adjustments are working. I’m thinking of asking to only have adjustments 1-2 times per week instead.

Any input would be greatly appreciated!

One additional point– This doctor is also closed on Fridays– So I would be receiving three adjustments per week during Monday-Thursday. This also added to my concern, as three adjustments in a four day period for four weeks really seemed to be a lot!

    Mel, a chiropractor’s treatment recommendations often depend on which adjusting technique they’re using. In many “full spine” offices across the country, 3X per week for 4-weeks is a common recommendation. Whether or not 3 adjustments per week is “better” than 1-2 adjustments per week is debatable. Some chiropractors might suggest this is too frequent and that the body needs time to respond to an adjustment before subsequent treatments are given. But you will also find DCs who want you to come in 5x per week because that’s what their treatment protocols recommend.

    If you’re unsure, I don’t think it would be a problem for you to receive an adjustment once per week to test the waters.

      Sorry doc to break in on this conversation again but since I replied earlier I got it in my email too. But this is a case where it’s appropriate for one of the “high frequency” docs to give a response I think will clarify greatly.

      Mel, it’s time the patients start holding the Chiropractors to the test. If we all love Chiropractic, the best way to advance it is to make sure Chiropractors are held to standards. Ask the questions like, “what is my expected correction ON XRAY in that time frame”, “what training and certification in spinal correction protocols do you have” (ask for references and websites, I’d be glad to review credibility if you need), “what will I be doing besides adjustments to achieve that correction” (can’t do it with predictable results adjustments alone, again glad to review), etc. If they can’t answer these questions with clear certainty than you are in one of those stencil 3x a week offices both Dr. Tanase and myself disapprove of. If however you are in a corrective office, be glad because they’re rare.

      When Chiropractors get these questions enough and have enough angry patients expecting corrective results visible on xray and not getting it, they’ll seek to get better. Our profession, and the patients most, deserve all of us Chiropractors to constantly strive to get better at doing what we claim, as the number one specialists of the spine and nerve system and their optimal correction and function. Do us all a favor and ask the questions before you accept care. Do yourself a favor and don’t use this as a reason to abandon Chiropractic altogether, but find the right doctor instead. Hope this helps.

      Thank you for sharing, doc. The more info and perspective she has, the better.

I have been seeing a NUCCA chiropractor for about 5 years now. It took me almost 8 months of care before seeing consistent improvement and had a really difficult time holding my adjustment during that time (was getting adjusted twice per week for about 6 months). I was able to hold my adjustment over time for about 3 weeks typically. I got pregnant and had a baby in May of 2010 and shortly after that I started having problems holding my adjustment again. My symtoms are dizziness and balance problems so it’s difficult to not get adjusted frequently so i’m back to being adjusted once or twice weekly. I’m still having a lot of problems holding and was wondering if pregnancy and nursing contribute to muscle laxness (that is what my current chiropractors thinks) Any suggestions?

    Emotional stress can wreak havoc on a person’s ability to hold their adjustments. Anxiety, fear, anger, worry, distress, etc… Would that be something you’ve had a lot of over the past 5 years?

      I had a lot of stress in the beginning when I first started care 5 years ago because of the dizziness. Once the symptoms were better the stress was gone but I still wasn’t able to hold for more than 3 weeks at a time? Have you ever seen that before? There was stress once I had the baby and definitely a lot more now. Part of the problem is that though I’m getting adjusted often, I don’t think i’m getting fully aligned. My hips and legs are definitely level when I leave the office, but I have a twist in my hips and a neck lean that the doctor is not able to correct even right after the adjustment. She recognizes that and is trying to sort it out but cannot understand why the adjustments are not correcting the problem. Any suggestions?

Tamara Webster Monday at 13:40

I have a question in regards to NUCCA as well. I started NUCCA along with ortho work (for the second time) a couple years ago. The chiro care completely eliminated the TMJD symptoms and many other little minor problems. Then I had jaw surgery. They broke and moved my bottom jaw forward 10mm and tipped it upwards to fix an open bite and hopefully the TMJD would be gone forever.

That was 1 1/2 years ago. My neck has not remained in alignment for more than 24 hours since. We tried twice weekly adjustments, re Xrays (involved a change in angle), more time between appointments, two different dental splints made by a very expensive neuromuscular dentist, adjustments of those with the nucca chiro present (involved 3 adjustments over a 3 hour time because I kept popping out) and now physio with Gunn-IMS accupunture.

Nothing as worked and all the pain and issues are bad 100%. Migraines almost daily, nausea, loss of appetite, extreme fatigue, severe jaw, neck and joint/muscle pain over the entire body. I know NUCCA works because it was awesome and I felt the best I ever have!! I want that back but it seems to be getting farther and farther from possible.

We are adjusting once a month to try and give the physio some time to work, initiatally it helped a lot and not so much now. Is this under adjusting or over adjusting since my neck comes out of alignment within 20 minutes?

I know attitude plays a big role in keeping the adjustment but it’s impossible to stay upbeat because I know it’s not going to work. I’m painful, unable to eat properly (both from jaw and severe GERD), tired and really really wish I never had the jaw surgery. I don’t bother stretching any more because it’s too painful and does not help at all – I seem to even tense up afterwards. Any tips would be appreciated.

Dr. Tanase,

I have been seeing a chiropractor for almost 3 months now. On my first visit, I received x-rays and following that, I was adjusted 4x a week for the first 2-3 weeks, then 3x for 2-3 weeks and now down to 2x a week. I should be going to 1x a week here soon. From what it sounds like, this is pretty typical? It sure seems like I am going often, maybe too often? The part I am mostly concerned about is that the appointments last literally 7 minutes, at most. This includes being placed (for about 3 minutes) on rolling massage table and then seeing the doc for just a few minutes to do adjustments to help correct both my scoliosis and neck pain. Should I be asking for another xray to be done at this time to ensure that things are progressing properly? I also do stretching at home using a chin-up bar and stretch over a soft vanity bench against both apexes in order to help the process along. I just want to make sure that I am not being taken advantage of by going this frequent and for such short visits. Friends of mine say that their visits often take 45 minutes to an hour. Thank you for your time!

    No way your spine is warmed up in 3 minutes, not with scoliosis. Our patients warm up for 45-55 minutes of intense vibration before adjustment. X-rays should be taken every 8-12 visits IF correction is being communicated as the outcome. For credible correction protocol see the CLEAR Institute website.

    Emma, the recommendations you’ve been given are fairly common in conventional (full spine) chiropractic offices.

    The amount of time you spend in the office isn’t nearly as important as the doctor’s ability to show you measurable progress. In other words, I’d rather spend 1-minute with a doctor who I know is helping me than 1-hour with one who isn’t.

    If your doctor can demonstrate objective improvement through re-evaluations and/or x-rays, then it’s legitimate. But if you’ve gone that many times and he can’t show you any improvements (and you’re not feeling any better), then there’s no shame in shifting gears and consulting with someone else.

    I recommend arranging a time to meet with your chiropractor when he can spend more time with you and discuss your concerns. It might be at the end of the day, or during a time that’s not designated for adjusting patients. Ask him to review his care plan with you, and re-explain the direction he’s headed. If he has seen you that many times over 12 weeks he should have definitely performed a progress exam by now, or in the very near future.

    If you’d like some assistance finding someone new, email me and I’ll see what I can find.

I have been going to a chiropractor for almost a year now. I was going twice a week at first then once a week, then once a month. I was doing better but not fully healed I have to admit I wasn’t doing the exercises at home either. My left arm has been weak for a while now. Im not getting concerned about the popping noises in my neck. I know I am small framed and don’t have a lot of muscle. I stay stressed a lot the time so I know my muscles are tense They use whats called the pro adjuster on me. I aggravated my neck and back again doing yoga. My question is can chiropractic machines cause weaker muscles and cause a hyper mobile neck or is it possible that my neck is just tense? My neck sometimes pops when I breath. One thing that helps ease the pain is they say I have a rib bone that comes up in between my neck and shoulder. They use the pro adjuster to push it back down. It feels so much better when they do that.

Im sorry I meant Im now getting concerned about the popping noises in my neck.

Christopher John Monday at 05:30

I completely agree to the relevance of this article. Its well written and self descriptive. We go to a specialist for getting treated for something specific and end up visiting him more often for some other new ailments. The medical practitioners should be healers not money-makers.
The basic morality of a chiropractor is to heal people by offering adjustments. But is it justified to over heal for monetary gains? Healing should only be as required, not less and not more.

I went through over 3 months of spinal restoration, including traction machine and manual alignment by the doctor. I was treated either once, twice, or three times per week. The program is now finished. The final x-rays show that my spine is looking like new (very different than it looked originally). The s-curve is very pronounced now (it was straight before), and the disc spaces are looking larger and correctly positioned. At first, you would think the program was a flying success. However, I’m feeling a lot of discomfort I never had before. My stomach is giving me problems, I can’t sleep on my back anymore, since it is painful after a minute or two. I am worried that my spine was over-corrected, and the curve is too much, or else there is a problem at the base of the lumbar. The original damage was at the lumbar., and that is where they concentrated the work on. I am also wondering if what I am feeling is just a normal adjustment period to a new spine, and that I may aclimate to it in time. I used to walk straight and tall, but now I am walking very strangely because of the new posture that I received with the spinal restoration. It does not feel right. My back used to go out on me a few times a year, and I would not be able to stand up, walk, or leave the house for at least a week, I was in so much pain. So, the only way I know to measure my progress is to see if my back continues to go out on me. I just never expected all these other side affects. Is this normal? Thanks in advance. – Jacob

I had a fall in February of 2011….since then i’ve had severe headaches. About 4 months ago I finally decided to see a chiropractor after seeing a neurologist. The chiropractor ordered xrays & found I had a few issues with lil separation & things out of wack….crooked…so he began adjusting because he said it would relieve my headaches & it has but if I dont see him for a wk I have neck pain….nausea….headaches…is this normal….

    Melanie, there are a few different possibilities… But here’s an important one to consider.

    It’s beneficial for patients to learn what NOT to do at home/work after being adjusted. Often times, spinal misalignments can reoccur because of our bad habits (stomach sleeping, for example). We tend to do unhealthy or unbalanced things all day long, not realizing they can impact our spine in negative ways. So it’s possible that your adjustments could “hold” longer if you were to evaluate this component.

Hi Dr. Tanase,
I’ve had very bad symptoms for 4 months right after my mom passed away and I slept on a bad couch for several weeks at the time. The symptoms have been facial tingling/pressures, head pressure/ache, dizziness,lightheadedness and some body numbness. (As well as lots of tightness and knots in my neck and back). My neurologist called this cervicogenic headaches and referred me to physical therapy. I am debilitated daily by this. My question is that I just also saw a chiropractor for this and he did an adjustment and my symptoms became worse than they had been in weeks. He wants me to get adjusted 3x a week, and he also did acupuncture on me. Is this worsening ok to this extent, and is 3x a wk right? My xray showed mild curvature that I’ve always had and slightly forward cervical spine. Thank you so much in advance.


    The combination of emotional stress (loss of a parent) and physical strain (sleeping on a bad couch for several weeks) can certainly create their own health problems.

    In some cases after treatment, symptoms can get worse before they improve. I’m not so sure that’s what is going on here though… While general chiropractic care can be beneficial, there are times when a patient needs a more “specific” approach.

    You might consider meeting with an Upper Cervical chiropractor in your area. They’ll be able to take a few more x-rays unique to the upper cervical spine, and offer a second opinion. If you’d like me to help you find someone in your area, I’d be happy to…

      Thank you that would be great. I told the chiropractold he did acupuncture and said that the adjustments may have hyperstimulated the nerves and that we should hold off for now on another adjustment. I live in champaign illinois…any help finding a specialist would be appreciated.

      One more question- I’ve been told by several people that I shouldn’t have gotten a manipulation on my cervical spine due to lots of scary risks, such as stroke, dissection, etc…the technique used by my chiropractor was lateral he said, not rotational. After all I’ve been through I don’t need more worry, so i would appreciate your input.

      Kristy, I will send my response to you via email.

Dr. Tanase,

I have been seeing a chiropractor for a couple of months now and feel better before the adjustment than I do after. My neck will not be hurting and then after the adjustment my neck hurts and feels tight and I get a headache and I have problems with my anxiety the rest of the night along with a hot tingling sensation on the right side of my face. Is this normal or do I need to find another doctor?

    Carrie, does your doctor use any sort of objective assessment tools before/after the adjustment to gauge effectiveness? This might be a rolling thermal scan, or something of that nature…

Hi Dr. Tanase. I just met with my chiropractor (whom I have only been seeing for the last 2 months) and upon review of my x-ray, he is recommending a spinal correction plan that involves 70 adjustments over the next 12 months. For the first 8 weeks, I will be having 3 adjustments a week and then for another 8 weeks, 2 per week and so on. According to the x-ray, I am in phase 2 of the Phases of Spinal Degeneration. I have been to different chiropractors over the last 8 years and this is the first one who has actually done more than just adjust me to relieve pain. Is there anywhere I could do more research on whether this is a realistic plan? My concern is that 70 adjustments seems too many in just 12 months when I am accustomed to being adjusted once or twice a month. Thanks in advance!

Gerimaya Whyte Thursday at 14:29

I highly reccomend people go as little as possible and trust your own instincts to self access yourselves… I found a really good chiropractor whom I feel is skilled and on the up and up. He really doesn’t want to fix it if it isn’t broke unlike others who want to rope you in. I still made the mistake of going one time too many after going twice to adjust for rib and back issues that have painfully plagued me for a while. Unfortunately at my third visit I had made dramatic improvement and in retrospect feel I honestly didn’t need it… Two days later after I feel almost back to square one…

When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added”
checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four emails with the
same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service?

Appreciate it!

    That’s a good question… I don’t believe it’s an option I can opt you out of through my blog… I think it’s probably something that’s connected to your user account.

Dr. Tanase, I hope you’re still reading these comments. I’ve tried to make this short but I didnt want to miss the point that something doesnt feel right with this Chiros methods. I would like your opinion, or anyone willing.

I just finished my assessment period with a new Chiropractor, she gave a 1hr lesson/sales pitch on the importance of the nervous system and how it heals and controls all; lots of pictures, god talk, analogies, an emotional roller coaster of testimonials etc… Some internet reading has her identified as a “Straight”; the type that adheres to traditional Chiro theories. After the lesson she went over my x-rays that had some straight black lines and some red twisty lines (I have mild scoliosis), apparently I’m heading towards a level 1 subluxation in my neck. She marvels at how bad my back is for my age (23) and tells me that I must start a treatment plan immediately or I will cause permanent damage. Treatment is 3x for 8 weeks, 2x for 10 weeks, 1x for 34 weeks with xrays at 6 months. That is a lot of money in a short amount of time. She seemed very pushy on the fact that this is serious and I will die if it goes untreated (a reoccurring theme) , the schedule was the minimum she would recommend. Also she refuses to do pay-per-visit, saying that the paperwork is too much for her secretary “most patients go for the annual payments” ($3200).

I’ve received a couple treatments that last about 2 minutes, no massage or warm-up. With the dual table set-up she has, I’ve calculated she can crank through roughly 25 adjustments/hr ($1000/hr!).

I guess my questions are:

– Does this seem right to you? Financial vs Helping motivator
– Is it OK to opt for less treatments?
– Should I buy those x-rays and get second opinions?
– Should I find a chiro that massages first? a “Mixer”
– maybe I’m paranoid?


    I question the sincerity/validity of cookie-cutter care plans. I also question the need for theatrical sales pitches during a chiropractic visit.

    I can simply say that you wouldn’t be doing yourself a disservice by finding a second opinion, and listing to your gut instinct.

On reading the bloggers comments I note that there is no posted reply to a “Kim’s” questions and I am wondering whether you can please comment publicly regards her concerns as it is a concern I have had recently, as I would think there would be many others also.

per Kim – “My question is can chiropractic … cause weaker muscles and cause a hyper mobile neck,….My neck sometimes pops when I breath.” and “…Im now getting concerned about the popping noises in my neck.” ???

Thank you in advance for replying.

    Weak muscles – doubtful. But I am of the opinion that too frequent manipulation of one’s spine can lead to hyper mobility (whether in the form of chiropractic care or crude self-induced movements).

    I have also noticed, however, that properly-timed and correctly-delivered chiropractic adjustments play a role in strengthening the supportive structures of the spine, thereby reducing the frequent popping sounds and contributing to stability.

      Hello again,
      Not sure whether you received my prior message, I post it here again –
      I had searched fairly widely previously on-line including to professional chiropractic websites and there was no mention, as far as I could find, about what IS an adverse side effect of chiropractic adjustments (this “hyper-mobility with excessive popping” eg’s opening the mouth, looking up/down/sideways, breathing, even looking sideways can produce this excessive “popping” for goodness sake, etc.). It is not pleasant and I know is not at all normal.

      Why would this not be well publicised and routinely advised of, as well as all of the possible side effects, by chiropractic practitioners prior to adjusting those seeking help?
      Advising patients of side-effects is a compulsory requirement in conventional medical and surgical practice.
      I think that this aspect is part of why generally the populous are still sceptical about non-conventional practices.

      When I first saw a chiropractor I had some really good benefits, nothing short of amazing results actually. However 18 months down the track things went in the opposite direction seeing the same person. And this is not an uncommon story so I have discovered.
      So I have recently shun returning (2 months ago) as I feel strongly that further adjustments will certainly only worsen the situation and the last time I saw the chiropractor said this.

      In all honesty what comments would you offer regards these aspects?

      Thanking you.

      Chris, I can’t answer why other chiropractors may or may not do the things you’re suggesting. What I do know is that all chiropractors are trained and required by law to have patients sign an informed consent document — similar to those of medical practitioners.

Hi there! I just had my first chiropratic visit on Monday 1/28/13… My complaint was, since having my son, over a year ago I have been having 2-3 nights a week where I cannot sleep due to mid-back pain on my right side. I always have problems with it during the day, but have “episodes” where the pain is terrible. So I finally caved and made an appointment. He took x-rays and found that I have scoliosis… I have a couple of questions. Since my visit Monday, I have seen him Tuesday for an adjustment, and Wednesday another adjustment, and I go back tomorrow for another adjustment… He said that scoliosis does not just happen overnight… so my first question: Is there a way to find out how long I’ve had this and if I have had this for a long time why is it just now giving me problems?! My second question is: He said that “fixing” the problem could take anywhere from 4-6 months or possibly 10-12 months… Will I have to see him 3 times a week for adjustments for possibly a year?

Okay I lied I have another question, is there a way to actually fix scoliosis? It’s not so severe that I need surgery, so how does he intend to fix it…

Hi … I’ve been getting adjustments weekly for 3 years and now I’ve gone down to 1 per 2 weeks. My chiro prefers once per week. I’ve noticed I am getting headaches after adjustment. I don’t have headaches before them. Sometimes I feel the chiro goes through the motions of the adjustment without fully checking me out first. The adjustment is done in like 1 minute, then it’s NEXT patient. A bit like a process line. Any advice good please … Sometimes I feel it’s more about the $$ but I could be wrong.

    Hi Cora, I know how you feel… Some offices do this “Assembly line” approach to patient care, but not all do. If you’re unhappy with the quality of care and time spent with the doctor, it’s perfectly acceptable to find a new chiropractor. I recommend calling a few prospective offices and asking to speak with the doctor at his/her convenience, then briefly describing your experience.

Hi, I’ve been seeing a Chiro 3 times a week for 3 months now, the first 3 weeks was 6 times Monday through to Saturday. I have been diagnosed with minor central stenosis L4-5 and small annular tear at L5-S1.. I don’t feel that there’s been much improvement, I have been experiencing chronic thoracic pain which was never there before it started over a month ago while being adjusted and was very stiff in the upper back and the chiro tried 2/3 times to adjust it did not crack but was in alot off pain i lost my breath for a good few seconds and could not get up. I’ve told my Chiro many times that I’ve been in a lot of pain that I never had and that I’m having difficulty turning my head and lifting my arm i have sleeping also waking me at night, I am in constant pain he told me the is normal and it’s part of the the healing process but I don’t believe it’s part of the healing it’s damage my upper back not only I have lower back pain but mid upper…

Is this normal what can I do about this?

    Lavinia, that’s a very intense treatment schedule. Has the doctor performed any progress exams along the way? This is important and necessary to insure that measurable improvements are being made, and that you’re headed in the right direction.

    In terms of what you can do, you can always consult with another local chiropractor for a second (or third) opinion on your condition. Another provider may have a different opinion, and suggest a different course of treatment and/or visit schedule.

Dr. Tanase,

I’ve been going to a well-known upper cervical Dr in the area for over 2 years. My adjustments never hold for more than a week. I can tell when my neck goes out, then I have to go back in to see this orthospinologist before I get a migraine. If I can’t get in there in time, I get a migraine. My migraines are accompanied with dizziness and nausea and then I’m down for the count, so I really try to avoid this. This is VERY frustrating since I get the same old answer that the muscles are week or one side is too lose, the other side is too tight, my body needs time to heal, bla bla. Nothing seems to work. I am not a stomach sleeper, I have a chiropractic neck pillow, I sit up straight, I don’t hold my purse on my shoulder, and I no longer wear high heels, and I have restricted my neck movements in a last ditch effort to “hold” my adjustment as directed. I have also been wearing a collar and icing the neck as directed by the Dr. I have been re-x-rayed and re-positioned, and re-adjusted. Help! What can I do? Nothing is working!! Why aren’t my adjustments holding???

    Nikki, I’ll send my response via email.

      Dear Dr Tanase, Nikki’s symptoms are almost identical to mine. If possible I would be very interested in the advice you were able to give her on why she wasn’t holding. My initial reason for starting with NUCCA is because starting in my late 50’s I began to develop so many different symptoms in my body I thought I would become housebound. It was like a ‘wack a mole’! Possibly from two severe car accidents I had in the 1970’s. Traditional medicine came up with little conclusions and the medications they gave me was only making it worse. I eventually came to NUCCA and have had some very good results but after two years once a week (@ $90. a pop!) I’m wondering if I will ever hold for longer than 10 days. Sixteen days out of thirty with an induced migraine is no way to live. Thanks.

I have been seeing a chiro for 13 visits now with no improvement. Started three x a week for four weeks and an now on 2xa wk on my 2nd week no improvements all he does is adjust me then I leave like tops three minutes. Should I keep going for the remainder of my treatment or should I stop. the x rays showed my cervical spine to be very straight. my symptoms are neck pain all the time, headaches , dizziness, lighthead, eye jitters , shoulder pain and tired all the time have confusion and just cant think right.

    Brenda, I’m not at liberty to say whether you should or shouldn’t discontinue care. But what I can say is that while your visit frequency is higher than I prefer, you’ve only been under care for a month… Which means your body hasn’t had a reasonable amount of time for all the tissues to respond.

    If this frequency concerns you, I recommend sitting down with your doctor and asking him how he plans to evaluate your progress over time. Progress exams that demonstrate measurable improvement are needed, in my opinion, to justify so many visits.

I have been going to the chiro for 2 months now, and have used 3 different ones (different schedules). this was for a whiplash flare up/ upper back issues. Now I have more upper neck issues! I was going 2-3 times per week, but now I’m going to see a doctor of traditional Chinese medicine next week, because I’m very concerned – my condition has not improved, it’s gotten worse. I feel in my neck, it’s not right. I could use an adjustment, because it feels out of place, but I’m afraid of just making the issue worse by getting another adjustment. Any suggestions (and feel free to email me) would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for posting this blog, as I feel that I have been ‘overadjusted’!

I’ve been getting adjustments for two weeks now. Is it normal to be feeling pressure right above my eyes. The pressure is on and off but I’m starting to get worried

    Are you only feeling pressure in the forehead area immediately following adjustments? Is this a sensation you’ve never felt prior to getting adjusted? — Two weeks worth of adjustments doesn’t really constitute “over adjusted” — it depends on how many visits you’ve made to the office, and how many times you’ve been adjusted without re-evaluation.

      I’ve been adjusted a total of 5 times in two weeks. The second adjustment was done one day after the first. I have never experienced any kind of pressure in my forehead before the adjustments. The pressure doesn’t start right after the adjustment. It comes and goes but I’m just worried that if I keep going its going to get worse. The evaluation will be done after 10 adjustments two times a week. should I continue the treatment? Originally he wanted to set me up for a 40 adjustment plan 3 times a week.

      I don’t know enough about your health history or daily habits to comment on the pressure you mentioned… However, 10 visits followed by a re-evaluation (to evaluate progress and determine the next step, if any) isn’t terribly unreasonable or uncommon.

Christopher Mohr Monday at 12:31

Could you possibly comment or suggest something? Last October I fell in my moms house and hurt my back! I went to a local chiropractor who helped in getting my spine realigned. But I have had pain in left arm since his treatment and it has been there since last February 2013. I’m not able to go see any Doctor since I’m unemployed with no insurance. Do you think the chiropractic treatment hurt my arm and would might be the cause of the upper arm pain and soreness in my left arm?

Any advice would be welcome?

Sincerely Christopher Mohr

    Christopher, while obviously I didn’t observe how the chiropractor adjusted you, it’s unlikely that the adjustments caused your chronic arm pain.

I just started seeing a chiropractor who does not use x-rays, should I be concerned?

    Hi Joe, it depends on which technique(s) your chiropractor is using. Techniques like Logan Basic, Activator, and Active Release are passive and safe to perform without films. However, it’s my personal opinion that if your doctor is using the more conventional methods that involve physically manipulating the spine, X-rays are strongly encouraged.

I just went to a maximum living chiro – said I was in the single digits in my neck, no curve
– have to go back for a group presentation and then meet with the chiro about my treatment plan – advised to bring my husband – and if he can’t make it to call and reschedule. I plan on going but am not bringing my husband – I’m a bit skeptical because I can’t get anything from them on fees at this point – they seem sincere and believe in what they are doing – not sure whether to continue at this point or not –

    Jean, I am not sure what they charge… but those offices generally want a year long (sometimes two) commitment from patients. If I had to ballpark it, my guess is they’ll ask anywhere from $3,000 to $6,000 for the whole shebang.

Just checking for a response to my earlier question – when taking an open mouth x-ray he had me tilt my head back and open my mouth wide while standing – seems to me that would show my neck as straight?

    The APOM view (patient is facing the x-ray tube with your mouth open), tilting your head back is done to insure full visibility of the upper cervical spine. Otherwise your teeth may obstruct the view and require a retake.

      Thanks – is it possible to get the curve back in your neck through adjustments – or safe to do so – maybe I was born with this- I am in relatively good health or thought I was – have a good evening.

    Okay – thanks – I called earlier and rescheduled not happy I am not bringing my husband – wanted me to bring him as he said my x-rays are a lot worse than he originally thought – I wanted to see my x-rays but thinking I am going to run away on this one – I am not a big fan of x-rays and I don’t really want to have them retaken somewhere else.

      To be perfectly honest, when chiropractors suggest/require a new patient’s spouse to be present for your “report of findings,” it’s often just a sales tactic taught to the doctor by practice management companies in order to increase “conversion” rates.

      They don’t want you to leave the office and say “I’ll think about it.” So the idea behind it is that if the spouse is present, you can confer and agree to care on site, without going home to discuss the expense/commitment.

      I’m not suggesting that it’s right or wrong, but it’s a common theme amongst offices who are following patient protocol scripts. At the end of the day, health care is a business, and every business uses strategies to increase profits. Hospitals, universities, etc… they all have their own methodology.

      That being said, I do think you should see what your x-rays reveal. Spinal health is important, and ignoring the problem (if one is truly present) won’t fix anything.

      As for the question about one’s curvature – yes, in many cases it is possible for spinal curves to be restored through chiropractic adjustments that are coupled with properly timed stretches/exercises.

Okay thanks for your opinion – I will be go to see about the x-rays but will be getting a second opinion as I always do in anything with our health.

Hi Dr. Tanase, x-ray show straight cervical spine/some arthritis – at about 80%loss of curve – treatment adjustment 3 x per week for 6 weeks and then corrective visits 2 x’s week for 9 weeks – re- evaluation at 6 weeks /did discuss my concern regarding over adjustment.,which is evaluated at 6 weeks. Just under $2,000 if paid up front – otherwise can do a payment plan without the discount which will be about 400 more. This includes exercises and a home care kit?(forgot to ask what that is, think it is exercises for home) They also offer the nutritional info etc . If I stop at anytime they will refund my money. Some low back issues but mostly my neck. – sitting at a computer at work for too many years. What do you think on the frequency of this etc. thanks

    Jean, I think you should do whatever you feel most comfortable doing. If you feel that you’re in good hands with that office, by all means, give it a go.

sam mitchell Thursday at 13:22

Hi there

I visited a chiro cause my hip was aw, he said i had a slightly curved spine causing the hip to stress. he gave me a plan of 3 times a week for a month and 2 times a week for 6 weeks, now the pain has gone but I’m experiencing so many clicks in my upper spine and i haven’t visited him for months now, is it bad that my back clicks every time i breath or lift my shoulders?

it become very annoying and it makes me feel like my back is becoming weaker and I’m always gonna have to click it everyday?

will my back always b like this I’m only 22 and i desperately wana box again as my hip is now fine, jus the popping in my back which is annoying.

thanks a lot reading this website is by far the best website on the web.

I just started going to the chiropractor and she wanted me to come in 5 days this week and then 3 days a week after that, after my second adjustment I came home with a bad headache that lasted about 3-4 hours and that next morning when I gotboutvof bed I felt off balance and same thing this morning, also slightly dizzy what can be causing this? I decided not to go back because I am scared I will feel worse!

Lindsay Bezzant Friday at 23:04

Thank you so much for this article, it helped me understand so much more. Can you tell me if that Foundations book is helpful for neck clicking as well?

Hi Dr. Tanase,
Do you think it’s necessary to warm the back before manipulation? The Chiropractors I saw in the past always warmed my back before adjustments. I have seen this Chiropractor twice. I felt better after the first adjustment. Then I saw him yesterday and my back still feels on fire. He doesn’t warm your back first just uses the tool to detect inflammation and cracks whatever area is most inflamed. Does warming the area first help to reduce subsequent pain? Thanks for your help.

Diane Siefkes Tuesday at 12:49

I have been seeing a chiropractor for 2 months. He wants to see me for 6 months at 3 times per week. (If I don’t get 3 in, he says it will take a lot longer) and then start tapering it off slowly to once per month. I have been a total of 21 times. I feel worse. My neck that didn’t hurt before, feels stiff all of the time. I had a back fusion 3 years ago (L3-L4) that has not helped. Most of my pain seems to be coming from my SI joint. I seem to feel a lot worse than I did before. He just tells me that due to all of my degeneration, it is going to be a lot slower to get my joints moving freely. He has you do several things before he adjusts, like a wobble chair, and then this table that you lay on with a weight around your head pulling it back while it vibrates. I’m very worried that I’m making a mistake about doing this process.

Hi, just wondering if i’m beiing overadjusted…my chiropractor is trying to get the C4 mobility, for past 6 mionths I’ve been going once a week, progress seems slow , just seems like one area is constantly sore in neck and i hear alot of popping lately… Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thankyou

Hello Dr. Tanase, I just started to see a chiropractor to help with my frequent headaches and for tingling and numbness in my fingers and also indigestion. After the evaluation and X-rays we found I had sublaxations (level 2) that may be causing my symptoms.

The first adjustment was this past Friday and I felt great after but the following day (Saturday…almost 24 hours later) I felt fatigued, light headed with a headache. On Monday, I started to get a slight headache but figured I was going in for my second adjustment later that day and hopefully it would provide some relief. I felt much better after my adjustment but an hour later I had a horrible, horrible headache. Is this normal? The chiropractor would like to see me for the first month for 3x a week. But now I am concerned it may trigger more headaches. I also have been concerned about chiropractic adjustments have caused strokes. I’m all new to this method of chiropractic care so any insight would be great to give me ease of mind if I am doing the right thing. Thank you.

Hello Dr…

I recently went to the Chiropractor for the first time in my life. I am a 28 year old male and started experiencing lower back pain (which I believe was started and further exasperated by a recent snowboard fall on the tailbone 2 months ago). During the first visit, he took digital X-ray-s and showed me the “beginning stages” of DDD between the L4-L5 and L5-S1. He did his first adjustment and the next day my jaw started to become sore and tingle. My teeth became very sensitive. It is kind of like how they would feel after an orthodontist tighten braces (had them as a child). Three days later (today) I went back for a second adjustment as I bought 3 prepaid adjustments. I told him about this new sensation and how I thought the neck adjustment could have been related as this soreness and sensitivity started the day after my first ever adjustment. He said it is possible nerves that have been pinched off for a while are sending new signals I haven’t felt in a while, but other than that he has never heard of this before…My first thought is wouldn’t they have gone away after a few days? And second, I know TMJ can possibly be healed by neck adjustments…but it feels like my neck adjustments are contributing to this problem. I just walked out of my second adjustment as I previously stated and now my jaw is tingling again and my teeth feel tight. The ironic part is my lower back is actually feeling MUCH better, now my jaw and teeth are concerning me.

Any insight?


    Hi Joe, that’s interesting. If this were me, I’d do some self-experimenting and ask the doctor not to adjust my neck one time (but everything else as he’s done before), then see if it happens again.

Nina Infante Tuesday at 19:15

I’ve been seeing the same Chiropractor for over five years now and haven’t had any adverse reactions to his cervical manipulations. Four days ago, I went to receive a manipulation from his substitute, also a Chiropractor, since mine was on vacation. Since then, I’ve had a lot of tingling on the top left part of my head, which I never experienced with my regular Chiropractor. Is it possible the substitute may have caused damage to my arteries and/or nerves? he did adjust one side of my neck twice and my regular Chiropractor usually doesn’t adjust more than once on each side of my neck.

    Nina, without knowing your medical history, lifestyle habits, or exactly which adjusting procedure was performed, I can’t answer that question… but I often hear that patients aren’t fond of their “substitute” chiropractors when the primary doc is unavailable. Next time your doc is out of town, consider waiting until he/she returns. That’s what I’d do.

Hello I have been seeing a chiropractor since late June. I have been going 3 times a week for almost 6 weeks. My initial issue was a pinching in my hip with numbness in my thigh. I was told I had a pinched nerve and that my tailbone had shifted to the right. In addition a mild form of scoliosis and degenerative disc disease. Now my right hip hurts …my tail bone hurts and I have stiffness in my back. I seem to have gotten worse as opposed to better. My doctor says that its normal but I don’t feel I should be going backwards …any advice.

Hi Dr. Tanase, I’m new to chiropractic care and have been seeing a chiro for 2 months for acute neck pain from a whiplash/head trauma. I also have a couple herniated disc in my neck imaged from a cervical MRI. My chiro specializes in knee chest upper cervical but also uses an array of other techniques such as the activator and drop table. I’ve been to about 11 visits so far and have seen some improvements in some symptoms but also some new problems as well. After my last adjustment, my C2 was adjusted using the knee chest technique and the visit before that, my atlas. Since then, my head has felt a little wobbly and my balance extremely off. Rotating my neck to right also seems a little tighter. I also experienced my right ear vibrating three times, which has never happened to me in my life and is kind of scary. Other symptoms as well but these are the major ones. Could my chiropractor have over adjusted me with knee chest and can this be rectified? How to approach this? Thank you for any advice.

    What you’ve described is hard for me to classify as “upper cervical care.” From the frequency (11 visits in 8 weeks is a lot), to the disjointed selection of adjusting methods (knee chest, activator, AND drop table?), along with adjusting the atlas on one visit then the axis on another… This falls outside what I consider the upper cervical protocol. Flip-flopping around like this can mean a number of things — I can only speculate as to what the doctor is doing, but that wouldn’t be terribly useful here. Consistency would likely rectify the problem.

Nina Infante Saturday at 11:55

Hello Dr. Tanese,

Would getting a chiropractic adjustment every five days be too much? I have cervical stenosis, with bone spurs in my neck and a lot of arthritis, as a result. I’m not able to hold an adjustment for more than a week and I’ve been getting adjustments for more than five years now. I don’t like the idea of weekly adjustments after such a long time being treated and am wondering if I should limit it to once every five days or wait until after seven days? I’ve noticed that I get a lot of facial tingling/nerve pain/numbness on one side of my face, when I get adjusted every five days.

    Nina, I’m not in a position to determine how often you should or shouldn’t get adjusted. What I can tell you is that I’ve personally never scheduled a patient that often, and I see a lot of complicated cases.

Nina Infante Monday at 13:12

I’ve been getting chiropractic adjustments for seven years now and am wondering if once a week adjustments is too much? I’ve tried waiting two weeks and suffer a lot of tightness and pain, but after once a week adjustments, it takes just as long to recover from as every two weeks. I have moderate stenosis in my neck with bone spurs. Would you do once a week adjustments on a patient after seven years of treatments?

Hi Doctor. I was in an auto accident last year and have been receiving weekly adjustments for about 64 weeks now. When I ask my chiropractor about my care, he says that my spine is learning to move again. He also keeps telling me that I should continue my care because it will make my case stronger. He said he has attorneys asking him to do that often. I’m not satisfied with that response, but not sure what to do. Is this a common response?

Thank you

    I can’t say what level of care that you need or don’t need, Mike. What I can tell you is that the purpose of rehab treatment following an accident is to help you get back to how you were feeling prior to the accident (or as close as possible).

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