Chiropractic Treatment: Pros and Cons (including reported negative side effects)

Let me begin by saying I am an avid fan of Chiropractic care. My husband, my daughter, and myself go at least once a week to a chiropractor, if not more. Now onto the question :) Before you can get into the pros and cons of chiropractic care you first must address the issue of finding a chiropractor suited for your needs. Let me explain. Chiropractic medicine is not something that is just done when you have an accident etc. It is an ongoing part of life. Finding a Chiropractic Doctor who feels this way is the hardest part of the process and will determine your pros vs your cons.

The field of Chiropractics has come a LONG way in the past even 10 years. They are learning things all the time of how our bodies can be adapted over time and care to literally correct misalignment's that we have suffered from for so long. You want to make sure you find a Doctor who is on the same page you are, the same way you would look for a Medical Doctor who is on the same page you are.

Personally we have found that "Principled" Chiropractors fall in our range better than any other. They are the ones who generally offer "plans" that include visits for the year not just for a time perid after an injury. Many work with insurance companies and know how to get the most benefits from them.

Now lets look at the pros first:

Our daughter has been adjusted since birth. The studies show that when a child drops down in the birth canal their head is turned to one side. This creates the one side or flat head that we see from them not being able to turn their head at first. Our daughter did not have this as she was adjusted literally hours after birth.

Personally we have seen a drastic increase in our internal immune response to illnesses. When we are sick (yes you will still get sick under chiropractic care) it simply does not last near as long nor is it as bad as it was prior to. Going in and getting adjusted while you are sick is better than taking an over the counter medicine for it by far.

I had IBS and thought I would need fertility medications (medical doctors had removed me gall bladder, attempted to remove an ovary, and told me I would have to deal with it for the rest of my life and more than likely would have to use drugs to conceive). The Chiropractor found I had scoliosis and corrected it without surgery (yes it took a year to do so, but rehab from a metal bar would have taken a lifetime had I gone the surgical route). Currently my IBS is gone and we conceived with no problems whatsoever!

Children and adults alike do things every day that put us out of alignment. We are constantly injuring ourselves plopping down in a chair, missing a step, bouncing in bounce houses, playing on trampolines, playing a sport, general living! This is why care is on going. You will forever be putting yourself out of alignment and needing to be put back :)

The Cons are that once you go regularly it will be next to impossible to stop. When you start you will feel soreness in your muscles and joints as the toxins that have been locked are released as well as the ligaments loosening to adjust to the correct alignment.

If you have a bad Chiropractor just as all the things I said positive that could happen. The opposite could occur. The chiropractor will be moving your bones. You want to make sure that you are VERY confident in this prior to allowing any adjustment to occur.

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Comments 51 comments

Ardie profile image

Ardie 7 years ago from Neverland

Hi Blogging2, another con to chiropractic treatment is when you have a condition where such treatment would only further cause damage. I have a straight cervical spine (since birth) and chiari I, where part of my hindbrain hangs into the opening for my spinal cord. You cant tell to look at me, mostly its pain management issues I deal with. But going for any sort of chiropractic manipulation or treatment would cause me great distress and further my condition. Having said that though, I know plenty of people who go to the chiro at least once a week and live and die by the appointments. Great hub with lots of good information.

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blogging2 7 years ago from Florida Author

Ardie- Thank you for your comment and for reitterating the importance of ensuring if you do choose to go to a Chiropractor that you take the time to find a good one, just as you would a Medical Doctor. They are definitely NOT all the same. I also have a hub How to find a good chiropractor:

I discuss in there the importance of making sure they take x-rays PRIOR to ANY adjustment. If they want to just start adjusting you RUN!

Thank you for such a personal and realistic reason as to why this stage of research is so important!

Ardie profile image

Ardie 7 years ago from Neverland

Ahhh, I missed the hub explaining that xrays should be taken - or if I read it, I forgot :) Thats a very good idea. And you are right, just like there are bad docs out there, Im sure there are bad chiro's too.

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blogging2 7 years ago from Florida Author

:) It never hurts to make sure anyone looking at chiropractic knows that x-rays need to be taken. This is an absolute MUST! Thanks for bringing it to my attention that I didn't address it in this one! Thanks for reading!

jane 7 years ago

Since i have been going to the chiropractor, I have been getting sick. I have had two infections in my throat and now I have pneumonia. I do not know if he is helping me or hurting me. I went in there to have accupressure. He took X-rays and my neck is a mess. He has me on traction when I go in there. I cannot lay flat anymore. I get dizzy and real sick. He's a really good guy but I just have to stop seeing him.

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blogging2 7 years ago from Florida Author

Jane, it sounds like you are having a bad situation and I approve all posts as long as they don't attack another for this very reason.  If your spine is "out of wack" (technical term there huh!), just getting adjusted if it is not correct will NOT help you. 

If you are not being adjusted correctly (which I cannot say for sure) but I do know that when we started I did have some issues due to toxin release, but if it is continuing then by all means you need to stop. 

It sounds as though you found a chiropractor who is a little more diverse than I have heard of from my friends and associates who are Chiropractors.  Most of them specailize and while they do work with Accupressurists, and many other people who do different modalities, they do NOT offer these at their locations.  There is a saying I like, Jack of all Trades Master of None." 

I agree you probably need to stop going if you are doing all that it sounds like a massive overload to me, and I am someone who has done the master cleanse, twice, changed my diet to eat pretty much all organic, done chiropractic, and had my daughter adjusted since birth.  It takes a lot for me to say that.

If you are still interested in trying I would consider finding a "Principled" Chiropractor, not just a "regular" one.  Good luck and God bless!

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backchat 7 years ago from Camberley, Surrey

It is interesting to know a patient's experience of a chiropractor. As I am sure you know there are different techniques in chiropractic and some may find that the "traditional" cracking technique may not suit all. However there are more "tonal" technques that require the practitioner to a more gentle approach. To find out more about a low force, "no crunch" technique look here Regards Lara

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blogging2 7 years ago from Florida Author

Lara- You are absoluetly right and just like any doctor finding a chiropractor whose methodology suits you the best is the best way to get long lasting beneficial results from the treatments!

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top2010 7 years ago

Great Analysis found here, thanks for sharing with us, please keep up this great work

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Ellen_C 7 years ago

I have seen a Chiropractor for years. I choose to go because the alternatives of managing misalignment or pain are not as appealing. One thing I never put much thought into until I saw a trainer was muscle development. I didn't take seriously the stretches and moves my chriopractor recommended until I saw a trainer for working out. As I strangthened my muscles with weight training it was clear I would recover from a crick in my neck much faster. The muscle toning was one thing I missed form the chiropractors I have seen. It also took me several years to find a chiropractor that was not a quack..

jagjit kaur 7 years ago

i went to a chiropractor after an accident. He was very good and gave me a few treatments. I am a student and as i cannot afford it now. I found a great book on Accupressure, done it myself and started the Acid/alkaline diet and also went to see a homeopathic lady to test me for allergies and gave me a course of multivitamins.

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Back2Basics 7 years ago from Aston, Pennsylvania

There is absolutely no connection between Jane's chiropractic treatments and her sickness. Adjusting the spine can not introduce a pathogen into someones system that wasn't there to start with. Additionally I currently treat two patients with Chiari deformities and they both insist it is the only thing that helps them.

Debbie 6 years ago


I am very flu/cold sick after an adjustment with Dr. using a device to open sinus areas. I got sick a few hours later.

Any relationship?

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blogging2 6 years ago from Florida Author

Hi Debbie,

After our first adjustments we also got quite sick, this went away with continued care, but it was our body's way of releasing toxins that had been in our system for years. Going in understanding that we were "righting" what had been "wrong" for so long our chiropractor explained that the toxins had to come out somewhere, which often happens quickly. Hopefully this helps!

Sam 6 years ago

Try Bowen Therapy, it works! it's none invasive and it really makes you feel better.

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Complete Chiro 6 years ago from Temecula, CA

Great Hub! I happen to be one of those "principled chiropractors" that you were referring to. Yes, patients occaisionally do get sick after the first couple of adjustments. The best way to keep this from happening is to drink lots of water after your treatments to help flush out those toxins.

Diddy83 6 years ago

I started seeing a chiropractor in high school when I noticed that after many slides in softball my back began to bother me. I went to the chiropractor that my father saw after he threw his back out. He had a herniated disc, a ruptured disc and a slipped disc. He swore by this chiropractor (who has become a very good friend of the family). My father also referred several of his friends who have had back problems over the years. Everyone of them, including myself, support chiroractic care 100%.

I stopped seeing my chiropractor for a few years due to school, money, etc...however I started seeing him again a few months ago after I threw my back out slipping on ice. He has has definitely helped make me feel better as I am still seeing regularly now. And, he ALWAYS orders x-rays before doing any type of adjustment!!!

Many people are skeptical of chiropractors because they feel that they will create more problems or make your situation worse. This is the case with any doctor!!! Do your research! I can't tell you how many times I, or a family member, have to gone to regular doctors and our symptoms only got worse. It seems the only people who are quick to say negative things about chiropractors are the ones who haven't been to one or have not completed the full suggested treatment.

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Best Chiropractor 6 years ago

I am accident-prone and I Love going to the chiropractor getting the massages and listening to the soft music----very relaxing. Now the thing i cannot get use to is the adjustments. Not that it is painful or anything, but i guess it is just the fact that i am getting my neck snapped. Then recently i read this article about this woman that died from spinal manipulation so chiropractors went down a few notches on my doc-to-meter of GREATNESS!!!!

I am not hating on chiropractors - need to let their patients in on the risks that is all.

Nice Hub....very informative.

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Pure Chiropractic 6 years ago from Nanaimo

Fantastic article blogging2! Really well written and detailed. Love it and agree whole heartedly!

Jeff Clark DC 6 years ago

Just a side note: Chiropractic Medicine? It's chiropractic and has nothing to do with medicine or the medical way of thinking.

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blogging2 6 years ago from Florida Author

Jeff, I am sorry if I offended you as a DC, but personally I consider my chiropractic care a large portion of my "medical" care. This was not written by a doctor, DC, medical, or otherwise, simply a lay person who feels that chiropractic is a major part of my healing process which I consider to be medical.

By this I mean, when asked how I got rid of a cold as quickly as I did, or why I don't get sick with the rest of my friends, I believe it is due to Chriopractic care, I believe it has cured my IBS (which removing my gall bladder did not), regulated my menstral cycle, helped me concieve when I was told I would never be able to... This was not written by a DC, but by a person who feels that my body can provide me the "medicine" I need, when I am in alignment.

newpatient 6 years ago

I had my 3rd chiropractic adjustment today, which included an adjustment of my neck. Now I have ear pain, like what I would feel inside an airplane. Is that normal? Do I have to see another chiropractor?

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blogging2 6 years ago from Florida Author

newpatient- Again I want to reitterate that I am not a chiropractor. I just believe fully in what it does for myself and my family. Now to answer your question (as much as I can), it is definitely common for different things to present through adjustments. Soreness, aches, and pains in various places as the pressure on the nerves is released and the body finds them again. If you feel that something is wrong and you are not comfortable calling or talking to your chiropractor about it then YES you need to see another chiropractor. If you do feel comfortable, ask them. They should not shy away from what is happening and can look at your x-rays to better direct you on why you are having this response. (If they don't have x-rays GO SOMEWHERE ELSE! Even at their best, a good chiropractor will not start adjusting until they know 100% what they are dealing with and the only way to do that is to see the bones and their alignments on an x-ray.) Hope this helps at least a little!

getting adjusted 6 years ago

I believe that chiropractic has given me a chance to experience deeper levels of awareness and connection both structurally and emotionally. I am a believer in the benefits of regular adjustments. I can only imagine how many people would benefit from a chiropractor if they found a good one and continued getting adjusted. The process of getting adjusted is integral to the week in a most positive manner. I feel that I am able to grow a little more each time.

chiropractor willoughby 5 years ago

I'm glad that i found your informative hub, nice to know the information about chiropractic treatment pros and cons. I bookmarked this for future reference. Thanks

Rehana 5 years ago

I have been diagnosed with sciatica since two months and had agonising pain until i recd an epidural steriod shot. Is chiropractic care suitable for this problem?

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blogging2 5 years ago from Florida Author

Rehana- The only answer I can give is that you would want to find a GOOD chiropractor and x rays could tell you more. IF a chiropractor just wants to start adjusting you and says they can do something I would be leary. Even having been under care as long as I have been they still take x rays every year, but I know consistent chiropractic care has helped friends of mine with sciatica.

And just FYI the reason the pain went away with the epidural steroid shot is that you have effectively shut off all pain receptors to the area. This does NOT mean that the problem is fixed, just hidden. Chiropractic is to FIX the issue, NOT just mask it. It takes longer to fix something than to hide it :)

Hopefully this helps :) And good luck!

Alan 5 years ago

Has anyone been treated with an ajuster tool. I just started and have no faith in it.

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blogging2 5 years ago from Florida Author

Alan- Are you talking about the little "clicker" thing? I want to make sure we are talking about the same thing before I make a comment :)

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Stagester 5 years ago

@Alan, my Chiropractor uses the ajuster. There are over 50 different methods of Chiropractic and using the ajuster tool is just one of them. It is lower impact than other methods and I feel very comfortable with him using it. I hope that helps.

BTW, I am almost 2 weeks into Bell's Palsy and every time I get adjusted I start getting more feeling back in my face. I heartily recommend Chiropractic.

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Stagester 5 years ago

@Alan, the device my chiropractor uses isn't the adjuster but is called an activator. He says they are two different devices but I don't know.

Eelyn 5 years ago

i been to two chiropractors so far in a month's time. after the first session with a male dr, so far, i felt better after adjusting and my symptoms (dizziness) was still ok. 2nd chiropractic session - after adjustment, dizziness gotten worst, feel like vertigo attack is coming, and lasted up to today which is already 3 days. wonder if its related to the chiropractic adjustment or not? as my cervical spine from c3-c6 has some confirmed problem, was diagnosed as cervical spondylosis. Which the frist doc said he rated it 2/10 and the 2nd dr rated it 7/10. i really am unsure who is correct now?? its somehow scary to read some adverse reaction of some patients who got stroke after adjustments.. and im wondering whether the vertigo will go off as its already 3 days now..

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blogging2 5 years ago from Florida Author

Thank you Stagester, yes, the activator is what our Chiro uses as well, I am not sure the difference either but I can continue to look!

Eelyn- OK, I will try to answer with the limited info given but want to clarify yet again, I am NOT a Dr., nor a Chiropractor, just have many friends who are. First thing is did either/both x-ray you prior to adjusting? I am going to go on the premise they did or you have much bigger problems. Secondly, why are you going to 2 different ones? I know that adjustments are tracked and watched, and having adjustments by others inbetween could be VERY problematic. Also keep in mind the damage done to your central nervous system that you are wanting to correct took years to occur, it will NOT correct over night. I have been under care for over 6 years and just had an accident. I will now have to get 3 adjustments a week for the next YEAR to get me back where I was. It took time to get damaged, it will take time to repair.

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Monsie2012 5 years ago

I have been seeing a chiropractor for 3 weeks now. The first time i saw him he never even suggested an x-ray. I was a bit sore the next day but i've always got a bit of pain in my neck. I went back 1 week later only for my neck to "clunk" out the next day while playing netball. Went again yesterday and now i cannot move my neck. Have felt sick all day with a dizzy head. Not happy at all with chiro :(

Mandy 5 years ago

I started going to a chiropractor at the begining of november and went for about a month and had to stop because it was getting pricey. I felt great for the month of december and thought it was a result of going to the chiropractor so after the new year i started up again. After about 2 weeks however, all of the pain i ever experienced before going came back multiplied by like 1000!! I am in constant pain now all the time and my chiropractor says not to worry, that sometimes your body will regress back to how it felt before and that i should just keep with it. I am paying myself for the visits (no insurance) and cannot justify spending the money while experiencing this much pain. Any thoughts??

More money than sense 4 years ago

I've been going to a chiropractor for years. I was never cured and never will be because it's not in hid interest to do so. On the plus side he drives a great car and lives in a fabulous house.

Wake up people! 4 years ago

Chiropractic motto: A fool and his/her money are easily parted.

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blogging2 4 years ago from Florida Author

The no x-ray is not good. Without an x-ray to start they can't figure out what is going on. I would go some where else. This one sounds bad.

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blogging2 4 years ago from Florida Author

Depends on the situation. Are they x raying/scans/etc?

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blogging2 4 years ago from Florida Author

Unfortunately some are that way. Personally my scoliosis is healed, I was able to have my daughter though I was told that would never happen, my chron's is gone, and I am doing great after brain surgery. Fertility treatments alone would have cost more than I could ever pay my chiro.

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blogging2 4 years ago from Florida Author

Exactly, go to a Dr. and see how much your meds are that you will be on for life. Good Chiros want to get you out (and there are some out there!)

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restrelax 4 years ago from Los angeles CA

Nice information is given on this hub.

Chadd 4 years ago

In 2008, Simon Singh was unsuccessfully sued for libel by the British Chiropractic Association for criticising their activities in a column in The Guardian. The British Chiropractic Association claims that their members can help treat children with colic, sleeping and feeding problems, frequent ear infections, asthma, and bedwetting. In summary, they lost because the were unable to prove in a court of law that Chiropractic helped with any of these "ailments". The result, Formal complaints of false advertising against more than 500 individual chiropractors within one 24 hour period, with one national chiropractic organisation ordering its members to take down their websites

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restrelax 4 years ago from Los angeles CA

I agreed with your point chadd Chiropractic helped with any of these "ailments". The result against more than 500 individual chiropractors within one 24 hour period.

Inpainandletdown 4 years ago

I got whiplash 7 years ago and lots of physio helped for a while but the pain always came back. I went to a chiropractor over a year ago and in his X-rays he found 5 subluxations and scoliosis in my lumbar spine also my hips were out of alignment I went for 2 months 3 times a week with not very much improvement so I stopped going as I could afford the £180 a month since I have stopped going my pain keeps coming back as I write this I'm in severe pain. Have been to my doctor who wants to take more X-rays as I trained as a radiographer I don't want to subject myself to further radiation that isn't required as I have already have the films done. However I keep ringing the chiropractor to get the notes and films that I paid for and I still haven't received them I keep being told he will ring me back and he never does. The X-rays cost me £180 on their own. I would never trust another chiropractor from this experience!

I need these X-rays as the only thing my doctor can do without them is send me to physio who I have actually tried and they told me there was nothing they could do as it was chronic pain!!

I feel this man was happy to take my money but now won't help me by sending what I paid for!!

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blogging2 4 years ago from Florida Author

In any profession there are bad apples. This sounds like one. One option I have found works well with MD's I have had issues in the past is to make a show in the middle of the office :)

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blogging2 4 years ago from Florida Author

All I can speak from is personal experience and my experience is the following: MD's told me I had to remove my gall bladder, they wanted to take out an ovary, and I would suffer chrones my entire life. They did take out my gall bladder with no improvements but when I was xrayed by my chiro we found out I had scholiosis (and yes I could see it in the x rays and have a degree to know). I was told by MD's that I could never have children, and I have a healthy little girl who was a honeymoon baby, no conception problems there. My daughter has been adjusted since birth (literally within 6 hours), and is now 5. She has NEVER had a cold, or been sick in any way. I attribute it to the adjustments.

mz. moe 4 years ago

i have been receiving chiro care the last 3wks due 2 a car accident and feel now like the pain is nt going away at all like the 1st 2wks plus i am having throat issues and hawking up a lot of mucus.....this is the 1st time this has happened how do i know when 2 stop goin ? if im still felling bad and sick 2,3,4, or how many more treatments????

Angie 4 years ago

I had my first adjustment yesterday, for pain in my neck, arm and shoulder that had started 10 days before. I went to bed around 11:30 pm and then awoke at 12:30 with tachycardia. I had to call 911, but chose not to be transported because my heart started to slow some while the EMT's were here. However, my pulse and blood pressure have stayed miserably high all day. I can't rest. I feel flushed. I have diarhhea and my stomach is queasy. I feel SO BAD! Is this detox or what? And what can I do to feel better? We are supposed to leave for vacation tomorrow, which is why I went for the I would not feel bad on my trip. Wish I could do it over again...GEEZ! H E L P!!!

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blogging2 4 years ago from Florida Author

If it is still hurting you need to let the chiro know and they can adjust what they are doing. Personnly I have been under care for over 8 years and will never stop going. I do little things to myself every day just like typing now, and the care helps me counter actg all the bad things I am doing to my body with poor posture, go catrs, picking up my daughter, sleeping on the couch during disney junoir etc!

1Rawgirl 3 years ago

I am new to this hub. My first Chiro treatment was in 2005 or 2006, I think. At the time, I was still not diagnosed with all the unexplained pains and symptoms I was getting. I went through a 3-week visit for 3 months and did feel some relief for the first time! I decided to stop as it was getting too expensive.

Slowly my pains came back and felt worst! Enough for me to be convinced to go back to the Wellness Program my Chiro recommended which is once a week then stretched out to once/month, depending on how my body responded and progressed. I stuck with the program for a little over a year.

In Aug 2007, I was finally diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Myofascial Pain. And began a myofascial release or Osteo Manipulation Therapy and with a D.O. at Kaiser and Accupuncture when needed with a LAc thru Kaiser. I have had a long journey of healing. And today, I have transitioned back to seeing a Chiro. OMT really worked! But with Fibro and related conditions, I've found a multi-disciplinary approach and using different modalities has been the most successful way to tackle my issues! And because we switched from Kaiser to another medical carrier, I was ready to now pursue doctors who are holistic as that is the direction I am taking our whole family. And found out after X-ray, that I have mild scoliosis on my c4 or c5, the curve of my upper c-spine is facing the opposite direction, very misaligned (I was 40 on my left and 70 on my right! Chiro weighed me on each side.), and the curve on my lower t-spine was was off AND here's a kicker, I have a misaligned rib that could cause stabbing pain on my left upper chest. And this has been happening lately! Well, these findings were enough for me to go back to Chiro again! My first Chiro worked on some of these issues back in 2005 or 2006. But my Chiro today tells me just as one needs to get their eyes checked on a regular basis, one also needs to go their Chiro on a regular basis in able for the treatment to work and last.

Unfortunately, I started my first adjustment while I have the flu. And so I was already in a lot of pain! I was in more pain AFTER my first adjustment! I went in again yesterday and the pain seems less and was functional after the treatment. However, as I always seem to do, got busy with housework, etc. and felt the pain then but did feel relaxed at the same time...weird! So, now I am up dealing with the pain. And my flu seems to be going up and down. Feeling better as I rest and do my home remedies. But then I start to get worst again. Is this from the toxins released from my spinal adjustments?

Btw, I am also trying to do oral chelation as I have heavy metal toxicity. Thank you for any help you can give me!

Mahalo :-)

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