This is one of the most common questions that I get in the office and it might cause some confusion among patients but there is a simple way to look at it. Should you get adjusted before exercise or will that somehow “undo” everything the chiropractor just did? Maybe it’s better to be adjusted after exercise? Chiropractic and exercise have a long, healthy relationship together. Still, you have to wonder…
“Do I need to get adjusted before exercise or should I wait until after my workout?”
The vast majority of people believe that they should get adjusted after exercise but let’s think about this. In the early stages of treatment, we are working on getting a patient out of pain by removing the nerve pressure from the spine. Once the pressure is released, the patient will feel better but there is still a misalignment between the bones of the spine that can find the nerve.
Also, the muscles that are attached to the spine are not completely balanced so if a patient goes for a workout before an adjustment then the initial spinal complaint could slightly worsen if he/she waits to get adjusted after a workout. By coming into get treated prior to a workout, the misalignment of the spine continues to get corrected by giving the joints proper motion.
Being adjusted before exercise allows the muscles to relax and helps avoid any possible strain during exercise.
Another benefit to getting adjusted prior to your workout is the adjustment allows your body to operate closer to its optimum potential by alleviating more pressure off of your central nervous system, also known as the CNS. This system is comprised of the brain and spinal cord and controls your entire health potential.
By getting adjusted before exercise, this allows the CNS to have proper nerve flow from your spinal cord to flow to all of your cells, tissues and organs. The CNS is crucial in your workouts because your body enters the fight/flight response when it is being stressed from exercise. If the CNS is not sufficient, like the engine to a car, then the car cannot run.
A lot of our patients, especially runners and weightlifters, have even found a lot of benefit from doing spinal decompression therapy before or after exercise to help improve blood flow to the discs and remove that “compressed” feeling.
By getting adjusted before exercise, you also allow your chosen workout to act as a benefit as opposed to a stressor.
I know for some people there is no worse feeling than that of wasted time in the gym. In order for you to have the full effectiveness of the workout, you would need your central nervous system to be firing on all cylinders.
So, if you want the most out of your workouts then make those appointments with your chiropractor before exercising. Whether you are going to the gym, CrossFit box, yoga studio or hitting the pavement for a long run it’s always important to perform at your very best. Some people wonder “Can I lift weights after chiropractic adjustment?” and the answer is a huge “yes!”
“My chiropractor told me not to exercise” is not something we hear often from people, so it’s important to figure out the reason for it. Does that doctor not believe in exercise as a person (not a healthy person) or is it just temporary because of a problem you have?
“How long to wait to exercise after chiropractic adjustment?” is also a common question.
Also, “is there a best exercise after chiropractic adjustment?” Your long-term goal for exercise should be to be able to keep exercising. So many patients start an exercise program with good intentions, only to have it completely derailed by injury. Maintaining proper functioning of your body (especially your spine and its associated joints) will go a long way in allowing you to not just perform well, but allow you to be consistent and stick with exercise for many years.
Being adjusted before exercise is ideal, but getting adjusted after exercise is also good. Just being adjusted on a consistent basis will have better long-term benefits than trying to decide which one is better for you. Regardless of the workout or whether you exercise before or after, you just need to be consistent with both. Exercising consistently and getting adjusted consistently is key to your long-term health.