Often people wonder if they should exercise the day they have a chiropractic appointment. They wonder if exercise will make the problem worse, or if it will make the adjustment more difficult. Should they wait till after the adjustment so that everything is in place for the adjustment, or exercise first? There are points for both positions.
Exercising Before Adjustment
Working out before an adjustment can make your muscles loose and more responsive to the adjustments. It can make your adjustments easier and more complete as there is less resistance.
If you don’t workout before an adjustment, you may not get a chance again for another day or so. Sometimes, you will walk out of your adjustment feeling like a million bucks, other times you will feel like you can't move, regardless of the success. Many practitioners will strongly advise you not to exercise for anywhere from half an hour to up to a day afterward.
However, some exercises might increase the misalignment. If your muscles are accustomed to moving in the wrong ways, they will work to maintain the poor body dynamics.
Exercising After Adjustment
While you do need a little time after adjustment, exercising with proper form after you receive an adjustment can help solidify these corrections in your body. Your joints will move with the proper motion, and be strengthened in the correct position. Your muscles will relax and will be less susceptible to strain.
Your central nervous system will have proper nerve flow, without constrictions or pinched nerves. This will help your body train better responses. Your exercise will be a benefit to your body, rather than an unnecessarily severe stressor.
You definitely do not want to stay still for a long period after an adjustment; adjustments free up motion, and you want to enjoy the motion and help it to remain available. The best exercises immediately following an adjustment are low-impact exercises that strengthen your back muscles and your core.
Plan Exercises that Will Help
Exercise can be planned to complement your adjustments, strengthening weak muscles and adding flexibility to tight joints. Start with something like a gentle walk soon after your adjustment. Add exercises to your routine that strengthen your core and back muscles, like swimming, yoga, and Pilates. Do not perform movements that force you into unnatural positions. Do not bend at the waist to lift objects; use your legs.
Don’t Strain Recent Adjustments
Sudden movements and strain can knock your spine right back out of alignment and possibly make you worse than before. Do not twist, lift heavy objects, or jolt your spine. Let your body settle into its new configuration. If you are in pain, do not perform exercises that make it worse. Exercise carefully, stretch gently; you are working to strengthen, not hurt yourself. Plan your exercises accordingly; consult your chiropractor for the exercises that will be most beneficial to you.