5 Curious toxins released after chiropractic adjustments

Home » 5 Curious toxins released after chiropractic adjustments

The chiropractic spinal adjustment can cause odd feelings sometimes – especially in new patients. But are toxic release symptoms due to a change in spinal misalignment? Let’s explore these complex but normal side-effects!

Some interesting things happen chemically when you get your adjustment at the chiro!

What toxins are released after chiropractic adjustment? 

The chemical substances that change in your body after adjustments are Substance-P, Neurotensin, Interleukins, Glutathione Peroxidase (GP), and Superoxide Dismutase (SOD). Furthermore, Cortisol levels may be affected by adjustments, which could explain feelings of having a chemical change or release in your body.

GP and SOD are involved in oxidative stress. If you’ve heard of “free radicals” before, they are a part of that system in your cells. This study by Kolberg and others [1] describes how they may play a role in pain reduction after a visit to the Chiro.

The other chemicals mentioned above are explained in this paper [2], about changes in biochemical markers following spinal manipulation.

But how do we connect that weird feeling, like toxins are being released in our body, to the complex science of chiropractic adjustments?

man holding stuffy nose
Chiropractic adjustment can cause a cold-like feeling of stuffiness or headache

Feeling weird after chiropractic adjustment? Here’s why

Many people feel an immediate sense of relief after chiropractic treatment, which can be accompanied by a weird feeling of lightheadedness or dizziness. This is common and indicates that your body is adjusting to the new alignment of your spine. You may notice flu-like symptoms or a feeling of “fuzziness”.

Others commonly report fatigue, muscle aches, and headache during the between-adjustment period.

It’s vitally important to understand that chiropractic care involves adjusting the spine and other joints to reduce pressure on your nervous system that may have built up over many years.

These symptoms are usually short-lived and resolve on their own within hours-to-days.

Many experience what is called “unwinding” after starting chiropractic care – a good thing!

This is when old symptoms or conditions flare up for a short time as your body goes through the process of healing – your joint, muscleligament, and nerve tissues are being impacted by physical adjustments. Chronic pain sufferers seem likely to report symptoms of “toxic” release after chiropractic manipulations.

How does chiropractic work release toxins?

Chiropractic work creates small changes in your nervous system, affecting how your brain communicates with your muscles, organs, and glands. Substances like cortisol and neurotensin have been demonstrated to be involved.

Chemicals in your muscles could be involved too, if they were worked on a lot by the Chiropractor!

lumbar spine chemicals release
complex neuro and chemical actions take place during adjustments, much of which is still not understood

When considering if toxins are released after chiropractic adjustment, we must mention the incredible abilities of our liver – it’s got you covered! Like all organs and tissues, it too has an intimate relationship with your spine and nervous system.

The jury is still out about whether the lymphatic system, liver, skin and kidneys alter their functions after chiropractic adjustment, leading to better waste-product excretion.

could the lymphatic system be involved in feelings of toxin release after chiropractic treatment?

Let’s explore some other changes in body functions which you might notice after your first adjustment visit.

Tingling feelings after chiropractic adjustment

One possibility is that local nerves were slightly irritated or stretched at the adjustment site. Another is that blood flow increased to the area via the physical and/or biochemical changes from the chiropractic treatment. Generally, this settles within 24 hours. 

If the tingling bothers you at all, or you need advice, a good chiro will be able to give you specific advice on the phone for your case – so don’t hesitate to ask!

Bowel movements after chiropractic adjustment

The colon is lined with a large number of nerve endings that are sensitive to both pressure and stretch. As well as changes at the spinal level, chiropractic work may stimulate these local nerves of the digestive system and cause bowel movements!

The amount of stimulation required will vary from person to person, and may also depend on how constipated the person is.

brain gut connection
the brain-gut connection is via your spinal cord and nerve branches

The good news is regular chiropractic adjustments will have you moving optimally, and feeling great. Thankfully, you will not always feel like a toxic release has happened in your body!

Remember to drink plenty of water after adjustments, especially if you have tight muscles, or tend to notice cold-like symptoms after visits to your chiro.

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Dr Jason Whealing headshot

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  1. Carolina Kolberg, Andréa Horst, Maira S. Moraes, Felipe Coutinho Kullmann Duarte, Ana Paula Konzen Riffel, Taína Scheid, Angela Kolberg, Wania A. Partata,

Peripheral Oxidative Stress Blood Markers in Patients With Chronic Back or Neck Pain Treated With High-Velocity, Low-Amplitude Manipulation

Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Volume 38, Issue 2, 2015

2. Kesava Kovanur-Sampath, Ramakrishnan Mani, Jim Cotter, Angela Spontelli Gisselman, Steve Tumilty,

Changes in biochemical markers following spinal manipulation – a systematic review and meta-analysis

Musculoskeletal Science and Practice, Volume 29, 2017

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