How Long Does a Chiropractic Adjustment Last?


How Long Does a Chiropractic Adjustment Last?

Chiropractic adjustments are a mystery to many people. For most, it’s a matter of getting rid of the pain their back or neck is causing. But many people wonder how long that pain relief is expected to last. In other words, they want to know how long a chiropractic adjustment lasts.

A single adjustment isn’t going to last very long, just as working out once isn’t going to make anyone fit. This is why chiropractors prescribe a series of adjustments depending on the severity of the issue. When you follow the course of treatment, you’ll find that adjustments last for a long time.

Do Chiropractic Adjustments Help Long-Term?

There are so many factors that can influence how long a course of chiropractic adjustments can last. Things like the patient’s overall health, activity level, alcohol consumption, and job are among the most impactful. Not to mention the type of back adjustment and whether the patient completed the course of treatment.

Staying healthy is never just a matter of a few visits to a medical professional. And this goes for spinal adjustments too. Luckily, we can look to studies to see how effective spinal adjustments are in the long term.

One study compared the long-term outcomes of chiropractic adjustments, medication, and acupuncture for low back pain. The authors followed up with patients a year after their initial care and found that only chiropractic adjustments showed lasting long-term benefits.

How Long Do Chiropractic Appointments Take?

The duration of a chiropractic appointment depends on the type of treatment you’re getting, and how severe the problem is. There are many reasons to go to the chiropractor, and each of them will require slightly different treatment protocols.

The adjustment itself should last anywhere between five and 20 minutes, again, depending on the issue and its severity. If the doctor has prescribed you a massage or some physical therapy, you can expect the appointment to take 45 minutes to an hour. If it’s just an adjustment, it should be under 30 minutes.

Why Are Chiropractic Appointments So Short?

Many people are surprised at how short chiropractic appointments are — particularly when they’re only getting an adjustment. The fact is that adjustments don’t take long in themselves. The chiropractor uses the adjustment method he or she deems appropriate, applying pressure to the necessary areas. But that’s not the end of the story. While there are certainly short-term benefits, such as reduced blood pressure, relaxation, and inflammation reduction, you’ll need to come back for the full course of adjustments to reap the full benefits of chiropractic care.

It’s easy to compare these quick appointments with seeing a physician who prescribes medication or an injection. If you discount all the waiting you do before you see the doctor, you’ll see that you likely spend more time with the doctor of chiropractic than you do with the physician.

Not that time is directly tied to effective care — it’s not. But it’s still a worthy comparison for those who think their adjustments should be longer.

How Long Does a Chiropractic Adjustment Take to Work?

Chances are you’ve heard about people who have found pain relief after just one chiropractic adjustment. While this certainly does happen, it would be a mistake to think that all the work is done when the pain goes away. 

In general, most chiropractic patients see benefits within one to six sessions or so. Again, it’s important to remember that pain relief isn’t the end-all-be-all of chiropractic care. The idea of adjustments over a two or three-month period is to both relieve pain and put the spine back into optimal position so you don’t experience further issues.

It’s also worth mentioning here that your back doesn’t need to crack during a back adjustment in order for the adjustment to be effective. The cracking sound is simply gas escaping from between the joints, and it doesn’t mean anything one way or the other.

How Do You Maintain a Chiropractic Adjustment?

Now that you know a bit more about chiropractic adjustments, you may be wondering how best to maintain them. Whether you’ve received a back adjustment or a neck adjustment (neck adjustments are very safe, despite what you may have heard), you’ll want to keep a few things in mind to help you maintain the gains the adjustment has given you.

  • Mind Your Posture
      • An adjustment will make it easier to maintain good posture but you’ll still have to put some effort into it.
  • Don’t Sit Too Much
      • If you work at a desk, set a time to get up and walk around every 20 minutes. Do some stretching and move your head around to keep your neck limber.
  • Adjust Your Workplace
      • An ergonomic workplace is important for those who work at a desk. Things like low back support in the chair and having your screen at eye level will help you keep your chiropractic gains.
  • Make Healthy Choices
      • Drinking lots of water and staying away from processed foods will not only help your spine, but these healthy choices will also help your health in general!
  • Stay Active
      • Whether it’s walking, lifting weights, biking, running, or swimming, it’s important to get your exercise!

How Long Does an Adjustment Last: Conclusion

There are many factors that go into how long a chiropractic adjustment lasts. The best thing you can do is finish the full course of treatment recommended by your chiropractor. This will give you the long-term results you’re looking for without the dangers of spinal surgery. In fact, one study showed no difference in the long-term outcomes between spinal fusion surgery and conservative care. Given the risks of surgery, it’s always best to go with the conservative option, and chiropractic adjustments are one main pillar of safe and conservative care!

Back Adjustment in Juneau

At Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab, we know how intimidating it can be to see a new chiropractor. This is why we offer all new patients a First Visit Promise at our Juneau location. So if you’re not satisfied after your first visit, you don’t pay a thing! Contact us today to schedule your back adjustment!


The portrait of Dr. Brent Wells.

Dr. Brent Wells

About the Author

Dr. Brent Wells is an actively practicing chiropractic physician that has personally led over 10,000 Alaskans to more active, pain-free lifestyles since 1998. He is the founder of Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab in Anchorage and Juneau where he brings a progressive and highly innovative approach to chiropractic care. Dr. Wells continues to further his education with ongoing studies in spine conditions, neurology, physical rehabilitation, biomechanics, occupational ergonomics, whiplash, and brain injury traumatology. He is also a member of the American Chiropractic Association and the American Academy of Spine Physicians.

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