When you get up from the bench after your adjustment, the best that will happen is you’ll feel fantastic. Many people describe feeling ‘light’ (which always makes me think of the old Quavers advert “Ohh, the floaty light”, but anyway…). They feel their movement is free-er or they can stand a little taller.
A great benefit is when movements that irritated the pain before treatment can be done with less discomfort after treatment. And a big (but uncommon) reaction is feeling tired after your adjustment.
Others take a little longer to feel any difference and you might not feel any difference for a day or two after your treatment. Neither is better than the other, but we’ll talk about that in another blog.
Today, I wanted to talk about one reaction your nervous system can have and why you might feel tired after your adjustment.
Your Nervous System
In a computer you have a mother board and wiring within a computer. In your body you have the nervous system. Whilst a computer’s wiring is simply that, ‘wiring’, your nervous system has been divided in many ways.
So, we’re going to look at the Autonomic Nervous System. This system looks after everything your body does automatically: the stuff that you don’t control consciously (like your digestion, breathing and your heart rate).
The Autonomic Nervous system is itself split into two – the Sympathetic and Para-Sympathetic nervous systems. These two systems work in balance (homeostasis) to permit your body to work at the level required at that moment in time.
Sympathetic Nervous System
Your Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) is responsible for your “Flight or Fight” response. In caveman terms, your SNS will get you ready to fight that tiger to get your child or dog (or lunch) back. Or it’ll get you ready to run like the wind!
Your SNS raises your heart rate, increases your breathing, pumps more blood to your muscles and heightens your awareness. Amongst other things it reduces your immune response and your digestion (that’s why you wet yourself or make a larger mess if you get really scared). The body has other things to focus on, so it gets rid of these jobs!
In essence, it gets your body ready for WORK.
ANY stress will engage your SNS (not just facing that tiger) and that includes ‘pain stress’. So, guess which nervous system is fired up when you stub your toe!?
Para-Sympathetic Nervous System
Of course, everything has an equal and opposite and the counterpart to the SNS is the Para-Sympathetic Nervous System (PNS).
That means, your PNS calms you back down and allows you to relax. It is only when you’re in this less heightened state that your body can heal itself, digest your food, fight off infections and even allow you sleep!
Guess why you get a cold when you have a day off, finish exams or go on holiday?
Your PNS is also the reason why a few people feel tired after their chiropractic adjustment. And by tired, I mean really TIRED (in a pleasant way)! One patient of mine was so zoned out after their first treatment they were asked if they’d taken something!!
This isn’t a regular occurrence for people, but it’s not unexpected. Usually, as the joints start to work better, the SNS isn’t so ‘switched on’ and the feeling of being tired after your adjustment soon reduces.
The answer to getting over this reaction – It’s simple… a good night’s sleep!
…and returning for your next session (of course!) 😉