Chiropractor Can't Really Adjust Me

I’ve been to 2 chiropractors in the last few years. The first literally could not get me to “pop”, then when he couldn’t, he would call call me a “Tough Guy” LOL. The second and most recent, could get some adjustment but it still left me feeling like I was still tight and needing more.

Do any of you have this issue?

No sir. You may want to try a massage followed by an adjustment. I used to get a combo deal and I felt there was a lot of synergy there.

Yea I’m pretty much the same. He can do my neck and stuff but my back won’t ever do anything. Pretty much almost breaks my ribs and it still won’t pop, which is a shame as that’s what I want popped the most.

I need one of those old school desks to lean back against.

I had/have this issue. Your chiropractor could probably use a few more lifting sessions IMO.

If you dont get 10-15mins on this bad boy before your adjustment, you’re basically wasting your time. image
still, I have found chiropractors to be a pretty big waste of time and money (not throwing shade at anyone who is a chiropractor, I just think most people are capable of fixing their backs on their own if they are intuitive enough)

He does use the traction table but usually after the adjustment. Does STEM prior to the adjustment.

I’m going to buy myself an inversion table for Christmas. I had one in the past when I was a heavy squatter and deadlifter and had a lot of compression issues but I got rid of it when I moved the last time due to space.

I always thought that these two things should be offered in the same office. Actually, I also get acupuncture twice a month and keep telling my guy he needs to create a acupuncture/massage/chiropractor combo visit. Can you imagine? You’d be a big pile of goo at the end! :smiley:

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the only chiro i ever had that was moderately good was one that used the traction table prior to my adjustment. It helped lossen my back up enough to get a few good cracks out of the adjustment. A lot more than if i wasn’t on the traction table first.

Honestly the ‘pop’ of the adjustment really isn’t the be all and end-all. As a big guy myself I know how it cna be difficult to get it to ‘go’. The actual pop sound is simply caused by cavitation in the joints (the sudden formation and collapse of nitrogen bubbles in synovial fluid in your joints) and isn’t generally the beneficial part of the treatment. Many chiropractor tables are designed to move and click to create noise during HVLA (high velocity lower amplitude manipulations) the relief gained by this is generally very short-lived and often driven by the placebo effect (not saying that a positive placebo effect is a bad thing, it just is what it is). If you find these do give you relief then what you should be looking for in a musculoskeletal practitioner is someone who is able to do this but then follows up with active movement and strengthening by you using the improved ROM. However it is quite possible to get effective release without the pop that can then be followed up with active stretches and strengthening. Sometimes it can take a few sessions as well to relieve the neuromuscular tension around the joint to allow them to move enough to experience the ‘pop’ you are looking for.
If I were you I would also look up some of the self-manipulations you can do yourself. When working at a computer my T spine gets so tight and it is relatively simple using a foam roller to self-release (and here being a bigger guy can actually help it happen easier)
Hope you are feeling better

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Appreciate your reply. For me, my traps (as they go up the neck) feel constantly “tight”. When I was younger, I could “pop” my neck at will. Now nothing. I’m not really in pain but I would like a chiro to be able to release that and none of them seem to be able to, at least not consistently.

Have you ever tried the traction or decompression stuff specifically for your neck?

Learned doctors say that unending trap or shoulder issues can be caused by bulging disks in the “Cervical Spine” pressing on the nerves that innervate your traps and upper back.

I’ve had times in the past where my whole traps and upper back just felt like a solid, unmoving “block” and no amount of stretching or rolling or activating helped. But doing McKenzie exercises loosened me up.

Motions like this are supposed to unkink your neck to release the pressure on the disk, to let your nerves and muscles work right again.

I’m very glad to have drifted into this thread by accident, because i frequently deal with both of these things. I’ll give your suggestions a shot.

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Those exercises shown by the others may help. Expescially drills to strengthen the deep neck flexors. Here are some additional suggestions for some other causes that may help
Tight upper traps (often including levator scap) are often a compensation of a relative weakness of rhomboids, lower trapezius and serratus anterior - therefore the scapula can get stuck in an elevated position plus tight lats and limited thoracic mobility. I would recommend using a foam roller to self manipulate the thoracic joints by lying with the foam roller at right angles to the spine and work up the t spine flexing and extending over the sticking points. I would that foam roll the lats on each side as well, followed by a supported puppy pose to open up the chest. Add in some quadruped t spine rotation as well to mobilize the area. Some soft tissue work using a lacross ball and perhaps some dry needling to any trigger points would also help (It is likely that the GB30 point will be excessively hight and an active trigger point).
To strength it; I would perform some dead hangs (ensure to activate between the shoulder blades, The Rusin Tri set, some scaption shoulder raises, The push up plus and maybe some Dan John Bat Wings
I would keep a cue in mind of trying to keep you shoulder blades back down as if you were
placing them into your back pocket throughout a number of exercises.
Please note the above should be integrated into your current workout program that combines strengthening of all core movement patterns. They are extras that should over time help reduce your upper trap dominance. Some full range of motion shrug exercises with good form and holds at the peak contraction may help improve the endurance of the tight muscles. Farmers walks with good form can also help improve and drill the correct positioning of the muscles around the neck.

I would also look at the positioning of your ribcage as a tight thoracolumbar junction with tight lats can lead to flaring of the lower ribs and dysfunctional breathing. Re-learning to properly brace the core and breath down and laterally will help place the traps in a more efficient position to work and may further reduce tightness around the neck. The McGill Curl up is a great exercise to improve awareness and rib positioning. Learning to brace the core and breath correctly whilst a weight is place on your abdomen is a good drill to enforce this.

It is also worth looking at your work and leisure set-up as a better chair and better monitor positioning may hep reduce your neck strain. Choosing the correct pillow is also important when you are a lifter with a big chest if you lie on your side as you can end up putting unnecessary strain on you neck if your pillow is too flat and soft.Definitely worth a small investment

Hope some of these ideas help


All i can say…i have literally almost crawled into my chiro’s practice and walked out when i first saw her 20 years ago, i see her about once a month for maintenance

she also gives me stretches to do, tells me to use ice for the inflammation when i get really tight

About a month ago i did something to aggravate the issue…she told me i looked like a question mark and it was painful…she straightened me out in a few weeks and i am now about 90% better

with strength training and golf, i need it

It all started when i was manually digging ditches for a living

I have nothing against manual therapists. In fact, I am qualified as a soft tissue therapist and use some HFLA manipulations as well as dry needling (acupuncture). They can be an excellent piece of the puzzle to help with many musculoskeletal issues. My problem with many of the therapists that offer these treatments is that they offer them in isolation. These techniques can be very useful for working around and with areas of spasm and significant deviation from good joint positioning. What needs to be done during the times after these treatments, when you have improved and regained range of motion is to then add more active treatments (passive treatments are those that are done TO you). I feel many people have too higher expectation that some medicine man/ guru/ masseuse etc will do some magic clicking and then you will be healed. Sadly that is not how the human body works. There needs to be a collaborative approach with your healthcare provider to get the optimum outcome. During the small window of opportunity that occurs after a good passive treatment session the body needs re-educating, the muscles need to relearn how to correctly co-ordinate and any strength deficits addressed. Otherwise, you are more likely than not going to end up back where you started. This is where one of the problems I have with some practitioners, often chiropractors, who sell packages of sessions to clients after their first treatment when they cannot possibly know how long the patient needs to be seen, how compliant the patient will be, what else is going on in the patient’s life, etc. Lot’s of chronic pain is significantly driven by psychological factors that need addressing alongside some feel good clicking. I personally feel it is dishonest and not in the patient’s best interest to pressure them into spending lots of money needlessly. Too many chiropractors are far too interested in money and needlessly image patients and cling to and promote disproven ideologies such as subluxation (the chiropractic version)

P.S. As an aside you really should think twice before icing injuries. Dr Gabe Mirkin first came up with the R.I.C.E (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) protocol in 1978 and has been on record many times refuting his previous work and pointing out it is counterproductive and publically recanted his previous work in 2015. Applying extreme cold to tissue reduces the blood flow, decreasing the influx of healing factors whilst decreasing the clearance of metabolites. Ice decreases inflammation however this is a negative thing (except in a few extreme cases like destructive inflammatory arthritises) as inflammation is the body’s natural process for healing to occur. Blunting this responce early on leads to increases injury recovery time. Reducing blood flow to injured tissue also reduces the supply of oxygen leading to localized hypoxia and cell injury/death around the injury site which worsens the injury by releasing toxic metabolites. Useful local hormones that promote healing like IGF-1 are inhibited by prolonged icing and take hours after the removal of the cryotherapy to reach similar levels as previously. This leads to delayed and inefficient healing. As reducing inflammation unnecessarily can lead to suboptimal healing and adaptions to phsycialy stimuli NSAIDs like ibuprofen and diclofenac are now generally avoided if at all possible during the recovery period - there is a longer more nuanced conversation to be had here if the use of those painkillers better allows the patient to engage in their therapy then judicious use of them at the lowest effective dose can be prudent.
Another negative of prolong icing of an injury is that it leads to a significant increase in lymphatic permeability. This causes reduced clearance and greater accumulation of fluid once the ice is removed. i.e., it will end up increasing the amount of swelling and may actually worsen pain during the sub-acute period. The modern view is that cryotherapy can be useful for short periods as an analgesic in short bursts as part of contrast therapy.
The current advice for managing musculoskeletal injuries is to provide PEACE + LOVE instead of RICE. This is:
Protection - prevent re-injury or worsening of the injury by short-term use of external stabilization just as supportive strapping
Elevation - Raise the injury above the level of the heart as often as is feasible to help improve lymphatic drainage
Avoid anti-inflammatories - Anti-inflammatories can interfere with and delay the healing process so should be avoided unless the pain is severe and only used sparingly
Compression Applying external pressure can reduce excessive swelling, allow for a more normal range of motion, aid the lymphatic draining of the area around the injury
Education Learn about the injury, what functions can still be performed safely and how to do this, learn techniques to manage the pain, learn what you can expect to be doing and when, learn what pain is protective and what pain you can safely work with, learn to be patient
Load Learn to progressively and sensibly load the injury, learn the manage the psychological burden that comes with being injured
Optimism Be optimistic about your future, be optimistic that you are able to improve your functionality, be optimistic that you are able to control and positively influence your recovery, Just be optimistic in general! Avoiding falling into negative thinking and mental illness can help prevent injury/ pain chronicity and make it easier to return to training post-injury
Vascularize Ensure you are working on other aspects of your fitness. Specifically, ensure you are performing plenty of lower-intensity cardiovascular exercise to keep up your heart health and ensure plenty of blood flow to aid recovery
Exercise Ensure you keep exercising the rest of your body to prevent you from deconditioning. It is also important the work out the non-injured limb due to the phenomena of cross-education you can increase the strength in a muscle you aren’t actively working by working the opposite limb. These are thought in part to come from mirror contraction but they also work by improving the connections in the motor cortex. Performing exercises in your head with perfect form can help develop you motor cortex and mind muscle connection


Nice write up!


Yes, very interesting, thank you!