Is Chiropractic Recommended After Back Surgery?

Back surgery may be the best option for patients suffering chronic pain due to herniated disks, fractures, degeneration, and other injuries. Unfortunately, spinal fusion surgery is usually one last resort for patients who have tried various treatments to no avail. This is because the procedure is highly intense and has a recovery period of one year. Moreover, nearly two-thirds of patients in the US are enrolled in pain centers as they suffer from failed back surgery syndrome.

In this blog, we will discuss why or why not should you get chiropractic treatment after spinal surgery.

How Long Should You Wait After Back Surgery?

It’s vital to give the body time to heal after a back surgery before seeking chiropractic care. Most patients require at least six months to a year. However, the recovery time depends on the type of back surgery.

For instance, spinal fusion surgery patients need at least three months for the vertebrae to fuse. Once an immobilized graft is created, patients need a few months of physical therapy to strengthen their muscles. The total recovery and physical therapy time equals a year.

Patients should be careful during the recovery period and avoid straining the back. Otherwise, they risk reinjury, many complications, and prolonged recovery time. Every patient’s case is different, and as such, you must consult your surgeon before starting chiropractic care after back surgery.

It’s worth noting that starting chiropractic care too soon after spinal surgery can result in complications. The risk of re-injury is notably higher in spinal fusion patients who start chiropractic care before the surgical graft is effective enough to withstand the treatment. There are also considerable risks if chiropractic care isn’t performed correctly. This is why you need a licensed chiropractor with experience in providing chiropractic care after back surgery.

Benefits of Visiting a Chiropractor after Surgery

Many patients are dissatisfied with back surgery results and seek alternative solutions for pain management. Chiropractic care can help relieve back pain after surgery. It is based on the theory that proper alignment of the musculoskeletal structure, particularly the spinal vertebrae, can help the body heal itself. Chiropractic physicians use spinal manipulations to stretch the spine and reduce inflammation gently.

Reduced Reliance on Opioid Pain Relievers

Surgery patients with chronic back pain often take opioid medications to manage their discomfort. However, chiropractic care can reduce the need to take these medications. According to a 2020 study, people who seek chiropractic care are less likely to get an opioid prescription for pain relief.

Less Back Pain

Chiropractic care after spine surgery helps address the pain and discomfort that follows the procedure. Your chiropractor uses a gentle approach that includes gentle, non-rotational manipulations, which provide relief for back pain.

Improves Neck Pain

Neck pain is a common problem among back surgery patients. Chiropractic care after back surgery can help alleviate neck pain by realigning the spine and easing tension in the neck muscles.

Quick Results

Chiropractic care may offer immediate relief from discomfort and pain in post-surgery areas. And while the overall recovery takes time, results are considerably better when you’re receiving chiropractic care.


The non-invasive nature of chiropractic care reduces the level of risk as compared to other post-surgery treatment options. An experienced chiropractor understands the human anatomy and knows how to tackle pain in the recovering areas to give the patient relief.

Improved Stability Around the Surgery Site

After back surgery, the spine must continue to provide support and stability to the surgery site. In some cases, back surgery reduces motion to a specific area, increasing stress on the surgery site as it tries to make up the difference. Chiropractic treatments can improve this stability while allowing as much normal function as possible.

Better Range of Motion

Back surgery can restrict motion in certain areas. One of the benefits of seeking chiropractic treatment is that it can help improve the range of motion. Spinal manipulations can help maintain proper intersegmental motion even in spinal fusion cases.

How Does Post-Surgery Chiropractic Care Work?

Every patient gets chiropractic treatment that’s customized to their condition. Simply put, a chiropractor pushes misaligned joints back into place. No two people receive the same adjustment. With that said, there are certain things patients can expect during chiropractic treatments.

During the initial visit, your chiropractor will ask questions about your medical history. The physician will also execute a physical exam, paying particular attention to the spine. They may request other tests, like X-rays.

A typical chiropractic adjustment involves placing the patient in a specific position to adjust the bones in the spine and other body parts. They use their hands and other instruments to apply controlled force, pushing the spinal vertebrae beyond their usual range of motion.

You may hear popping or breaking during the chiropractic session, indicating joints or vertebrae shifting into position. Some physicians may also recommend electric muscle stimulation as part of chiropractic treatment to ease muscle spasms, reduce inflammation, and relieve pain.

Chiropractic care does better than providing relief from pain after lumbar spine surgery. Some studies suggest that patients receiving chiropractic care and spinal manipulation will also experience reduced headaches, joint pain, and other spine-related conditions. Patients experience the above-improved symptoms within a few weeks.

Get a Chiropractic Treatment in Longview, WA

At Family Chiropractic Care, we believe in treating the body as a whole. This ensures effective healing, pain relief, and improved overall health. Dr. Still is a skilled chiropractor with over 30 years of experience providing exceptional to residents of Longview and surrounding areas. He’s backed by a professional team that includes an experienced massage therapist, physical therapist, and medical staff. The goal is to ensure that any patient who walks through the doors of Family Chiropractic Care gets pain relief and restores their health in no time.

Contact us at to schedule a session with one of our experts.