Too Frequent Chiro Adjustments – Inhibited Muscle Series

Muscle activation is steadily growing in the US, but many people are still unfamiliar with it. In this series we discuss why muscle inhibition can be the reason for many common musculoskeletal ailments, and in turn, how muscle activation could rapidly turn those ailments around.

Why would a chiropractor write an article about getting less frequent chiropractic adjustments?

It makes no sense!

I’ll be clear—chiropractic adjustments are a major player in overall health. Your joints should be able to move freely and your body should feel its best!

But only feeling good for a week or less after an adjustment?

Now that makes no sense.

Don’t I just need to get adjusted several times to fix an issue?

While getting adjusted can definitely help with pain, tightness, and more, for many patients it may not address the root cause. 

For example, a person in pain seeks relief from a chiropractor. The chiropractor performs adjustments to alleviate the discomfort. The patient experiences immediate relief and goes about their day, feeling better than they have in weeks.

However, less than a week later, the pain returns. The patient feels disappointed and frustrated that the treatment did not provide lasting relief.

This is where the chiropractor may say a patient just needs more adjustments over time to feel better. And for some patients, this works! But for many of you, the root cause of a musculoskeletal issue can’t be solved by adjustment alone.

When your muscles are inhibited, even regular adjustments may not be enough to keep you stable. We have to dig deeper.

Muscle activation provides a deeper look into root causes, like muscle inhibition, and can in turn stabilize you much longer between adjustments.

What is Muscle Inhibition?

Your brain protects injured or stressed muscles through inhibition. Inhibition acts like a limit or block on the muscle to prevent it from working too hard and getting hurt worse.

This makes inhibited muscles weak! Your fully functioning muscles have to work harder to compensate and help your body keep up with daily life. Over time, even those strong muscles may overextend and become inhibited too.

Usually after injured muscles heal, your brain automatically removes inhibition, and your muscles all work together again at full power.

But sometimes, the brain won’t reverse inhibition on its own.

There are many reasons for this (the muscles haven’t healed, your compensation pattern is strong, and more) but no matter the reason, muscle activation gives us the tools to identify and resolve muscle inhibition.

Muscle activation removes that block to restore a clear connection between your brain and your body.

How could Muscle Activation help me need fewer adjustments?

Again, adjusting your joints can absolutely help with pain and discomfort caused by inhibited muscles! Massage, physical therapy, and other soft tissue techniques can also help relieve these symptoms.

But if you don’t address muscle inhibition, the root of the issue becomes a moving target—something you have to constantly chase with other therapies just to make it through the day.

After activating and reconditioning all your inhibited muscles, most patients no longer have to have weekly or even monthly adjustments just to feel alright.

Why do ALL my inhibited muscles need to be activated?

Can’t we just treat my problem area and be done? Yes, you could absolutely treat the problem area and stop treatment.

Your symptoms, however, may have different plans.

Muscle activation provides a snapshot of how your muscles are working across your entire body, like a roadmap to the root of your musculoskeletal issues. 

As we activate muscles along your roadmap, we uncover layer after layer of past traumas. You’ll notice your symptoms start to change.

Example: Let’s say you schedule muscle activation hoping to focus on a hip issue.

We work together to prioritize which muscles your body is ready to treat first, which may or may not be directly connected to the hip. Your body could prioritize a muscle in your knee or low back before any hip muscles. 

Once we start to activate the prioritized muscles, pain and tightness in your hip may disappear entirely.

But then, your knee (where you haven’t felt pain for years) suddenly starts to hurt again

You might think, “Isn’t this why I tried muscle activation in the first place? So I wouldn’t have to keep coming back over and over?


Getting to the root of the problem is key. With muscle activation, we won’t be working the same muscles and joints over and over to try and solve the issue. 

Once a muscle is activated it shouldn’t need to be activated again unless it suffers a new injury or stressor.

This allows us to activate an inhibited muscle then move on to the next one. We will actually progress on the roadmap your body has outlined, uncover root causes, and address them.

Identifying and addressing these root causes has the potential to save you a lot of time and trouble down the road.

Wait, you only have to activate my muscles ONE TIME?

I’ll say it again for everyone in the back:

Once a muscle is activated it shouldn’t need to be activated again unless it suffers a new injury or stressor.

After we restore your brain-body connection, you will have the tools to keep your muscles active.

I teach you specific reconditioning exercises per muscle area to keep that brain-body connection strong. If you start to feel familiar pain, do those exercises again, and your symptoms should resolve. 

I had a patient with persistent, daily neck pain who found complete relief through muscle activation. A few months later the patient reached out saying they were in pain again and might need to schedule. I reminded them of the neck exercise handout we went over during treatment. The patient did the exercises, and their symptoms disappeared.

So how does this impact your need for chiropractic adjustments?

How often should I be getting adjusted after Muscle Activation then?

We recommend maintenance adjustments every 2 months to make sure your joints are moving freely, which can help your brain-body connection stay clear.

But really, this is ultimately up to you!

Muscle activation can get you better in tune with your body. Once you know how to identify the weakness and pain of inhibited muscles, you’ll have a better idea of when to do your reconditioning exercises and when to seek care.

For some patients, muscles that have been inhibited for some time may feel stiff, crunchy, or knotted after activation. We offer soft tissue therapies such as cupping or tool-assisted scraping to break up adhesions, or in some circumstances may refer you to an LMT for a therapeutic massage.

Otherwise if your muscles are activated and starting to recondition, your joints are moving well, and you’re feeling well, you may be good to go!

Summary (TL;DR)

Chiropractic adjustments can relieve pain, but they may not address the root cause of musculoskeletal symptoms. By restoring the connection between the brain and the body through muscle activation, we can alleviate symptoms and stabilize patients for longer periods between adjustments. Patients can also learn to recognize and care for inhibited muscles on their own. Maintenance chiropractic adjustments are recommended every 2 months to maintain strong brain-body connections.

Comments or questions about chiropractic or muscle activation? Message us or comment below!

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