“Toxins” is a vague word that doesn’t really mean anything. Chiropractic adjustments greatly improve your body’s natural healing abilities, but there is not a specific toxin release that will make you feel sicker or healthier after an adjustment.

Chiropractic care corrects spinal misalignment and subluxations, leading to a stronger nervous system and improved overall health.

Chiropractic care does not correct body toxicity, which is a vague and dubious concept in the first place.

However, chiropractic adjustment may strengthen the nervous system’s communication with the liver or kidneys, which both naturally detoxify the body. Strengthening these detoxing organs may help get rid of toxins, such as ammonia and uric acid.

If your chiropractor employs a lot of massage techniques, that muscle fiber activation may lead to some temporary dehydration, which can lead to a slight feeling of illness if you don’t hydrate well afterwards.

When I’m seeing patients, I’m honest with them. I’m a chiropractor, not a new age detox guru. Upper cervical chiropractic already heals people in surprising, evidence-based ways. Toxin release is unnecessary for the healing process, and I doubt it’s actually a thing.

If you want a chiropractor who will be honest with you while using conservative, non-pharmaceutical treatments when possible, schedule your appointment with me at Denver Upper Cervical Chiropractic today. You can call us at 303-955-8270.

What Are “Toxins,” Anyway?

Toxins are harmful substances that can make you sick in a variety of ways. However, the word “toxin” is so vague and all-encompassing that it loses all meaning when cited by many “health” influencers.

In theory, releasing toxins through chiropractic adjustment or other means can make you feel groggy in the short-term then healthier in the long-term. 

I disagree with this theory — it’s not based on observable, definable, replicable research.

Here’s a list of “toxins” that many chiropractors claim can released by chiropractic care:

Do chiropractic adjustments really release toxins? No, chiropractic adjustments don’t really release toxins. Some claim the crack in your back is toxic release, which is untrue.

I share the list above so you can do your own research — scientific study does not support the idea that any of those compounds are “released” by chiropractic adjustments or any form of spinal manipulation. In fact, if something leaks from your spinal cord, you probably need to visit an emergency room — because that something is spinal fluid, and you have an injury.

Scientific Evidence for Body Toxicity

The scientific evidence for “body toxicity” is next to none. In my educated opinion, the few instances of body toxins that could actually make you sick would benefit from using the specific toxin’s name, not the vague term “toxin.”

It’s likely true that your body is exposed to various chemical compounds in your everyday life that make your body less healthy. However, every person is different, and every toxin is different. Calling them all “toxins” is unhelpful and medically meaningless.

Chiropractic care improves your whole body health by correcting spinal misalignment, which strengthens your nervous system and even treats many kinds of headaches. But chiropractic adjustments don’t directly release toxins.

Endotoxemia is a measurable variety of body toxicity which may warrant further research. Diet-induced systemic bacterial endotoxemia may result from consuming high amounts of sugar, flour, and oils. Healthy diet and healthy lifestyle can prevent endotoxemia.

You May Feel “Sick” After an Adjustment

Most people don’t feel “sick” after an adjustment, but some report fatigue and soreness. These symptoms are uncommon but natural and temporary, requiring a short adjustment period.

Why does my body feel weird after a chiropractic adjustment? If your body feels lightheaded after a chiropractic adjustment, it’s probably due to a large change in the stimulus from proprioceptors and your body recalibrating to the new position of the corrected spine.

In my experience, chiropractic patients don’t feel sick after an adjustment. If the rare occurrence they feel sore, lightheaded, or fatigued, it certainly has nothing to do with toxins.

What are the symptoms of toxic release after chiropractic adjustment? According to some, the side effects of toxic release after a chiropractic adjustment may include:

What About Feeling Sick after Massage Therapy and Exercise?

I’ve had patients ask about the ill feeling they sometimes have after massage or exercise, suggesting this is the same thing they feel after getting adjusted. Exercise can make you sweat, which is one of your body’s built-in detoxification processes. Massage, however, just dehydrates you (which can cause that ill feeling).

During massage therapy, patients experience relaxation, but not release of toxins. You can actually get dehydrated due to your connective tissue and muscle fibers being activated and exercised, drawing moisture from your body and dehydrating you from the inside.

This is why massage therapists give you water and tell you to drink more than normal after your appointment.

During exercise, sweat naturally gets rid of some toxins and waste products. Physical exertion also pumps the blood circulation, accelerating detoxification in the lymph nodes and kidneys. 

A 2022 study found that more heavy metal toxins were released in sweat after exercising versus sweat from a heat sauna, implying that sweat alone is not the answer.

Visit a Chiropractor Who Uses Only Evidence-Based Treatments

I’m Dr. Ty Carzoli, an upper cervical chiropractor who has helped hundreds of patients overcome back pain, neck pain, migraines, headaches, vertigo, range of motion, and even mental health conditions. I don’t do these through the nebulous practice of so-called “toxic release,” but through evidence-based chiropractic treatment.

Find a chiropractor who uses techniques that will actually help with the concerns you have. Any healthcare clinician you see should be able to defend or explain their rationale with evidence and sound reasoning, not appeals to emotion, metaphysical explanations, or ambiguous and vague jargon. 

Take control of your whole-body well-being, and work with us on a treatment plan that works for your unique situation. Schedule your appointment with Denver Upper Cervical Chiropractic right away. We are open on Friday but reserve that day for traveling patients.

  1. Louw, A., & Schmidt, S. G. (2015). Chronic pain and the thoracic spine. Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy, 23(3), 162-168. Full text: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4534852/
  2. Roquelaure, Y., Bodin, J., Ha, C., Le Marec, F., Fouquet, N., Ramond‐Roquin, A., … & Imbernon, E. (2014). Incidence and risk factors for thoracic spine pain in the working population: the French Pays de la Loire Study. Arthritis care & research, 66(11), 1695-1702. Full text: ​​https://okina.univ-angers.fr/publications/ua6595/1/roquelaure-2014-acr-1695.pdf
  3. Heneghan, N. R., Gormley, S., Hallam, C., & Rushton, A. (2019). Management of thoracic spine pain and dysfunction: a survey of clinical practice in the UK. Musculoskeletal Science and Practice, 39, 58-66. Abstract: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30500720/
  4. Casiano, V. E., Dydyk, A. M., & Varacallo, M. (2019). Back pain. Full text: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK538173/
  5. Pagé, I., Nougarou, F., Lardon, A., & Descarreaux, M. (2018). Changes in spinal stiffness with chronic thoracic pain: Correlation with pain and muscle activity. PLoS One, 13(12), e0208790. Full text: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6289409/