You’ve just started seeing an upper cervical doctor and have had a few adjustments. You are feeling great, better than you have in years! But recently you have had some pain, an old injury flare up; perhaps something you haven’t had to deal with in years. You wonder what is going on and why you are feeling this pain and discomfort. You should be feeling great – that’s what they said at your last visit. So, why is this happening and is it normal?
What you are experiencing is, in fact, a normal side effect called “retracing”. Not all patients of upper cervical care will experience retracing but it is not so uncommon that it is unheard of or worrisome.
Retracing is the experience in flare-ups or an increase in your symptoms. You may feel discomfort, aches, or even dizziness after an adjustment. This does not mean you will always feel this way after every adjustment, just that you do feel this way after your most current adjustment.
Why does retracing happen?
The body has the ability to heal itself and when your spine is properly aligned, its ability to do so is maximized. However, the healing process has its good moments, better moments, and not so great moments. Once you begin to focus on your body’s healing, old injuries may flare up as years of compensation begin to come undone.
Think of it as starting a new diet and exercise regime. At first, your body isn’t sure how to react and you may feel sore after a workout or still hungry after a meal. Instead of quitting, you have to buckle down and stay focused on your new regime, and soon you will realize that you aren’t as sore after a workout and the weights aren’t as heavy. You will also notice that the meals are more filling and that your metabolism has increased.
This is the same with your upper cervical care. You can’t stop going just because the going got a little tough. Typically retracing will only last 3 to 5 days and does not reoccur after every adjustment. It also does not affect every person who gets an adjustment.
What to do if you are experiencing retracing?
If you are one of the few who experience retracing after an adjustment, be rest assured that there is not anything wrong with you. Take it easy, don’t push yourself and get plenty of rest. Be sure to stay hydrated and eat healthy – your body needs the proper nourishment to continue your healing. If the pain or discomfort becomes too unbearable, take an ibuprofen or use a heating pad.
Don’t give up on your upper cervical care. Too often people think retracing is a sign that the adjustments are not working when in reality, it is just the opposite. Continue your treatment and advise your doctor if you are experiencing retracing symptoms so that they can consider this reaction in your treatment plan.