I’m nearly 6 weeks into my chiropractic treatment. A week and half ago, I went in for my 1 month x-rays to see where we are at. And I am happy to report: PROGRESS!
Now my neck has a different story to tell. It is making progress, but with it comes a price. First, looking at the initial x-ray on the left, you can see that my neck is curving the complete opposite way from the normal C shape that the neck should have. But in my second x-ray, you can see it is ever so slowly trying to curve the correct way. Come on cervical vertebrae! You can do it!
Now what’s the price you may be asking? Headaches. Headaches like I have never had before. Nearly to the level of migraine sometimes. And extreme muscle tightness in my neck and upper back muscles. Dr. P warned me from the very beginning that some people experience a period called retracing in which the body is actually healing. And oh yay for me, I am one of those patients. From what I understand, the patient may in fact feel like they are getting worse or going back to the symptoms that brought them to the chiro in the first place. But what is really happening is that the body is detoxing.
When you get an adjustment, your vertebrae are returned to what should be their normal position. But the body, having adjusted to the abnormalities over time, fights back as the muscles, ligaments and tissues try to go back to what they are used to. Each adjustment allows the ligaments and muscles an opportunity to regain their normal, healthy position. So retracing is actually a very positive thing to happen, but I’ll just tell you: it sucks. I did some research and oftentimes, when patients get to this point, they will quit chiropractics because they don’t feel like its getting any better or they feel like its getting worse. Dr P reassured me that this is classic, textbook symptoms of retracing and not to be discouraged. And I am definitely not quitting! I see the progress in the x-rays! It is working! I also talked to two good friends of mine who have gone through chiropractic treatment and they explained to me their experiences with retracing. They too had a period of time where they went through the same thing, but they reassured me that it will pass.
On Thursday, I was adjusted in the morning and discussed my headaches/muscle tightness with Dr. P. He told me that if they were still bad the next morning (following the adjustment I had just received) to come in on Friday morning as well. (I am down to 2 days a week right now on my treatment plan.) But my head was hurting so bad that I went back in to schedule something for the next day and he saw me right then! He gave me another adjustment, which really helped me feel a little better. He informed me that sometimes, when retracing, the patient may require more adjustments more frequently. When he creates the initial treatment plan, he doesn’t know how each individual’s body is going to respond, and whether or not the patient will experience retracing. So sometimes the treatment plan has to be adjusted accordingly. We will see next week what we plan to do. I was adjusted 4 times last week plus I got to lay on a rolling table each time (pretty much a massage table that massages the spine increasing the spine’s hydration-ohhhhh it felt so good). I’m so thankful for Dr. P’s kindness and his staff is just so sweet! They play with Eli while I get adjusted or while I lay on the rolling table so its like I get free babysitting too! lol!
I hope this season of retracing passes soon. I am encouraged that it will pass and I know it is part of the healing process, but I am pretty sure retracing might be the end of me!!
Have you experienced retracing while receiving chiropractic care? Tell us about your experience!