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Why Are You Sore After an Adjustment?

By Sara Butler

Whether you’re new to The Joint Chiropractic or have been a chiropractic patient for life, you may have a few questions about how you feel after an adjustment. That’s totally normal! Some steps you take on your journey toward health and wellness may leave you wondering what is happening. One of the things many chiropractic patients wonder about is feeling sore after an adjustment. Maybe the symptoms you had seen improvement in are starting to come back – what does it mean? There’s no need to panic! Here’s what you need to know about this common occurrence.


The phenomenon of experiencing a temporary and brief increase in symptoms after adjustment is called retracing. It's characterized by discomfort, soreness, the flare-up of an old injury, or a general increase in the symptoms that brought you in to see the chiropractor in the first place. It doesn’t happen all that often and won’t stick around.


Your body has the amazing ability to heal itself but healing isn’t a process that happens in just one direction. You may feel like you’re taking one step forward and two steps back sometimes in your recovery process and that’s totally normal. Retracing is an indication that your body is starting to heal.

You have to think about it like this: Especially when talking about previous injuries, now that the body has begun to heal, the parts that have learned to compensate for the injury are healing, too. This could mean lingering discomfort or soreness – just rest assured that retracing can very well mean your treatment is actually working! 

What Can You Do?

First of all, don’t panic that something is really wrong. Retracing is a phenomenon that can be discouraging but rest assured, it’s short lived and you should continue with the chiropractic treatment plan. Of course, mention this new discomfort or pain to your chiropractor but don’t worry that you’re not making progress or that you should stop your treatment plan. 

In the meantime, there are things you can do to help deal with the pain or discomfort you’re experiencing. Rest is always a good idea if you’re sore. Take time to relax and don’t push yourself if you don’t feel well. Also, make sure you drink plenty of water! Staying hydrated can help your body function at its best, which means healing can take place. You may also want to consider using heat or ice to help ease your discomfort. Ice is best in the first 24 hours, with moist heat being best after that.

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Marietta, Ga.

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