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Retracing: Cycles of Repair

Most healing occurs over time.

What is Retracing?

Retracing means going over ground which has already been covered until the individual reaches the point from which he/she started. When a patient is under upper cervical care, sometimes the symptoms that have not manifested for months or years even, will reoccur. Often the patients’ first impression is that they are getting worse when really, they are experiencing a retracing of several stages through which they previously experienced while the dis-ease state was in the making.

The question of time is essential in retracing. If a dis-ease, or issue in the body has been in process for years, patients should not expect to regain their normal state or level of function within a few days. It took time for the condition to change from health to dis-ease, and it will take time to retrace from the dis-ease state back to health.

Response Varies

The time it takes for recovery does not always equate to the time it took for the condition to develop. As a rule, however, acute conditions respond rapidly, while chronic cases of long standing are slower to respond.

Some abnormalities show very extensive involvement of tissues, while others show very little tissue involvement. Anytime tissue is involved, the structures must retrace the steps through which it passed before it can return to normalcy. Evidence of this can be seen in the varying stages of skin eruptions as they heal. Tissue below the skin’s surface goes through the same process while healing; it’s just not visible to the naked eye.

What The Upper Cervical Doctor Does

Upper cervical Doctors of Chiropractic are thoroughly trained to detect the abnormal positions of the vertebrae in the spine. They are trained to restore these vertebrae to their normal positions. After an upper cervical correction, the vertebra is returned toward its normal position. It usually requires a series of adjustments before the correction is complete. This is true in the rest of the spine as well. Over time, the muscles and ligaments regain their normal tone which permits them to hold the vertebrae in a more normal state for longer periods.

Points to Remember

The spine is subject to strain during everyday life, and it is possible that a vertebra may recede toward its old abnormal position, necessitating another correction. This is especially true in the beginning of care, which is why there is a greater frequency of chiropractic visits. Tissues often must be rebuilt for the vertebrae to hold its normal position. In addition, tissues that have perhaps for years assumed an abnormal condition due to the gradually increasing pressure upon nerve fibers, must be given time to return through the various stages they passed in the production of the abnormality. This takes time, and patience becomes a cardinal virtue based on the knowledge that all is progressing as it should.


Upper cervical patients must realize the necessity of continuing with upper cervical care, even though they may not see their body moving toward health day to day or may even believe their condition is worsening. This period of retracing is essential, and patients are urged to continue treatment through it so as not to preclude the ultimate health which will be theirs if they continue.

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Doctor, I am actually a full spine DC. I injured my low back disc to the point i could hardly work. Now, I and am getting good chiropractic care. It does seem my symptoms during healing are the reverse of how it got worse.... it's very slow but i feel things are getting better. Does that sound like retracing? Thank you for your web site. Sincerely, Dr. Frank Jeffries from Marquette, MI.

Replying to

Hi Dr. Frank Jeffries, so sorry for my delayed response, I am only just now seeing your comment! It does sound like you are experiencing some retracing. I have also experienced this healing process before. As I am sure you know, our symptoms are often the last thing to show up when there has been underlying dysfunction for quite some time. So it makes sense that the deeper, cellular level of healing and tissue repair can take more time.

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