Worse before I get Better

Keep Reading: Why do I need to get worse before I get better?

Part of your body’s natural protective responses is a perpetual drive to make the best of a bad situation. This means that if one thing is performing poorly (dysfunction), compensations must be made to function as well as possible despite the dysfunctional influence. The longer a problem persists, the more compensations have to be made. 

In compensatory situations, we are forced to work backward through the most superficial things and progressively work down to the deeper and more significant issues. This process is often referred to as “peeling the layers of the onion” to get to the root of the problem.  

Sometimes, the true underlying problem is deeply embedded, often resulting from long-forgotten, even childhood traumas. Previous sports injuries, car accidents, or workplace injuries are frequently “discovered” years later. When they are exposed, you will frequently experience similar symptom characteristics (location, type of pain, relieving and aggravating factors) as when the injury originally occurred.

Each new area uncovered has the potential to exhibit different symptom characteristics and is often misunderstood as “getting worse.”

It is OK and normal for a chiropractor to see new and different symptom patterns emerging as long as they align with the overall clinical impression of the case. If they are not in line with typical treatment responses, then re-evaluation and perhaps a change to the treatment plan may be in order.

 

1. Muscle ache

Muscles that have been protective of an area that needs correction have held tension for as long as the problem has existed. With correction, they are allowed to let go of tension, and you will often experience the same kind of ache as you would with tired muscles after a workout or a heavy physical day. This is a recovery ache and usually feels more comfortable than the injury ache you were experiencing before correction.

2. Fatigue

It requires energy for the body to maintain the protective muscle ache. Fatigue is the natural result of these muscles letting that tension go and move into recovery mode. The greater the protective need and the longer you have been hurting before treatment, the greater the fatigue will likely be.

Another fatigue component relates to altered sleep patterns when you are hurting. People are often unable to remain in normal sleep postures or are frequently awakened due to pain. Disrupted sleep is inefficient sleep and you will not get the rest and recovery you require.

Another problem with the protective muscle tension is that it is in lay 24 hours a day – even when you are sleeping. So you may be sleeping, but the muscles of involvement are still working, holding tension, and preventing rest and recovery overnight.

3. Hidden Problems and Layers of Correction

Part of your body’s natural protective responses is a perpetual drive to make the best out of a bad situation. This means that if one thing is performing poorly (dysfunction) compensations must be made to function as well as possible despite the dysfunctional influence. The longer a problem persists the more compensations have to be made.

In compensatory situations, we are forced to work backward through the most superficial things and progressively work down to the deeper and more significant issues. This process is often referred to as “peeling the layers of the onion” to get to the root of the problem.

Sometimes, the true underlying problem is deeply embedded, often resulting from long-forgotten, even childhood traumas. Previous sports injuries, car accidents, or workplace injuries are frequently “discovered” years later. When they are exposed, you will frequently experience similar symptom characteristics (location, type of pain, relieving and aggravating factors) as when the injury originally occurred.

Each new area uncovered has the potential to exhibit different symptom characteristics and is often misunderstood as “getting worse.”

It is OK and normal for a chiropractor to see new and different symptom patterns emerging as long as they align with the overall clinical impression of the case. If they are not in line with typical treatment responses, then re-evaluation and perhaps a change to the treatment plan may be in order.

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