What do you know about PAIN? Other than keeping you from doing what you want, sometimes, what do you know or understand about pain? Do you know what causes it or how you get rid of it? The following is written to help you understand your pain and how to fix it.
Pain, of the musculoskeletal type anyway, is 3 headed in nature: Neurological, Muscular and skeletal. One of these 3 components will be your primary reasons for your pain and the other 2 will be secondary. What does this mean? This means that if you never treat the primary component, only treating one of the other 2, you will most likely never get back to 100%. A good example of this is getting weekly massages for low back pain, noticing only 2-3 days of relief, if any at all. In this scenario the massage therapist is doing their job by treating the soft tissue as they were trained, but they know nothing of realigning the joints or reeducating the neurology of low back stabilization, therefore limiting your improvement. So lets dive into the difference for a second.
First the Neurology of injury. All muscle and joint function are controlled by the brain, conscious and subconscious alike. For most people with pain/dysfunction there is a wire loose. This could be a result of a specific injury, ankle sprain, or result of accumulation of small trauma, Tech neck or upper crossed syndrome, where the functional stability of a region of the body has been compromised. When this happens its imperative to identify the muscle groups that have been compromised, not doing their job, and get them back to work! What does this mean? Exercises, nothing exciting or complicated, usually small precise exercise that isolate individual muscles to get them working again. Once they have been woken back up you progress to functional exercises to reintegrate them into contributing to the functional stability of the region of dysfunction. Its not a short process but if you ever want to get back to 100% its a necessity!
Next is the soft tissue, the muscles! In the event of muscles imbalance, overactive muscles and underactive muscle, its necessary to identify the overactive muscles in the equation. Once the overactive muscles are identified the foam roller, Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization, K-Tape and/or massage therapist is brought in to do work! These overactive muscles have to be throttled back before the underactive muscles can be throttled up, restoring the balance. In the example of upper crossed syndrome I would have my Massage therapist target the Upper trapezius muscles, SCM, Scalenes and levator scapula muscles before I gave them exercises to strengthen the other muscles.
The skeletal component is referring to the joints. Yes this is where the chiropractic blurb comes in, ha. When the joints aren't in the right position to articulate as designed both muscle and neurology can be effected. The neurology is effected by interfering with the sensory information going to the brain. It'd be the equivalent of the brain and joint are trying to have a conversation in gibberish! The misalignment also causes changed resting muscle lengths in the muscles around that joint. This effects the resting muscle lengths and force of contraction of the muscles. This in turn effects functional stability of the joint which can be detrimental when you are high level athlete, like an NFL running back needing a high level of stability in his knees.
Chiropractors are trained in recognizing and treating all of the above, some focusing on one more than the rest and others, especially those of us in Chiropractic sports medicine world, consider all of them with an understanding that all need to be considered when treating athletes and active people alike. With proper analysis, care plan and diligence by the patient theres no reason you can't experience long term relief from any dysfunction. If any of the above information sounds familiar or resonates with you please don't hesitate to contact the office or schedule a free 15 minute consultation with Dr. Aylor.