Pain Is Your Brain’s Way Of Telling You Something Is Wrong, Not Unlike The Check Engine Light In Your Car
When the check engine light comes on in your car, you immediately know that the car engine needs your prompt attention in order to prevent further, often bigger, issues. In order to ensure the safety, effectiveness and efficiency of our vehicles, you have to provide regular maintenance.You change your oil, regulate your tire pressure, replace old tires and wiper blades and stay on top of regular maintenance to ensure that your cars are reliable enough to sustain their purpose.
But what about our bodies?
More often than not, (due to busy schedules or tight budgets) we eat processed foods, drink sugar laden beverages and rush around constantly. We keep our bodies fueled with poor quality foods and often sit for long hours in front of a computer or television screen. In the midst of our chaotic schedules, we often seek what’s most convenient—like fast food to eat, and less than supportive shoes to wear, and we spend most of our time focusing on everything we have to accomplish in a day rather than taking a second to listen to what our bodies are telling us. Regular stress and neglect can wear our bodies down and cause larger problems down the road. Fortunately, our body has a way to inform us of when something is wrong, this convenient signal is known quite well as pain. However, many of us ignore pain and consider it to be normal or insignificant. Although some pain may be fleeting and insignificant, the vast majority of pain is an indicator that something is wrong and requires the attention of a specialist in order to be resolved.
Do you know when your body is alerting you to get checked out?
Usually we go to the doctor when we are pain, sit in a waiting room full of other sore, sick people only to receive medications that will temporarily help us feel better by masking the pain. Or, we ignore injuries and put off seeking help until we can no longer function in our daily lives or jobs. By that point, we’ve ignored our body’s “check engine light” for so long that our only solution is to mask it with more medications or even undergo extensive surgery.
What are some common injuries that cause pain?
Herniated Disc- Discs are found between each vertebrae in your spine. They act as a cushion to prevent the bones from rubbing together. A herniation can occur with undue stress is placed on the spine causing the disc to burst or leak. This herniation causes pressure on a nerve and can cause the nerve to be injured or irritated. Disc herniation is found most in the neck and lower back.
- Scoliosis– A curvature of the spine opposite your natural curve. A normal spinal curve is distorted with scoliosis, causing a side shift of bones and the other structures in the spine. With this shift, the muscles try to balance usually causing myofascial restrictions that create a holding pattern to prevent pain.
- Arthritis/Osteoarthritis– Arthritis can affect the spine and other joints in the body. As you age, the friction from gravity, and poor posture as well as how your body corrects itself can cause pain. You may find that you are stiff after sitting or when waking.
- Muscle and ligament injury– These are the most common injuries and are usually caused be performing a task in poor posture when muscles are weak and the joints do not have their proper range of motion. Most of these injuries heal with in a few days to a couple of weeks.
- Osteoporosis- Called in the medical field “The Silent Killer.” As you age, the rigidity of the bone is weakened causing fractures to occur. You do not usually know that you have fractured until after the fracture happens and you have muscle pain from the fracture.
- Tendonitis– This is an inflamed tendon. Your tendons attach to your muscles and then to your bones. Usually these tendons are strained and become inflamed, causing pain with movement or walking.
- SI pain- Sacroiliac dysfunction “Literally a pain in your butt,” causing intense pain when standing or going from a sitting position to a standing position. The pelvis is usually rotated in one position causing this inflammation.
- Plantar Fasciitis– The plantar fascia is found in the arch of your foot. Pain is usually most intense when waking in the morning, usually causing you difficulty in bearing weight. In most cases plantar fasciitis can be prevented and healing can start with the use of properly fitted orthotics.
- Sciatica/Low Back pain– The nerves in your low back are affected by the vertebrae shifting and pressing on the nerve. You will feel this in your butt and running down the back side of your leg. Long periods sitting can cause more pain.
- Carpal tunnel/tennis elbow– These are typically overuse injuries that stem from prolonged poor positioning and overuse. Numbness/pain occurs due to the inflammatory process. Weakness and loss of muscle usually occur in more chronic cases.
- Headache/Migraine– Usually related to weakness in the upper back and increased myofascia in the neck. Diet can effect headaches. Headaches are very complex and require one on one attention as they are usually more chronic in nature.
We have an “indicator signal” in our bodies for a reason, not unlike the one we have in our cars. These signals are there to help us, and are not meant to go unattended. If you have muscle or joint pain—no matter how mild or intense— the best alternative is to seek an evaluation from a licensed Physical Therapist.
How can we help?
At Stretch Physical Therapy & Total Wellness, we specialize in resolving, relieving, and preventing pain. A simple trip to our local physical therapy clinic can often help you avoid costly trips to the doctor and expensive surgeries. At Stretch, we offer pain relief and physical therapy. We thoroughly assess the area of pain to accurately locate the root cause of the problem. We, then, tailor a plan of care for you in order to start fixing (not masking) that problem. In fact, the earlier you seek treatment, the shorter the time necessary to resolve and put an end to the pain. Call us today if you experience any sort of pain. We’re here to help.