Sourcing Pain

photo credit: carolinawellnessandrehab.com

Finding an ultimate solution to pain is dependent on figuring out its source.  The following checklist of questions is designed to help you to pinpoint causation.

1.  Is there a specific, recent event I can trace this back to?
I got hit with a baseball bat..

Yeah, probably a contact injury.  Check with a doctor to see if there’s any structural damage.
I crushed some bicep curls on Monday…

This is most likely muscle soreness from workout stress.  
It may take a few days to feel the effects.
2.  Has any structural damage occurred?

If you sprained an ankle, is the ligament stretched or torn?
Is there any hard bumps or protrusions such as bone spurs that form?
Are the ribs out of place?
Could the bone possibly be fractured?

Pain coming from a structural change or concern can’t really be addressed until the structure has been healed with resetting, surgery, or splinting.  You cannot “fix” a structural damage with movement therapy.    The structure has to be righted first.  
photo credit: listentoyourgut.com
3.  Is the pain muscular?

Can it be localized to a particular muscle or muscle group?
Can it be found entirely between joints?
Is the pain a constant or only when you do certain movements?
Does the pain feel steady regardless of joint use or angles utilized?

Muscular pain is often traced back to an overuse injury.  The overuse could have been concentrated in one dose or accumulated over time.     Chronic muscular pain often relates to joint dysfunction.  To minimize muscular pain, attempt to use the opposing muscle group or core musculature to transfer tension.  There is only so much tension allowed in the fascial-muscular network, so by being able to tense stomach muscles and/or competing  muscle groups, you can use controlled strain to combat  involuntary strain.
4.  Does the pain surround a particular joint?

Is the pain referred to one joint or a series of joints?
Do you use joints as they are structurally designed?  
Does the pain persist even with limiting your range of motion?

A while back I posted a simplistic guide to joint function.  In it, I mapped out that certain joints were mobile (designed to move fully) and certain joints were stable (designed to resist movement).  Knowing which is which and being aware of how you use them can likely lead you to the source of your dysfunction.  It is important to remember that pain in a joint does not insist that the painful joint is the problem.  Look above or below the site of pain to troubleshoot cause.
There are entire posts devoted to joints on this site.  Just type the name in the search box on the upper left to learn more about structure, function, and complimenting movements.
Got a nagging injury that you can’t quite figure out?  Feel free to post it in the comments below and I’ll use the above questions to try and tease out it’s source.




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