It's All Connected

People arrive at our office presenting with a variety of painful – or in some way problematic – body parts. We use a detailed history and physical examination to properly diagnose and treat both the current and the underlying cause.

When investigating neck pain or stiffness, we look at our modern postures, which can lead to a tight chest and weak upper back. Assessment of a person with chronic low back pain must include measuring for tight hip flexors, weak buttock, stiff upper back, and weak “core” muscles (lower abdominals, pelvic floor and paraspinals). In considering knee pain, we keep in mind that the knee is located mid-way through a weight-bearing extremity and thus is vulnerable to (biomechanical) faults located both above and below the knee itself. Therefore, the hip, ankle and foot must be assessed as well.

Pain comes from a singular traumatic event or repetitive irritation and results in inflammation. Inflammation’s 4 characteristics are pain, redness, swelling and heat. Its presence results in adhesions that cause local stiffening. Treatment to correct a painful body part requires decreasing the inflammation locally, and correcting the local and surrounding mechanics as well.

Most treatments include a combination of spinal manipulation, myofascial release – to break up the adhesions caused by inflammation, and exercises – to restore flexibility, muscle strength and endurance along with coordinated muscle recruitment because muscles “shut down” following an injury.

Therefore, new injuries often happen because prior injuries have not been fully rehabilitated as the underlying cause has not been considered. (Runners with prior injuries have an 80% likelihood of suffering a new injury, because of incomplete correction of the original problem.) Remember, it’s all connected!