Whether you suffer from knee or hip pain, back and neck pain the location where you feel your discomfort is not necessarily its cause. Pain can radiate away from the source, and the chemical changes that occur with inflammation can irritate surrounding tissues, causing an aching sensation. Compensatory pain can result from joints or muscles moving improperly and generating abnormal strain on other areas of the body. For example, a hip joint surrounded by tight muscles loses its normal range of motion. This places more strain on the knee joint, and the result over time is pain occurring at the knee. The real culprit in this case is the lack of flexibility in the hip. Physical therapists are trained to identify these musculoskeletal restrictions with a thorough evaluation of the whole patient– not just the site of pain.
If you are suffering from aches or pains, here are some questions that can help determine the cause of your problem:
How long have you had your pain?
The duration of your pain provides clues to the underlying cause. For example, acute low back pain that occurs suddenly might be from a muscle strain. Chronic low back pain is typically from restricted spinal joints, tight muscle tissue, and/or muscle weakness. Many cases of chronic low back pain can also be attributed to lifestyle issues, such as prolonged sitting, weak abdominal muscles, repetitive motion, and even weight gain.
What is the quality of your pain: achy, sharp or tingling?
Achy pain is often related to overuse or muscle strength and flexibility imbalances. Sharp pain can indicate an acute muscle or tendon injury, or even an impinged joint. Tingling sensations and radiating pain can emanate from irritation to a nerve, either from compression or inflammation. Severe radiating pain in the buttock and leg is commonly called “sciatica” and can indicate different problems, including a possible herniated disc.
Is your pain localized, or is it spread over a wide area?
Wide-spread pain is more typical of muscle overuse and weakness. People will experience this type of pain during or following prolonged standing, walking and other physical activities. Localized pain (limited to a smaller area), particularly occurring with sudden onset, can indicate an acute injury to one or more underlying structures.
Is your pain worse at a specific time of day?
Achy, stiff pain in the morning is often due to muscle and fascial tissue involvement. Pain during and/or following activities that is relieved with rest can be related to an overuse injury. If your pain prevents you from sleeping normally, it’s time to see a medical professional.
How physical therapy helps
Physical therapy can relieve your pain quickly and help prevent it from
returning. The best– and for many people the quickest– way to relieve pain is to find its true source and treat it. Our physical therapists have years of experience and training, specializing in the evaluation of muscles, joints and nerves, to determine where your pain is coming from. With customized hands-on therapy, we relieve your pain, restore your strength, and teach you how to keep your pain from returning.
Call Sports Conditioning and Rehabilitation today at to find out how we can help you eliminate your pain and restore your life.