This is sometimes a difficult concept for our patients to understand. Where someone is experiencing pain is not necessarily where the root cause of the problem is.
Pain is a symptom of some type of dysfunction in the body. To resolve any type of pain in the body it is necessary to identify the source of the problem. If you only treat the symptoms without discovering the root cause you will only experience at best temporary relief.
Many of our patients who come to see us have had physical therapy, massage, or chiropractic care in the past with short term relief.
Unfortunately, they only experienced minimal relief because the source of the problem was not identified and the therapist only treated their symptoms.
A great example of this are people who struggle with back pain. The pain is felt in the back or quite often they will experience referral of pain into the leg, but the limitations of mobility and symptoms originated from another source in the body.
In the words of Gray Cook,(a leader in the physical therapy world)
“Low back pain is a symptom—not a diagnosis.”
Inaccurate diagnosis of pain is why so many people suffer for too long and end up on pain killers, receive unnecessary injections or surgery when the problem could have been resolved with the proper treatment .
For example, a patient of mine was diagnosed with left hip bursitis. She had an x-ray on her hip and was given pain medication for a few months. She also tried 8 visits at a traditional physical therapy clinic with no relief.
She came to see us after suffering for 6 months!
During the evaluation we discovered that her hip problem wasn’t bursitis at all and it was actually a back problem, not a hip issue.
She was having compression of the spinal nerve roots which was contributing to her left hip pain. We treated her with manual therapy, craniosacral therapy, neurokinetic therapy and taught her corrective strategies and exercises to improve her quality of movement and strength. She is now back to playing golf!
It is important to evaluate both the hip and back to discover what the root cause of the problem is to have the most effective treatment and have the best outcomes with physical therapy.
Recently, I had a patient come see me with a 15 year history of chronic back pain. She had received injections, chiropractic care, massage, and traditional physical therapy with minimal results.
We discovered that her back pain was a symptom, but not the source of the problem. I was able to identify that her C-section scar was the root cause of her problem and was inhibiting her ability to recruit her core muscles properly which was feeding into her back pain.
In addition, she was compensating with her hips and over time had created dysfunctional movement patterns. We also discovered that her jaw was affecting her balance.
The body does whatever is necessary to complete a movement or task even if that is a dysfunctional movement pattern. Our bodies are great at compensating ,which over time can cause pain, stiffness, and tightness.
The key to resolving pain is to assess the whole body, not just where you are having symptoms.
Here at Custom Fit Physical Therapy we Perform a Full Body Assessment.
We firmly believe that where you are having your symptoms is not always where the core problem is.
Our body moves in patterns and it is important to assess how all parts are moving together and to identify where there are compensation patterns.
We want all our patients to experience lasting results, not just temporary relief of symptoms.
If you are looking for a real solution to decrease your pain and stiffness, and get back to the things you love to do contact us now for a phone consultation to see how we can help you start enjoying your life!