Pain is probably the most common reason for people seeking physical therapy, and that single word can encompass a wide range of different symptoms and feelings. It’s important to note that pain can be an indicator of serious problems so there are times I may recommend a visit to your GP.
However, in the absence of any serious complaint, the culprit behind many pain problems is usually the musculoskeletal system, which can be treated very effectively with Neuromuscular Therapy.
Back and Neck
Back and neck pain arises from a wide variety of causes – from traumas to poor posture to repetitive strain to weight problems – and it is usually a combination of a few factors that makes spinal pain so difficult to resolve. Neuromuscular therapy – removing trigger points, restoring muscle flexibility and addressing perpetuating factors – can be highly effective in the treatment of spinal problems and should always be explored before more serious interventions are considered.
Joint Pain and Arthritis
Every joint is surrounded by various muscles, the smooth co-operation of which ensures healthy movement in the joint. Muscles that are out of balance around a joint – whether tight, lax, atrophied, over-developed etc – can lead to uneven wear-and-tear on the joint surfaces. Trigger points in muscles can also mimic deep joint pain. While muscle therapy cannot cure arthritis, it can often bring about a significant improvement in joint movement and a reduction of painful symptoms.
Trigger points and muscle imbalance can be both the cause and the perpetuating factors behind such common conditions as Runner’s Knee, Tennis Elbow, Frozen Shoulder, Plantar Fasciitis, Achilles Tendinopathy, etc. Trigger points can also produce symptoms such as a “heaviness” or “dead feeling” in limbs, as well as aching, cramping or an unexplained itchiness on the skin. Muscle therapy should always be a first resort before more serious interventions (steroid injections, surgery) are considered.
Muscles can spasm (during an accident or other event involving strain) in order to prevent more serious injury to joints, tendons etc. While these are protected by the body’s instinctive reaction, the muscular spasms can sometimes linger long after the traumatic event is resolved. Tight muscles will have impeded blood flow, they don’t “fire” properly and they are prone to injury. They can also trap nerves, leading to sensations of numbness or tingling. Removing trigger points and spasm contracture can reduce pain and restore strength and flexibility to muscles.