Finding What’s Causing Your Pain

When I evaluate a patient who is experiencing pain, I ask a variety of questions. One of the biggest questions I want to answer is what is causing your pain. If a patient can attribute the onset of their symptoms to a specific activity or movement, that helps to determine what types of treatment will be the most appropriate for them. 

The following are 3 common types of activities that can cause people to experience pain:

Prolonged Static Positioning

Prolonged static positioning can be either sitting or standing for an extended period of time.  When a period of prolonged positioning is the main driver of symptoms, we must examine your posture and ensure you are putting yourself in a position that does not lead to excessive stress in certain areas of the body. We as humans are also not meant to remain inactive or in static positions for extended periods of time.

TIP: Avoiding sitting or standing for greater than 20 minutes at a time can also go a long way in preventing pain from arising from maintaining a static position.

Repetitive Movements

A classic example of repetitive movement is the factory worker who must reach overhead repetitively throughout the day to raise and lower boxes off a line. Raising your arms overhead isn’t inherently bad for your shoulders, but repeatedly done without any movement variability can lead to increased stresses to the structures of the shoulder.

TIP: If this is a cause of your symptoms, you must introduce some variability to your movements as well as address the mechanics of how you lift and move to reduce abnormal stresses to the problematic joints, muscles, or tendons.

Particular Movements

Lastly, a person may have pain with a particular movement such as low back pain when attempting to bend backward. As PT’s we will assess for any mobility or stability deficits that may be causing pain and dysfunction and provide manual therapy treatments and corrective exercises to allow for more efficient movement while reducing pain.

TIP: If you are experiencing pain with static posturing, repetitive movement, or with specific movements and are unable to reduce symptoms with postural corrections or by introducing movement variability, come see a physical therapist at Performance Therapies!

Before your physical therapy appointment, consider what type of activities, movements, or positions often trigger your symptoms to help us make an appropriate diagnosis and come up with the most comprehensive treatment plan individualized to your needs.

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