Healthcare consumers nowadays are becoming much more savvy when it comes to spending their healthcare dollars. Many of my discharged patients over the years would pose the following question: When should I call you if anything happens in the future? My general answer to that question is “whenever you experience discomfort that doesn’t quite seem right.” Now I’m not talking about general muscle soreness after a workout, or after performing an activity you haven’t done in a while. I’m talking about things like going on a 10 mile bike ride but feeling like you rode for 100 miles, or going for a 3 mile jog but feeling like you just ran a marathon.
I like to use the analogy of your car–more specifically, your car’s Check Engine light. You see, pain is the brain’s way of telling us that something isn’t right, just as your car’s Check Engine light tells you there’s an issue with your car. Oftentimes it can be a simple problem, like you didn’t tighten your gas cap. It can also be a serious problem, like the transmission. Regardless, the Check Engine light is simply a signal that something is not right, and you seek a professional mechanic to check out the problem.
Your body works in a similar fashion. Pain is the body’s “Check Engine” light, a signal that something is not functioning properly. Take lower back pain, for example. In my previous blog posts there could be a number of issues at play here…a herniated disc, degenerative disc disease/arthritis/stenosis, or an SI/pelvic issue. Or it could be due to weakness in your glutes (butt muscles) when you swing a golf club. Pain in the shoulder could be from a rotator cuff tear, impingement, or AC joint issue. Or it could simply be due to weakness in the shoulder blade muscles or rotator cuff that is not supporting your shoulder blade during overhead activities such as tennis and swimming. Regardless, the important point is that the area of perceived pain is not always the source of the problem–we know that pain is a liar. So it is extremely important that you see your body’s mechanic (Physical Therapist) to diagnose the problem and the source.
Remember–Physical Therapists are the experts in the musculoskeletal system–we are the functional movement experts of the body. We will watch you move, see how you perform specific tasks, and perform a thorough functional assessment to determine the root cause of your pain–and help you resolve it. Going back to our Check Engine light analogy…you would not want your mechanic to simply reset your Check Engine light and send you home–which is basically what medication is doing. If you treat your symptoms and not the source of the problem, then your Check Engine light will come right back on when you resume your normal activities.
If you or someone you know is experiencing pain that just does not seem right, don’t wait to take action. Call my office at once at (302)691-9055 or visit my website at www.wildermanpt.com to schedule your FREE 30 minute consultation to see how Physical Therapy can help you. Don’t delay–schedule now!