Some of us know the daunting feeling of having aches and pains during movement. The
experience can be quite exhausting and will ultimately end up impacting our ability to be the best versions of ourselves. If the aches and pains are bad enough, they usually prompt a doctor visit where we will receive a treatment in order to help the condition. The lucky ones have a reduction in symptoms and return to life as normal. But the truth is not all of us are quite so lucky. For the latter, the initial treatment approach may provide some relief but eventually the aches and pains resurface.
Let’ s talk about the occurrence and recurrence of aches and pains, e.g. wear and tear
on our body from faulty movements. First things first, you must understand your body is a
wonderfully designed kinematic machine. Each mechanical component of the body is
interdependent of how another component elsewhere is functioning. This interdependent
relationship can also be seen and appreciated when discussing the wear and tear of car tires. For example, a car that is driving with an axle that is out of alignment will cause additional wear and tear on the tires. The root of the problem here is that the axle is out of alignment and the symptom is reduced tire tread. Replacing the tires will only last so long before the alignment problems resurface, which will prompt more resources to fix the symptom.
The suggestion here is that the aches and pains you are feeling are sometimes the
result of dysfunction at another region of your body. It is the repetitive nature in which we live that results in neck, back, hip, knee, or foot pain. Unlike your car tires, you can’t always easily replace the damaged body part. Now let’s go back to the initial visit with the doctor mentioned earlier. Although managing the symptoms may be an important first step of your initial MD visit, a physical therapist looks to address the problem, i.e. the movement dysfunction, in order to create long lasting benefits.
But you don’t have to live in this recurring cycle forever! Physical therapists are the
preferred providers to evaluate movement dysfunctions that are the cause of pain and physical limitations. We are able to do this without using invasive strategies, which oftentimes leads to longer-term benefits. Physical therapy encompasses a whole body approach to your pain. It is intended to give the patient the tools and education needed to address movement dysfunctions and to move with better intention and less pain.
No matter who you are, physical therapy remains an excellent option as a primary care
consultation. In New Jersey, under direct access, you no longer need to see your primary care physician to begin physical therapy treatment. The job of the physical therapist in a primary care consultation is to screen the patient for musculoskeletal injury. Next, the physical therapists will improve your pain by enhancing your movement and alignment. This is done with strengthening the appropriate muscles, freeing any potential barriers that may be inhibiting smooth movement, and integrating a whole systems approach to assist your body’s healing.
If you are experiencing aches and pains, don’t wait another second – DO PT FIRST!
-Dr. Eric Shafer is a staff Physical Therapist at TruMotion Physical Therapy