Both patients and doctors are frequently guilty of thinking that the pain and injury to a particular body part are simply due to a “problem” specifically at that body part.
For example, your lower back pain is due to a strained low back muscle…or an arthritic lumbar spine…or a disc herniation…etc, etc.
Or your knee pain is due to patellar tendinitis…a MCL sprain or tear…a mensicus tear…
The reality is that the above examples are the symptoms of a person’s problems and not necessarily the root of the problem.
In the realm of physical rehab, there is a concept called the KINETIC CHAIN. Remember this old song?
The foot bone connected to the leg bone,
The leg bone connected to the knee bone,
The knee bone connected to the thigh bone,
The thigh bone connected to the back bone,
The back bone connected to the neck bone,
The neck bone connected to the head bone…
Our body is connected in more ways than you might think. In fact, you will only be as strong as your weakest link. If there is a long standing problem somewhere in your body, chances are the problem is connected in some way to another area of your body. If your ankles or knees hurt just from walking, I would guess that you may have some issues with your feet. Even if your feet are hurting, there may be an issue with your calves. Tight calves can lead to problems in your knees, hips and lower back. This in turn can cause problems in your upper back, shoulders, neck and even head. You see, everything is connected, a kinetic chain. When a part of this chain is weak or damaged, it will affect other parts of the chain. Those parts affect other parts and so on.
Therefore, it’s vitality important to have not only the area of pain assessed but related areas above and below that area assessed for dysfunctions. These dysfunctions can take the form of poor movement patterns, decrease range of motion, instability and poor soft tissue quality.
Frequently, you can treat a person’s pain area and get them feeling better very quickly. In fact, they might go away feeling great for a long time but the underlying issue(s) may not have been addressed and the person may have recurrent problems months or years later.
Other times, the pain does not resolve at all because the root of the pain has not been addressed. This is where the interesting detective work of a good doctor or therapist takes place.
I think the greatest offense that takes place in doctors’ offices is the heavy reliance on x-rays, MRIs, CT scans, blood tests and so on. It is based on an old-school paradigm that looks at health problems in isolation from the rest of the body. And it neglects the holistic connectivity of the human body.
Until next time…