Pain can be helpful. Without pain, you might seriously hurt yourself without knowing it. Sometimes pain alerts you of a medical condition that would otherwise go unnoticed. Once you take care of the problem, the pain usually goes away. However, sometimes pain goes on for weeks, months, or even years. This is called chronic pain. Chronic pain can also cause low self-esteem, depression, and anger, and it can interfere with your daily activities.
Frequent Causes of Nagging Pain
These days our muscles are often either over- or underworked. Weekend warriors, long hours at work, stress, and diet all contribute. This can easily create an imbalance within the muscular system. Certain muscles tighten and strain. As a result, some muscles lose their ability to contract with the proper strength and timing. Joints change their ranges of motions. Moreover, the musculoskeletal system shifts away from its proper alignment and functional balance.
Simple movements require very coordinated muscle contractions called kinetic chains. Kinetic chains will be thrown off if one muscle in this chain is tight or “weak”. This will then cause other muscles to overwork, leading to chronic pain and faulty movement patterns. Progressive straining and shortening of muscles are most often responsible for causing musculoskeletal imbalance. This is usually compounded by a lifestyle that is too stressful or sedentary as well as over-exercising without proper support, prevention, or wrong nutrition.
I love helping patients with injuries like tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Many healthcare providers considered these to be tough to treat conditions. But the root cause of these problems is always muscle strain and shortening.
More About Pain
Whereas a reduction or disappearing of pain is often easy to facilitate, it is hard for many of us to stay pain-free for a long period of time. Pain often has a tendency to reoccur. The reason for this usually lies in a structural and functional imbalance of the musculoskeletal system, explained above. As muscles are the active and mobile components of this system, they are responsible for keeping our bones aligned, moving them, and protecting us from injuries. So-called “weak” muscles often regain their strength immediately after their strain, or the strain of an opposing muscle has been released. This is most effectively achieved through trigger point needling combined with specific stretch therapy.
But one should not stop here. After muscle strain has been addressed and normal firing patterns of muscles have been reestablished, it is now time to establish a rehabilitation plan in case true muscle weakness is still present. Proper strength training and movement analysis prevent injuries from reoccurring. I simply do not believe that experiencing a certain degree of pain is normal in a person 40 years and older. Neither do I believe that a person has to be under constant care of a provider in order to stay pain-free unless there really are anatomical or neurological abnormalities.
Easy to Avoid
Unresolved muscle imbalances can easily trigger more severe injuries such as meniscus-, ACL-, or labral-tears, in knee and shoulder joints. These joints heavily rely on proper alignment and weight distribution throughout the whole joint. Loss of this balance results in a greater exertion of force on very particular parts of these structures. Over time this wears out the integrity of these structures and makes them more vulnerable to injury. These structures responsible for shock absorption and alignment can then easily tear when suddenly overloaded, due to a fall for example. Similar mechanisms are responsible for disk injuries in the lower back or neck. Addressing such imbalances early enough can easily help avoid more severe injuries.
Acute pain is usually a fast resolving complaint if treated properly. Simple injuries such as strains and sprains often resolve within one to two treatments. I usually instruct my patients on how to rehabilitate the injured area with simple exercises to speed up recovery.
Some Facts About Pain
Chronic pain is a health care and social problem of epidemic proportions and a frequent cause of morbidity and economic burden in the United States. Patients with pain have a desire to learn about their condition, prognosis, and treatment alternatives. Patient education is key. This is why a always try my best to explain the exact nature of their complaints to my patients. The moment we understand the cause of our pain we are able to heal.
Common Causes of Pain
- Faulty posture & Repetitive strains in sports activities or at the workplace
- Stress increases inflammation and muscle tightness, especially in the jaw, neck, hips, lower back, and calf muscles.
- Poor diet increases inflammation causing muscle tightness and pain.
- Food allergies can cause chronic inflammation, muscle tightness, and pain.
- Adrenal imbalance can cause inflammation, muscle tightness, and pain.
Dr. Andreas Schwerte, O.M.D., L.Ac. specializes in the treatment of acute and chronic pain through musculoskeletal acupuncture, manual therapies, as well as herbal-, and nutritional supplementation. Musculoskeletal Acupuncture is a form of therapy that combines traditional Acupuncture with approaches based on modern orthopedic medicine, osteopathy, and physical medicine. Doctor Schwerte specializes in trigger point therapy and various soft tissue approaches which help to turn off pain signals, reduce inflammation, and facilitate the realignment of joints and muscles.
Patients usually experience substantial relief within one or two treatments.