Ida Rolf, one of the most well known manual therapists wrote the following about tracking the cause of pain, ‘Where you think it is, it ain’t’.
Physiotherapist Diane Lee puts it this way, “It is the victims that cry out, not the criminals”. Both these thoughts express perfectly how injuries work. Therapists need to go to the site of the pain because it hurts. However, you need to look up and down from there, and at times across, to find the real cause. If you can’t find the cause you can’t effectively treat an injury.
So, let’s look at the knee. Runners get painful knees from time to time. To merely treat the knee is a mistake. You need to look up to the hips, and down to the feet and shoes.
The same thought is expressed in the law of correspondence – ‘That which is above is below, and as below so above’. In other words, taking time to carefully assess what is going on is critical.
Let’s apply this:
Elbow pain – look up to the shoulder and down to the wrist.
Lower back – look up to the thoracic area (upper back and ribs), and to the hips.
Neck pain – go up to the skull, and down to the shoulders. Hey, it’s possible you need to look even lower than that. Have you ever stubbed your baby toe on a chair? At that moment, the often forgotten, neglected and ignored toe – except for when you cut your nail – sends sharp pain messages to your brain explaining that it needs a bit of recognition. Phase two: Watch for the limp. Phase three: Hip pain. Phase four: Shoulder pain. Phase five: Headache. (It might be time now to look at your baby toes and tell them how much you love and appreciate them).
So, what do you do when you have pain, assuming that the pain is not from some medical issue but is a muscular/structural issue?
- Find someone who can help you. Someone who will not just go to the victim while ignoring the culprit. BTW – you will know that you have found the right person if you can feel small improvements from the get-go. If not, be assured that someone is about to make big bucks from your injury.
- Get some body work done. Up chain and down chain.
- Make sure that your movement patterns are in order. If a squat hurts you, your squat needs to be assessed. If running hurts, you need someone to watch you run.
- Work on the postural stuff. How you sleep, stand and sit can make a huge difference. Watch this video, I look at three postural habits that can contribute toward ITB. You will be surprised how many people have raised their hand and admitted guilt to one, or, in most cases, all three negative postural habits.
- Take painkillers if you can handle them, but, just so that you can cope until you deal with your issue. Painkillers don’t solve injury issues.
- Own your injury. It’s yours. Work it, research it, work it some more.
- Get your body balanced out. Take a look at the work our physiotherapist does.
- Check your equipment – running shoes, bike setup. No amount of physio/chiro/massage will bring recovery about if your equipment is wrong. I can help with that via our Runner’s Leg Assessment and Bike Setup programmes.
To sum up: look up, look down, look across, look at your equipment- don’t just look at the site of pain (the victim) – go and search for the culprit.
Hope that help.